Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Since 1 September 2014, statements for children and young people under 16, and learning difficulty assessments for young people over 16, have been replaced by the education, health care plan (EHCP) from 0 to 25 years.
AFF has gathered information to help you find your way around this new process; so whether you’ve already been assessed, or think your child should be assessed, read on to see how the process now works for your family.
AFF is also monitoring how this process is working and we would like to hear your feedback and experiences.
Registering your child’s SEN/SEND
Education, Health and Care Plans
11 things you need to know about the SEN reforms
The Local Offer
Mediation, tribunal and children’s right to appeal
What happens when you move?
Support and information
If your child has SEN or SEND (Special Education Need and Disability) the MOD advises that you register your child with Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).
Please click here to download the MOD form to print off ready to fill in and send by post to CEAS. If you have any questions about this then please contact CEAS. Their contact telephone number is on the bottom of the form.
If your child’s SEN or SEND is moderate or more complex, it is mandatory for your soldier to register this need with Army Personnel Centre (APC) through the Career management Notification Pro-forma in AGAI 108.
An EHCP is a single integrated care plan which should ensure that all local agencies for education, health and social care work together to meet your needs and stop you as parents having to undergo repeated assessments with different agencies.
It should also improve the transition process for young people when they leave school. Read more
An EHCP is a legal document which sets out a description of your child's needs and what support needs to be provided through education, health and social care to meet those needs.
EHC Needs Assessment
Local Authorities (LAs) have a duty to assess a child or young person’s education, health and care needs if it is thought they may have SEN and possibly require special educational support. This assessment is known as an EHC Needs Assessment, but it is also sometimes called a “statutory assessment.”
The LA is required to carry out this assessment in accordance with the Children and Families Act 2014.
For further information on how to start the assessment process, the Special Needs Jungle has a flowchart (part 1) which explains the SEN support available to parents, children and young people.
How long does the assessment process take?
Once the LA has agreed to an EHCP for your child or young person they will prepare a draft plan.
This will be sent to you, and once the draft plan has been received, you have 15 days to check that all the needs and provision required has been included in the EHCP; the whole process must be completed within 20 weeks.
If the LA decides not to provide your child or young person with an EHCP, they must inform you within 16 weeks from the original request for an EHCP. You have the right to appeal this decision through the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.
There is further useful information on the assessment process in the Special Needs Jungle flowchart (part 3)
Who can make a referral?
Parents, a young person over 16 (but under 25) and a person acting on behalf of a school or institution for post -16 education (this should ideally be with the agreement of the parent or young person), all have a specific right to ask the LA to conduct an EHC needs assessment.
Anyone else who may think an EHC needs assessment is necessary can bring a child or young person to the LA’s attention. This could include foster carers, health and social care professionals, early year’s practitioners, youth offending teams or probation services, school or college staff or a family friend.
Bringing a child or young person to the attention of the LA is done on an individual basis and should be done with the knowledge, and where possible, the agreement of the child's parents or the young person.
The Special Needs Jungle flowchart (Part 2) explains how you can request an EHC assessment.
These guides should be read alongside the SEND Code of Practice 0 to 25.
This handy infographic explains the main things that you need to know about the whole process, and also who will support you and how.
The Children and Families Act 2014 gave Local Authorities (LAs) a statutory duty to produce a 'Local Offer' for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and/or a disability (SEND) from 0 to 25.
All LAs have published a ‘Local Offer’ of support, so parents and young people know exactly what is available in their location; this information can be found on the LA website, either on the schools/SEN pages or on the education, training and skills pages.
Some of the points that the SEND Code of Practice 0-25 states must be included in the Local Offer are:
- Special educational, health and social care provision for children and young people with SEN or disabilities – this should include online and blended learning
- Details of how parents and young people can request an assessment for an EHC plan
- Arrangements for identifying and assessing children and young people’s SEN – this should include arrangements for EHC needs assessments
- Post-16 education and training provision
- Apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships
- Arrangements for travel to and from schools, post-16 institutions and early year’s providers
- Support to help children and young people move between phases of education (for example from primary to secondary)
- Support available to young people in higher education, particularly the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and the process and timescales for making an application for DSA
- Arrangements for resolving disagreements and for mediation, and details about making complaints
- Parents’ and young people’s right to appeal a decision of the LA to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and disability) in respect of SEN and provision
AFF is hearing anecdotal evidence about some LAs publishing the bare minimum for the Local Offer or not including information on all the provision that is mentioned above.
We would very much like to hear about any issues or concerns you are having with the Local Offer, even if it is just regarding trying to access the information from your LA website. Please contact Lucy Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karen Ross at email@example.comBack to top
All Army families who are awarded an approved EHCP will have a legal right to request a personal budget.
