This section aims to cover the years from Reception to the end of Year 11.
For parents of school-age children with special educational needs you are strongly advised to read Chapter 6 of the SEND Code of Practice (2015). This covers the identification of children with special educational needs by the school, how the support is to be put in place under the process called 'Assess, Plan, Do and Review' at SEN Support.
Please also see: Choosing a school
Primary (or Infant and Junior):
For pupils without EHC plans:
You should be informed if the school decides to provide any additional or different provision for your child and you should be involved in setting short term targets which should be reviewed regularly (we suggest termly).. It may be that this addresses the issue and then the additional support can be removed. Alternatively, it may that the additional support is not enough and the school decides to seek advice from an external professional, such as a Specialist Teacher or Speech and Language therapist.
If the school, for example, in Year 5 tells you that your child will not cope with secondary, this is the time to ask the school to work with you to gather the evidence as to why this may be the case, in order to submit an effective request to the Local Authority for your child to have an EHC assessment (the first step towards obtaining an EHC plan). This could, for example, be at the end of Year 5 as this gives time, if the Local Authority refuses your request, to submit an appeal and if successful for this to be completed prior to secondary transfer.
For pupils with EHC plans:
For parents of pupils with EHC plans, the school should include you in agreeing the short-term targets which, in turn, are based on achieving the Outcomes (Section E) of your child's EHC plan.
Your child's EHC plan must be reviewed every year. For more information about this very important process, in which your views as well as those of your child, should be heard see Chapter 9 of the SEN Code of Practice (2015) from Section 9.166 - 9.185 which describes the process that must be followed by the Local Authority and the school. The Local Authority will remind schools when an Annual Review meeting is due, with the school holding a meeting on behalf of the Local Authority. Within two weeks of the Review meeting the school must submit the Review report to the Local Authority and the Local Authority MUST complete the review, by sending a decision letter stating where or not the Local Authority intends to maintain, amend, or cease your child's EHC plan. You must be informed of the Local Authority's Decision within four weeks of the Annual Review meeting and given a right of appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (SENDIST).
See 'Common Problem 1'
Secondary (11 - 16)
For pupils with EHC plans:
If the Review process has been effective this should ensure your child's EHC plan is regularly updated, with new Outcomes agreed where needed. However, you need to be aware the Review in Year 9 is particularly important as the focus should be on what is called 'Preparation for Adulthood'. We are well aware that most young people in Year 9 do not have a clear idea of what they want to do when they leave school. This Review should incorporate 'transition advice' looking what may be required for independent living skills and skills for employment in addition to academic skills.
For the Review in Year 10, if you feel your child will need to attend a specialist college to achieve the qualifications needed for their chosen field (e.g. such as catering) then this is the time to start planning ahead, especially if your child attends a school that ends at 16. It is usually assumed by the Local Authority that the vast majority of young people will move to FE college (the local FE college). Again, the same process as choosing a school should be followed. It is more difficult for parents but you can always arrange to visit the FE college at a different time to your child. You need to look at the courses and to ensure the actual course is included in Section F of your child's EHC plan, if a place is offered. Another major issue is that most FE colleges operate a three day week. If your child is going to need full time education (5 days a week) then this is the time to start planning what they will be doing in the other two days.
If your child/young person is under Children's Services (for example, they are in receipt of services through having a 'Child in Need' plan, then they will need an assessment by Adult Social Care to see if they are eligible for their services. The key issue is that the Transition Assessment by Adult Social Care must be undertaken when it is the right time for the individual. There is no set age when young person reach this point and as such transition assessments should take place when it is of 'significant benefit' to them.
If your child has not had any input from Children's Services (and the Social Care sections of the EHC plan reflect this) this might be a good time to consider, if you are unable to obtain an assessment by the Transition team from Adult Social Care, to consider requesting the Local Authority to undertake a a statutory re-assessment (for the EHC plan) with a specific request for Adult Social Care to undertake an assessment. Basically, if the Local Authority agrees, this means the EHC assessment is repeated or, if the Local Authority refuses, you must be given a right of appeal against the Local Authority's decision not to undertake a re-assessment.
See 'Common Problem 2'
The Children and Families Act 2014
Equality Act 2010
SEND Code of Practice, 2015,
Chapter 6: (SEN support and the procedure for requesting an EHC assessment)
Chapter 8: (covers the issues relating to preparing young persons for adulthood (including those with EHC plans)
Chapter 9: (covers EHC assessments and the writing of EHC plans as well as the review process)