SEN and Disabilities

SEN and Disabilities

Jigsaw July 2014 AfA3AS Final In 2014, the Children and Families Act was passed. It had three parts to it: Fostering and Adoption, Family Law and SEN and Disability. The SEN and Disability part is supported by the new SEND Code of Practice, which can be found here. This Code tells everybody involved in supporting children and young people with SEND, what the law says they have to do. It sets out clearly what local authorities and educational institutions should and must do. Should means they have to follow this guidance unless they have good reasons not to. The aims of the reforms were to ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities achieve well in their early years, at school and in college; find employment; lead happy and fulfilled lives and have choices and control over their support. The reforms will implement a new approach which seeks to join up help across education, health and care, from birth to 25. Help will be offered at the earliest possible point, which children and young people being fully involved in decisions about their support. This will help lead to better outcomes and more efficient ways of working. The vision is for children with SEN and Disabilities is the same as for all children and young people; that they achieve well and lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Disabled Children and Young People

Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability that is ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. Long-term is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ means ‘more than minor or trivial’. Please see Wirral's Medical and Physical Support Team and the Autism and Social Communication Team The Equality Act 2010 sets out the legal obligations that schools, early years providers, post-16 institutions, local authorities and others have towards disabled children and young people: The requirements of the Equality Act have NOT been changed by the Children And Families Act

Children with Medical Conditions

The Children & Families Act places a duty on maintained schools and academies to make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions. A healthcare plan will set out the type and level of support required to meet these needs. Guidance on “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” can be found by clicking here.

Useful Documents

SEND Factsheets

What is an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP)and who is it for?

This short video prepared by the Council for Disabled Children is a really helpful visual answer to this often asked question.


https://youtu.be/ughC-a5RhAc


From September 2014 Education, Health and Care Plans have been replacing Statements of Educational Needs and Learning Disability Assessments. They are person-centred plans that bring the child or young person's education, health and care needs information together in a single document.

EHC Plans are for children and young people between the ages of 0-25. EHC Plans are designed to give families more control over how they are supported and can include a personal budget. Having an EHC Plan means the different agencies that provide education, health and social care support will work together to help children and young people achieve their goals. Before children and young people get an EHC Plan they must have an EHC Needs Assessment. Click here to see Wirral's EHC Plan format.

Who will get an EHC Plan?

EHC Plans are for children and young people who have special educational need disability that cannot be met by support that is usually available in a setting, school or college. This is known as what is "ordinarily available" and is expected that schools provide. Wirral's threshold documents give detail about what schools are expected to provide for children with SEN in schools. You can find the threshold documents in Section 22 of the revised SEND Handbook listed below: If you want to find out more about EHC Plans you can talk to the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) in your school or by contacting:

Useful Documents

Who can request an EHC Needs Assessment?

It is usually an early years setting, a school or college who request an EHC Assessment but parents can also make a request. The following people can request for the local authority to conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:
  • 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 ideally be 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. (Further details can be found in 9.9 of the Code of Practice) There are also local groups that can provide you with support and information. These include: To request an Educational Health Care Plan (EHC Plan) please contact the Special Educational Needs Coordinator in your child's school/nursery or speak with your health visitor.

Eligibility Criteria

A local authority must conduct education, health and care needs assessment when it considers that a child or young person may have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made. In considering whether an EHC Needs Assessment is necessary, the local authority will consider whether there is evidence that depsite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution, having taken relevant an purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the SEN of a child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress (paragraphs 9.14 to 9.15 of the Code of Practice). The EHC needs assessment should not normally be the first step in the process, rather it should follow a period of assess, plan, do, review (this is called a graduated response). Wirral school's often use an additional needs support plan to record how they are supporting a child or young person. Click here to see an Additional SEND Support Plan. Wirral's EHC Plan process diagram (EHC Plan Pathway) can be found here. When considering requests for EHC Assessments, Wirral use a set of documents referred to as "Wirral Threshold Documents". These documents seperate Special Educational Needs and Disability into the four broad areas of the code and layout what is expected of schools in terms of their ability to support children and young people. This is known as provision which is "ordinarily available" for children with SEN and "reasonable adjustments" for children with disabilities. It is only when children and young people are not able to make progress with what is ordinarily available/available through reasonable adjustments, that they will be eligible for an EHC Plan. Wirral's threshold documents can be found in Section 22 of the Revised SEND Handbook listed below: Revised SEND Handbook
Presentation3

Wirral is committed to giving all children and young people a high quality education that allows them to achieve well in their early years, at schools and college and lead happy and fulfilled lives.

