Tag Archives: education

SEN Reforms in England and Wales

sen reformsIn England, the special educational needs (SEN) reforms introduced in September 2014 continue to be rolled out.

Although all SEN statements should be converted into Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans by April 2018 recent government figures show that 45% of the statements are still in place with only 19 out of the 152 English local authorities currently on track to meet the deadline.

Clearly, many families are still waiting for statements to be converted to an EHC plan and they can get more information about the process from our guide on Education in England: Statements of Special Educational Needs: A Guide for Parents.

However, those families undergoing assessment for an EHC plan, and those who already have one, will find the information they need in the recently revised guide Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans. (Education in England: A Guide for Parents).

Meanwhile in Wales, the Welsh Government’s proposed SEN reforms, which it hopes will pass into law at the end of the year, continue with the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill being scrutinised by the Welsh Assembly.

At the same time a consultation is being carried out on how the reforms should be introduced. For now, however, nothing has changed and the current system remains in place meaning that parents can continue to request an assessment for a SEN statement. Information on the Welsh system can be found in Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents.

Education in England: Statements of Special Educational Needs: A Guide for Parents

Statements SEN EnglandA new system for children with special educational needs (SEN) was introduced in England from September 2014. From that date statements of special educational needs (SEN) were replaced in England (but not Wales) with a new document called an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). This means that SEN statements are no longer issued and those children who have a SEN statement are gradually being transferred over to an EHCP. This process is not due to finish until April 2018 which means we are in a transition period where the old and new systems are running alongside each other.

Please note this guide is only relevant to those children who still have a SEN statement and live in England. If you believe that your child has SEN or is being assessed for an EHCP or already has an EHCP please see Cerebra’s Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans (Education in England: A Guide for Parents). If you live in Wales please see Cerebra’s Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents.

Download 'Statements of Special Educational Needs (Education in England: A Guide for Parents)' PDF

First published 2016. This edition 2016. Review date 2018.


Your response to the following statements will help us to make our information more useful. The questions relate to the resources that can be viewed on this page.

Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents

Educationin WalesThis guide has been prepared for parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabled children living in Wales. It only applies to Wales and we have written separate guidance for England.

Download 'Education in Wales: A Guide for Parents' PDF

 

 

First published 2016. This edition 2016. Review date 2019.


Your response to the following statements will help us to make our information more useful. The questions relate to the resources that can be viewed on this page.

Problem-Solving Toolkit for Families

ToolkitCerebra has published a new Problem-Solving Toolkit to support disabled people and carers who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of health, social care and education support services.

Research conducted by the charity and Cardiff Law School in October 2015 revealed that families of disabled children are experiencing substantial delays in getting an NHS diagnosis and too few parents are being given written information when they do receive their diagnosis. Support services are not always offered and, when they are, they often do not meet the needs of the family. Moreover parents are reluctant to complain about any of this and, if they do, their concerns are often not dealt with adequately.

Whilst UK law provides powerful rights to such support services, this alone can be insufficient. Professor Luke Clements, Cerebra Professor of Law and Social Justice, Leeds Law School and author of the Toolkit explains: “The law can be complicated and difficult to understand. Even when you know what your rights are, it can be daunting, exhausting and sometimes intimidating to challenge public officials. There is a power imbalance and much research suggests (and indeed the Government accepts) that many families are fearful that complaining may make things worse”.

The Toolkit is a comprehensive, practical and easy to use guide to help families resolve difficulties with their statutory health, social care and education support services. It aims to help unpick commonly experienced problems and to offer effective strategies for resolving them. The Toolkit:

• considers nine general categories of dispute, from inter-agency disputes and complex cases to delays and resource issues, and offers detailed advice for resolving them
• identifies key factors that can empower people to claim their rights and to challenge failures when they occur
• offers advice on preparing for, attending and following up on meetings
• sets out a series of template letters that families can use in a variety of situations

It also provides a Jargon Buster, an explanation of what public authorities must do and explores a number of commonly held myths.

To accompany the Toolkit a central website, www.difficultbox.com, is being developed with links to law, practice and self-help guides that have been produced by many charities and support organisations. The facility to post comments and suggestions on the site is being developed.

The Problem-Solving Toolkit is free to download here.

The publication of the Toolkit has been made possible by a 2015 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ‘Impact’ award in addition to financial support from Cerebra.

Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans. (Education in England: A Guide for Parents)

education guideThis guide has been prepared for parents of children with special educational needs and parents of disabled children who want to know how to get help for their child at school in England.

This guide replaces the 2013 education guide to take account of the changes to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) framework that have been introduced from September 2014 and now covers England only. The new system is being phased in gradually and children and young people with a statement in England must be transferred to the new system by 1st April 2018. The 2013 guide will remain relevant until your child’s statement has been transferred to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan under the new system.

Further information on the transition from statements and Learning Difficulties Assessments (LDAs) to Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans, can be found on the IPSEA website. You can download the guide below.

Education in England: A Guide for Parents (Pdf)

Published 2014. This edition 2017.Review date 2020.


Your response to the following statements will help us to make our information more useful. The questions relate to the resources that can be viewed on this page.

Polly Sweeney

Polly%20SweeneyEducation, Health and Care Plans: legal rights of disabled children under the Children and Families Act 2014

Affiliation: Associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell LLP

Biography: Polly has experience in a broad range of public law practice, and specialises in community care, healthcare and medical treatment and education law (including representing parents at special educational needs and disability tribunals). She is also experienced in cases in the Court of Protection regarding mental capacity, best interests and deprivation of liberty, and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to act on behalf of vulnerable adults on a range of health and welfare matters including capacity to marry or engage in sexual relations and disputes about contact and residence. She is involved in a number of pro bono initiatives and regularly delivers legal advice workshops to parents, carers and charities.

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Legal Entitlements Research Project Update

Booklet with reading glassesOur new on-line request form makes it easier for families to ask for help under our Legal Entitlements Research Project and to understand how the project can help them.

Cerebra’s Legal Entitlements Research Project is open to parents and carers of children aged 16 or under who have a neurological condition and who need help to resolve a legal problem regarding access to health, social care or (to a more limited extent) education support services.

Law students at Cardiff University (under the supervision of qualified staff, firms of solicitors and other disability organisations) can offer legal support to families by providing a written opinion which explains the relevant law and a draft letter which parents can send to the relevant local authority or health body.

As well as providing practical assistance to families, the legal advice scheme also forms part of a wider research programme, under the direction of Professor Luke Clements as our Academic Chair.

The aim of the research programme is to understand why public bodies sometimes fail to discharge their legal duties and identify effective ways of overcoming these problems, so that we can better equip families to resolve problems with the statutory agencies, and enable statutory agencies to improve their decision-making processes and reduce the likelihood of similar problems arising in future.

We have recently developed a new on-line request form for parents who would like to be considered for support from the Project. We hope that the new form will help parents to frame their request and enable us to capture all the relevant information at an early stage. Please let us know if you have any comments or queries about using the online form.

We have also published Project Guidelines which explain how the scheme works in more detail and describe the type of legal problems we may be able to help with.

If you have a legal question about your child’s access to health, social care or education services, please have a look at the Project Guidelines for further details and complete the online request form available on our website.