When you receive your draft EHCP form the LA you will be invited to apply for your child or young person’s personal budget. Read more
Parents will have the option to directly buy in any support they require, as identified in the ECHP. You can also choose whether to take control of the personal budget, or agencies.
Parents or young people should state how they would like the personal budget allocated in the draft EHCP.
There are three ways you can use your personal budget. You can have:
- direct payments made into your account, so that you buy and manage services yourself
- an arrangement with your LA or school where they hold the money for you but you still decide how to spend it (sometimes called ‘notional arrangements’)
- third-party arrangements - you choose someone else to manage the money for you
You can also have a combination of all three options.
LAs and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are expected to put arrangements in place to ensure that services for disabled children and young people, and children and young people with SEN, are planned for and commissioned jointly.
This should ensure that agencies work together to agree the best package of support and will hopefully avoid disputes over who should fund services.
If you’re not happy with the health support or provision being provided for your child or young person, you can raise a complaint with the CCG or NHS England and tell AFF at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re not happy with the LAs decision to not assess your child for an EHCP, or to provide an EHCP after an EHC assessment, or the SEN part of the EHCP, you can appeal the decision with the SEND Tribunal.
However, before you appeal you must first contact a mediation advisor.
Moving frequently as part of our Army lifestyle can be challenging, particularly if you have a child or young person with SEN or SEND.
Often families have the child’s statement or EHCP agreed in one LA then move to another LA with a different Local offer for education, health and social care provision; you may feel that you are having to start the process all over again or are not getting the same provision.
The good news is that the SEND Code of Practice 0- 25 Chapter 10 pp.219 - now recognises the unique needs of Service children with SEN and SEND and the possible impact that Service-induced mobility and deployment may have on their specific needs.
This Code of Practice attempts to meet the aspirations of the Armed Forces Covenant, which has a commitment to prevent or reduce some of the potential disadvantages faced by Service families.
So, all those with statutory responsibilities towards Service children with SEN should ensure that the impact of their policies, administrative processes and patterns of provision do not disadvantage such children because of their Service-related lifestyle.
This means that those providing education should ensure that there is a process to enable all relevant records for Service children with SEN to be sent and received by the schools on moving, in the UK and overseas, to enable effective planning. This should ideally be done before your child attends the new school.
To help with this transfer of information, the MOD has developed the Pupil Information Profile (PIP) for Service children, which includes details of a child’s SEN.
It is available for use by schools across the UK and overseas, and is available from the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).
The Code of Practice says that schools who receive funds through the Service Pupil Premium should consider how they might be used to improve their approach to meeting the SEN requirements of Service children.
When commissioning services for children and young people with SEN, LAs are expected to take into account, with their partners (for example, Health and Social Care), the particular needs of Service families in their area.
When LAs carry out an assessment of a Service child’s EHC needs, or when making an EHC plan, they must seek advice from CEAS.
When Service children move from one LA to another the transfer of the EHC plan from the ‘old’ LA to the ‘new’ LA should happen within 15 days from when they first become aware of the move.
Six weeks to review
The new LA will have to tell the parents within six weeks of the transfer of the EHC plan, whether they will bring the annual review of the plan forward and whether they intend to reassess the child.
When the EHCP is transferred to the new LA, it must arrange the special educational provision set out in it, although a child may have to be placed in a school other than the one named on the plan if the distance of the move makes it impractical to send the child to the named school.
Where Personal Budgets have been agreed, the current LA should liaise with parents to ensure that adequate, appropriate and timely arrangements are made in the new LA to ensure the continuity of provision.
MASO & SCAN
If you’re moving overseas and you have a child with SEN or SEND, you will need to know about the MASO and SCAN.
The MOD Assessment of Supportability Overseas (MASO) is the name for the enquiry process to assess whether all the support needed is available in the overseas location.
The Service Children’s Assessment of Need (SCAN) is the name for the assessment that will take place instead of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in the UK if needed.
You may find the following links useful:
- Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS): Tel: 01980 618244 or email: DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.uk
- MOD Schools
Charitable and other support
- Association of Education Psychologists
- Dyslexia Action
- Elsa Network - ELSAs are Emotional Literacy Support Assistants
- The Local Offer - sets out to transform the landscape of special educational needs and disability provision to ensure that all children with SEND can enjoy a high quality educational experience and work towards positive life outcomes and opportunities.
- National Portage Association - Portage is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families. Tel: 0121 244 1807, Fax: 0121 244 1801
- Special Needs Jungle - is a parent – led resources and information on SEN, SEND and health conditions
- Sure Start - centres are open to all parents, carers and children and many of the services are free. You can get help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.
- The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) - A Parent Carer Forum is a representative local group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers.
For other useful links and information relating to SEN and SEND, click here.