All Wirral settings are required by the Code of Practice to identify and address the SEN of the children/young people that they support. They must:
  • Use their best endeavours to make sure that a child/young person with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN
  • Ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in activities alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • Designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision
  • Inform parents/young people when they are making special educational provision
  • Prepare a “SEN Information Report” - Wirral Schools have prepared this report, which includes their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan, showing how they plan to improve access over time. Currently, these reports can be found on individual school sites (a full list of links will be produced as part of the development of this site)

What is meant by Special Educational Needs?

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she: has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

SEND Support

In Wirral the vast majority of children who have Special Educational Needs and or disabilities will have their needs met in their local mainstream early year’s settings, schools or colleges.

The support required to meet most children’s SEN needs will come from the setting, school or college’s own SEN budget (This is known as Element 1 and 2 funding). Previously, this support was known as School Action or School Action Plus. It is now called the "graduated response". Wirral have worked with its schools to produce "Wirral Threshold Documents". These documents seperate Special Educational Needs and Disability into the four broad areas of the code and layout what is expected of schools in terms of their ability to support children and young people. The documents also include details of Pupil Funding Agreements, which is a local mechanism by which the Local Authority can help schools support a broader range of children with SEND.

Additional Funding for Maintained Mainstream Primary/ Secondary Schools through Pupil Funding Agreements (PFA)

Mainstream schools that identify pupils with the following types of SEN as defined by the Code of Practice can apply for additional support. This applies to:

• Cognition and Learning

• Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

• Communication and interaction needs

• Sensory and/or physical needs

This is to ensure that their educational outcomes can continue to be met in Mainstream schools (without the need for an EHCP). Pupils with PFA’s will remain in their Mainstream school.

PFA funding is for those who require additional support over and above the resources made available within the schools SEN notional budget. Schools may be allocated up to an additional 7 units of support. Applications for PFA are to be made by the school to the Local Authority using the Threshold documents.

Admissions to special schools are managed by the SEN team at Hamilton Building and are restricted to children who have an EHC Plan.

This team can be contacted via the Children and Young People’s Department, SEN Section, Hamilton Building, Conway Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 4FD. Tel: 0151 666 4224. Or by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions

This diagram shows how Wirral plans to change all the children and young people's statements into plans before April 2018.
Transfer of 1600+ Children/Young People with Statements of Educational Need to the New Educational Health Care Plans
September 2014 September 2015 September 2016 September 2017
First Year Second Year Third Year Final 6 Months
372 425 425 420
Transition arrangements Now that we are well underway with the challenging process of transferring all Statements to Education Health Care plans, it is rewarding to see the considerable progress made to date. Some 1,000 Statements have already been moved over to the new format EHC Plans with 600 remaining. Pleasingly, Wirral find themselves well-placed and ahead of National rates of completion. Hopeful that this momentum will continue, we are confident that we remain on target to meet the prescribed April 2018 deadline. We have canvassed views and received largely favourable feedback. An encouraging 88% of Wirral parents/carers whose child/ward have undergone the transition process were positive about the changes. Here's a sample what our parents have had to say: "I couldn't have asked for more. The plan describes our child exactly and all the information and help, support is exactly what he needs. I have complete faith that he has a fantastic team and everyone involved has made sure he is going to get everything he needs" "We are extremely grateful to our designated coordinator for working with us. We had heard so many terrible EHCP stories. The whole process was very smooth and efficient. Our coordinator was extremely helpful and supportive and generally very kind and sensitive to our feelings and wishes for our child. She made a very difficult and emotional process bearable". "What was most improved was the involvement of my son whose opinion was listened to and taken into consideration and really that is what is most important." "We carry a lot of hope forward now".   UPDATE as of AUGUST 2017 As the table above outlines we anticipated having 420 Transfer reviews outstanding at this stage. The good news is we are ahead of the estimated schedule by 70 and therefore have 350 reviews to complete. We are understandably encouraged by this progress but the task ahead remains challenging. Schools continue to play an invaluable supporting role and they have been updated and prepared for the final push. They have been instructed to schedule in Transfer Reviews in the first half of the Autumn term with priority being given to pupils in Year 6. Completed paperwork must be returned to the LA by the end of November to allow sufficient time to have all existing Statements transferred over to Educational Health and Care plans by the prescribed date. All parties have signed up to this crucial and final leg of the journey. It is an incredibly busy time but our aim remains the same - to continue working with families to produce meaningful quality plans.

