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Bracknell Forest Local Directory

Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plans

The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. Some children and young people may need an EHC needs assessment in order to decide whether they need additional provision to what is available within their setting.

Your child’s early years setting, school, post-16 or other setting will often be able to meet the needs of children through SEN Support. But sometimes a child or young person needs a more intensive level of specialist help that cannot be met from the resources available to schools and other settings to provide SEN support.

In these circumstances, you or your child’s school or other setting could consider asking for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment for your child, to decide whether they need an EHC Plan.

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan?

An EHC plan brings your child’s education, health and social care needs into a single, legal document. It sets out the extra help that will be given to meet your child’s needs to support them to achieve what they want to in their life, so they have the best possible outcomes across education, health and social care and, as they get older, to prepare them for adulthood.

Your child must have special educational needs to be eligible for a plan. There are other ways children who don’t have SEN can get help. For this, you can contact Bracknell Forest Information, Advice and Support Service 

 How do I make a request for an EHC needs assessment?

You can ask Bracknell Forest Council for an EHCP needs assessment application form if you think your child needs one. Anyone at your child’s school (such as your child’s teacher) can also ask for an assessment to be carried out. Others who work with your child can also ask (with your permission) if they think an assessment is needed (such as your doctor, health visitor or nursery worker). A young person over the age of 16 can apply on their own behalf if they wish. Click here to see what the ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0-25 years’ says about who can apply.

Applications can be sent by post or by email to the SEN Team (see contacts below) You can write your own accompanying letter or click here to download the model letter from the Ipsea (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice).

Who to contact:

EHCPs - Your questions answered:

What happens after I have made a request for an EHC needs assessment for my child?

Once the Council receives a request for an assessment, they have up to six weeks to decide whether to carry one out. During that time, they will ask you and others – such as your child’s school or other setting – for information to help them make that decision. You may wish to gather together all the reports and letters from your child’s school or other setting, doctors’ and any other assessments that have been produced about your child. You may also want to write about your child’s needs and how long they have had them.

 

You will be notified within six weeks of receiving your request of whether the decision is to assess or not.

Once the Council receives a request for an assessment, they have up to six weeks to decide whether to carry one out. During that time, they will ask you and others – such as your child’s school or other setting – for information to help them make that decision. You may wish to gather together all the reports and letters from your child’s school or other setting, doctors’ and any other assessments that have been produced about your child. You may also want to write about your child’s needs and how long they have had them.

 

You will be notified within six weeks of receiving your request of whether the decision is to assess or not.

Who can request an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment?

The ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 – 25 years’ sets out who has a specific right to ask for an EHC assessment:
The following people can request an EHC needs assessment:


• the child’s parent
• a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25, and
• a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)
• In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary. This could include, for example:


o foster carers,
o health and
o social care professionals,
o early years’ practitioners,
o youth offending teams or probation services,
o those responsible for education in custody,
o school or college staff or
o a family friend.


• Children and young people under 19 in youth custodial establishments also have the right to request an assessment for an EHC plan. The child’s parent, the young person themselves or the professionals working with them can ask the home local authority to conduct an EHC needs assessment while they are still detained.

What are the criteria used to decide whether to go ahead and assess my child?

If a local authority (“LA”) is requested to carry out an EHC needs assessment by a parent, young person, school or college, they must consider:


1. Whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs (“SEN”); and
2. Whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan.


If the answer to both of these questions is yes, they must carry out an EHC needs assessment.


This test is set out in the law (section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014).


‘The local authority must carry out an assessment if, after taking account of any views expressed and evidence submitted, it thinks that the child or young person has or may have special educational needs and that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for a child or young person through an EHC plan’.


However, a local authority “does not have to consider whether an EHC assessment is necessary where it has already undertaken a needs assessment during the previous six months”. “Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 – 25 years’.


Evidence used in considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary:

Is there evidence that despite the early year’s provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress?
To inform their decision the local authority will need to take into account a wide range of evidence, and should pay particular attention to:
• evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
• information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN
• evidence of the action already being taken by the early years’ provider, school or post-16 institution to meet the child or young person’s SEN.
• evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
• evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies, and
• where a young person is aged over 18, the local authority must consider whether the young person requires additional time, in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have special educational needs, to complete their education or training. Remaining in formal education or training should help young people to achieve education and training outcomes, building on what they have learned before and preparing them for adult life.

What happens if the decision is not to asses my child?

