Transfer  Plans - conversion of SEN statements and LDAs into EHCPs

These are Tower Hamlets' arrangements to convert statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) into Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

Introduction

By  April 1, 2018, all local authorities must have transferred all children and young people with statements to the new SEN and disability system following a ‘transfer review’. It is expected that the vast majority of children and young people with statements to be transferred to an EHC plan. During the transition period (September 1, 2014 to April 1, 2018) the local authority must continue to comply with Part IV of the Education Act 1996 in relation to children and young people with statements.

The Children and Families Act 2014 provides for new statutory assessment and planning arrangements for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). As of September 1, 2014, it is no longer possible to request an assessment for a statement for a child or young person who does not already have one, and no new Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) can be commenced. From September 1, requests for an assessment of SEN for children and young people who do not have an existing statement will be considered under the new legislation. Those requiring a statutory plan to secure the relevant provision to meet their special educational needs will be issued with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Children and young people with statements and those receiving provision to meet their SEN as a result of a LDA will be gradually transferred over to the new arrangements. The legal test of when a child or young person requires an EHC plan remains the same as that for a statement under the Education Act 1996. Therefore all children and young people who have a statement who are continuing in education and whose needs remain unchanged will be transferred to an EHC plan – no child or young person should lose their statement and not have it replaced with an EHC plan simply because the system is changing.

The expectation is that young people are currently receiving support as a result of a LDA and remain in further education or training at the end of the transition period, will be issued with an EHC Plan.

Assessment and re-assessment for a statement in progress on September 1, 2014

Where the assessment or re-assessment for a statement is in progress on September 1, 2014 then it will continue under the arrangements provided for by the Education Act 1996 unless there is an agreement between the parent or young person and the local authority to treat it as an EHC needs assessment. Where we are able to we will try to anticipate the requirements for an EHC needs assessment. This will ensure children and young people benefit from the new system as soon as possible, and help reduce the burden on families and our SEN services of needing to conduct transfer reviews for these children and young people later.

If the decision is taken to treat the ongoing assessment as an EHC needs assessment, any assessment already undertaken will not be repeated. Where the assessment started prior to September 1 and an EHC plan is needed, it will be issued within 26 weeks of the original request for an assessment for a statement.

Learning Difficulty Assessments in progress on September 1, 2014

There may be cases where LDAs are being conducted and incomplete by September 1, 2014. If the LA is able to and the assessment meets the requirements for an EHC needs assessment then an EHC plan will be issued after September 1, 2014.

Arrangements relating to statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments during the transition period

During the transition period, a child or young person’s statement will remain in place until:

  • the local authority decides to cease the statement following an annual review
  • the statement is ceased because the young person leaves education
  • the child or young person has a transfer review and:
  • an EHC plan is secured for her/him; or
  • a local authority decides that she/he does not require an EHC plan.

During the transition period we will continue to:

  • where necessary, maintain statements and
  • review statements at least annually.

During the transition period the parents of children and young people with statements will be invited to provide evidence for annual reviews, sent copies of the evidence that others have provided for the reviews and be invited to the annual review meeting.

Requests for re-assessments of children and young people with statements made after September 1, 2014

Where the parents of a child or young person with a statement thinks that a re-assessment may be required, their rights to request such an assessment under Part IV of the Education Act 1996 will continue. The parents of a child or the young person with a statement do not have the right to request an EHC needs assessment under the Children and Families Act 2014 during the transition period.

Learning Difficulty Assessments

From September 1, 2014, local authorities are no longer under a duty to commence new LDAs for young people with a statement who move from school to further education or training, or higher education; nor will they have the power to conduct an LDA for other young people. Until September 1, 2016, we will continue to have regard to the section 139A Learning Difficulty Assessments Statutory Guidance in relation to young people who receive support in post-16 education, training or higher education as a result of a LDA.

The LDA should be reviewed regularly by colleges or other educational providers to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the young person. As LDA reports are completed and reviewed they should continue to reflect the individual needs of students. LDAs for older students should include a greater emphasis on pathways to independent living and links to job seeking e.g. Jobcentre Plus and adult social services.