Useful Documents

When disagreements arise between young people or their parents/carers and the local authority or education, health or social care providers about an aspect of a child or young person’s special educational needs or provision they can be difficult to resolve.

Although ‘disagreement resolution’ and ‘mediation’ are often used interchangeably, under the Children and Families Act they have different meanings.

Disagreement Resolution is for young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and parents of children with SEND whether or not they have an Education Health or Care plan (EHCP). It allows parties to come together to discuss issues and explore possible solutions in a respectful, constructive way. Disagreement resolution meetings are often successful in finding a solution which is agreeable to both parties and can prevent the disagreement from escalating. Both parties come to the meeting voluntarily, with a view to resolving the disagreement amicably. During the meeting a neutral facilitator ensures that both parties have the opportunity to explain their points and listen to what the other party has to say.

Mediation

Young people or their families who have, or who have requested an assessment for, an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP) or statement have the right to ask for mediation if they are unhappy with anything concerning the EHCP or statement.

Mediation is a confidential process (except in cases where there are safeguarding issues) and is conducted in a safe, neutral environment that allows for both parties to be listened to and understood.

Young people and families will be asked to consider mediation before registering an appeal, but having done so, they also have the right to decline it if they so wish. This decision will not affect the outcome of the appeal.

If the disagreement only concerns the name of the educational establishment then the case can proceed straight to appeal without the need for mediation.

There are separate appeal processes for challenging the health and social care parts of the plan.

How do I get more information about mediation?

When the Local Authority writes to you about their decision in regard to a statement or EHCP they will inform you of your right of appeal and will give the contact details of an independent mediation adviser. Before registering an appeal you should contact the mediation adviser to discuss whether mediation might be a suitable way to resolve the disagreement ask any questions you may have. If you do not wish to participate in mediation a certificate will be issued within 3 working days of the decision being made. You can send this certificate to Tribunal to register an appeal. If you have agreed to mediation, a meeting with all parties will be arranged within 30 calendar days at a neutral, accessible venue. Any agreements reached during the meeting will be written out and signed by both parties. The mediator will then produce a certificate within 3 working days of the mediation taking place, regardless of the outcome. If the mediation did not fully resolve the disagreement, and the young person or parent still wishes to appeal to Tribunal, the certificate must be sent to register an appeal within one month from receiving the certificate or two months from the original decision by the local authority, whichever is later. Wirral SEND Partnership Information Advice and Support service can give further information about registering an appeal with Tribunal. You can contact them on 0151 522 7990 or email [email protected]

What is the difference between IAS Services and Independent Supporters?

IAS Services are statutory services who are expected to provide information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents/carers. They are expected to provide IAS on subjects including local policy and practice, the Local Offer, personalisation, personal budgets, the law on SEN and disability, health and social care. For more information see About IAS Services, the IASS Network Quality Standards https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/information-advice-and-support-services-network/resources/ias-services-quality-standards and Chapter 2 of the SEND Code of Practice. Your local IAS service is Wirral SEND Partnership and they can be contacted on 0151 522 7990 (option 2).

The Independent Support Programme is a programme that provides additional support to young people and parents during the implementation of the SEND reforms, and is funded by the Department for Education (DfE). The IS Programme provides independent supporters in each local area, as an additional resource and for a time limited period, to work directly with young people and the parents of children being assessed for an EHC plan. For more info see the IS Programme pages on the CDC website https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/independent-support.

Your local IS service is PSS and can be contacted on 0151 702 5555.