A local authority must inform the child’s parents or the young person of:
• their right to appeal that decision,
• the time limit for doing so,
• the requirement for them to consider mediation should they wish to appeal, and
• availability of information, advice and support and disagreement resolution services

SEN Support for children and young people with special educational needs

What happens if the decision is to assess my child?

You and your child will be fully involved in the EHC needs assessment. You also are entitled
to have impartial information, advice and support to help you understand the process and
make sure you are properly involved in decisions that affect your child.
The assessment includes talking to you and your child and finding out from you what
support you think your child needs, and what aspirations you and your child have for his or
her future. The assessment also includes seeking information and views from people who
work with your child, such as class teachers, doctors and educational psychologists.

What are the criteria used to decide whether to go ahead and issue my child with an EHC Plan?

If a local authority (“LA”) is requested to carry out an EHC needs assessment by a parent, young person, school or college, they must consider:


1. Whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs (“SEN”); and
2. Whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan.


If the answer to both of these questions is yes, they must carry out an EHC needs assessment.


This test is set out in the law (section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014).


‘The local authority must carry out an assessment if, after taking account of any views expressed and evidence submitted, it thinks that the child or young person has or may have special educational needs and that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for a child or young person through an EHC plan’.


However, a local authority “does not have to consider whether an EHC assessment is necessary where it has already undertaken a needs assessment during the previous six months”. “Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 – 25 years’.


Evidence used in considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary:

Is there evidence that despite the early year’s provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress?
To inform their decision the local authority will need to take into account a wide range of evidence, and should pay particular attention to:
• evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
• information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN
• evidence of the action already being taken by the early years’ provider, school or post-16 institution to meet the child or young person’s SEN.
• evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
• evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies, and
• where a young person is aged over 18, the local authority must consider whether the young person requires additional time, in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have special educational needs, to complete their education or training. Remaining in formal education or training should help young people to achieve education and training outcomes, building on what they have learned before and preparing them for adult life.

What happens if the decision is not to issue an EHC Plan?

Following the completion of an EHC needs assessment, if the local authority decides that an EHC plan is not necessary, it must:


• notify the child’s parent or the young person, the early years provider, school or post-16 institution currently attended, and the health service and give the reasons for its decision. -- This notification must take place as soon as practicable and at the latest within 16 weeks of the initial request.
• inform the child’s parent or the young person of :
o their right to appeal that decision and
o the time limit for doing so,
o the requirement for them to consider mediation should they wish to appeal,
o the availability of information, advice and support and disagreement resolution services.


• ensure that the child’s parent or the young person are aware of the resources available to meet SEN within mainstream provision and other support set out in the Local Offer.
• provide written feedback collected during the EHC needs assessment process, which the child’s parent, the young person, early years provider, school or post-16 institution can understand and may find useful, including evidence and reports from professionals. This can inform how the outcomes sought for the child or young person can be achieved through special educational provision made by the early years provider, school or post-16 institution and co-ordinated support from other agencies.

What happens if the decision is to issue an EHC Plan?

If the decision is made to issue an EHC Plan, one of the Council’s SEN Team officers will work closely with you and your child to make sure the plan takes full account of your views, wishes and feelings. Once the plan has been written, a draft will be sent to you which must not contain the name of the school or other setting your child will attend. You will be given 15 days to comment on the draft and you can ask for a meeting to discuss it if you want one.


You will also be able to request a specific school, or other setting, you want your child to attend. This could be a mainstream school or special school.


Altogether, the Council has 20 weeks from the request for the EHC needs assessment to issue the final plan to you.


Once an EHC plan has been finalised, the Council has a duty to ensure that the special educational support in section F of the plan is provided, and the health service has to ensure the health support in section G is provided. This should help to enable your child to meet the outcomes that you have jointly identified and agreed.

What does an EHC Plan look like?

There is no national standard format for the EHC plan. However, it must have certain sections that are clearly labelled. See Contact for more detailed information).
The sections are:
A: The views, interests and aspirations of you and your child.
B: Special educational needs (SEN).
C: Health needs related to SEN.
D: Social care needs related to SEN.
E: Outcomes - how the extra help will benefit your child
F: Special educational provision (support).
G: Health provision.
H: Social care provision.
I: Placement - type and name of school or other institution (blank in the draft plan (link to info about draft plan))
J: Personal budget arrangements.
K: Advice and information - a list of the information gathered during the EHC needs assessment.

What if I disagree with decisions about my child's EHC plan or my request for my child to have a plan?

Further information is available by Ipsea and Contact on how to make a request for an EHC Needs assessment.

What is an annual review of an EHC Plan?

Ipsea checklist which explains the contents of an EHC PLan.

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