Timing of transfers to the new SEN and disability system

Transferring children and young people to EHC plans in a way that maximises the benefits that they offer is a significant undertaking for local authorities. We want this transition to happen at a pace that is achievable and which maintains the quality of support both to children and young people making the transition and those still on the previous system. The move from SEN statements to EHC Plans must be completed by April 1, 2018 at the latest.

Young people in further education and training who currently receive their provision as a result of a LDA must benefit from the new system as soon as possible, this group of young people must be transferred to the new system by September 1, 2016.

Our local conversion plan

In developing our arrangements for the conversion of SEN statements into EHC Plans we have consulted with headteachers, heads’ groups and SENCOs through briefings sessions; discussed the draft plan with the SEN Reform Project Board and EHC Plan implementation group. Both of the groups mentioned have health social care education and parent representatives as members.

There are approximately 1800 children and young people with statements and the 300 young people receiving support as a result of an LDA. Details of the number the local authority expects to transfer to the new system in each year of the transition period are included in the table in appendix one of this paper. The intention is to take a stepped approach with the same year groups being targeted each year. In 14/15 year groups -1 2 4 6 9 and 11 will be converted. In 15/16 the next years -1 2 6 9 and 11 will convert. In the final year (16/17) pupils in years 2 5 and 9 will be converted.

Year of conversion 

                      School year in September 2014                    

2014/15

-1

 2

 4

6

9

11

14

2015/16

-2

1

5

8

10

13

 

2016/17

R

3

7

12

     

 

Our transfer plan takes into account that children and young people will be transferring from one setting to another over the three and half years that conversions will take place. Therefore we have considered the following transitions in formulating our plan;

  • early years settings to school (including where the child remains at the same institution)
  • infant to junior school
  • secondary school to post-16 institution or apprenticeship
  • mainstream to a special school or vice versa
  • those moving between one local authority and another
  • children and young people with a statement leaving custody between September 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015.

There are a few exceptions to the plans such as where the local authority is prevented from commencing a transfer review because of an ongoing appeal in relation to a statement.

We will write to all parents of children with SEN giving them an overview of the conversion of SEN statements. Where it is our intention to convert their child’s SEN statement will also write to those parents at the beginning of that school year. We will also inform all schools and other educational institutions of the particular annual reviews that should be a transfer review.

For a number of years the Educational Psychology Service has supported schools in applying person centred approaches to their annual reviews. Over the past year this training has been extended to all schools and professionals from education health and social care who contribute to SEN assessments. The EHC implementation group has been a reference group as we have drafted templates and discussed processes to implement the SEN reforms. We will provide schools and other services with guidance on the conversion of statements and continued support from seconded SENCOs and educational psychologists on how to conduct transfer reviews.

Our local further education college will also be offered advice and support from our seconded SENCOs and educational psychologists on how to conduct transfer reviews for the transfer of young people who receive support as a result of a LDA.

We will inform parents of all sources of independent SEN information and advice that are available in preparation for the transfer review. Parents and young people can contact the SEN team or the Parents Advice Centre if they have queries about transition to the new system.

Timing of transfer to EHC plans for young people in further education and training who receive support as a result of a LDA

From September 1, 2014, young people in further education or training who are receiving additional support to meet their special educational needs and who plan to continue in further education or training after September 1, 2016 will have their LDA converted into an EHC plan. We will inform young people and their parents of our conversion arrangements and their right to request an EHC plan. We will also provide advice to these young people about where they can obtain independent advice and support, including from an independent supporter.

It is our intention to convert statements and LDAs for post 16 students by first asking students in advance of reviews of whether they intend to continue in education. We will aim to convert statements of LDAs during the last year of their course of study. College students with LDAs should be signed on to one or two year courses. The LDAs should be reviewed ceased or converted during the last year of study.

College students with LDAs

School year

One year courses
and final year of two
year courses

Two year courses

2014/15

X  

2015/16

 

X

 

Interim arrangements for detained children and young people

The provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014 that apply to children and young people in detention come into effect on April 1, 2015. It is possible that EHC plans may be drawn up for children and young people between September 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015 who subsequently enter custody in that period.

These EHC plans will be treated as if they were statements and the host local authority will have the responsibilities it would have had were the provision in a statement.