All About The SEND Local Offer
The way that children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) are supported changed on 1 September 2014.
The Children and Families Act 2014 has seen the introduction of Education, Health and Care Plans and a ‘Local Offer’ for families with a child or young person with SEND.
What is the Local Offer?
The Local Offer is a directory of information that helps families to find and access support and, through getting families feedback on the Local Offer, will become a useful tool in considering what services need to be changed and developed. All local authorities are required to have their own local offer as part of the government’s SEND reforms.
The local offer:
- gives you information about education, health and care services, as well as leisure activities and support groups
- holds all the information in one place
- is clear, comprehensive and easy to access
- has been developed and reviewed with people who provide services and by families who use them.
The local offer is for:
- children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities (SEND) from birth to 25 years
- their parents and carers
- practitioners and professionals
Some children and young people with more complex needs will require an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the Local Authority decide not to proceed with an EHC Needs Assessment, not to draw up a plan or I disagree with the plan?
If your child has special educational needs they will be able to access SEN support. SEN support replaces school action/ school action plus (in schools) and early years action/early years action plus (in early years settings).
SEN support is part of what is known as the ‘graduated approach’. The four stages of SEN support are:
Your child’s difficulties must be assessed so that the right support can be
provided. This should include, for example, asking you what you think, talking to professionals who work with your child (such as their teacher), and looking at records and other information. This needs to be reviewed regularly so that the support provided continues to meet your child’s needs. That might mean getting advice and further assessment from someone like an educational psychologist, a specialist teacher or a health professional.
Your school or other setting needs to agree, with your involvement, the outcomes that the SEN support is intended to achieve – in other words, how your child will benefit from any support they get – and you need to be involved with that. All those involved will need to have a say in deciding what kind of support will be provided, and decide a date by which they will review this so that they can check to see how well the support is working and whether the outcomes have been or are being achieved.
The setting will put the planned support into place. The teacher remains responsible for working with your child on a daily basis, but the SENCO and any support staff or specialist teaching staff involved in providing support should work closely to track your child’s progress and check that the support is being effective.
The support your child receives should be reviewed at the time agreed in the plan. You can then decide together if the support is having a positive impact, whether the outcomes have been, or are being, achieved and if or how any changes should be made.
Children and young people with more complex needs might need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. Education, Health and Care plans replace Statements of Special Education Needs and Learning Disability Assessments (LDAs).
An EHC Plan brings a child’s education, health and social care needs into a single, legal document. An EHC Plan is person centred and will reflect the views, interests and aspirations of children, young people and their parents. Families and professionals consider what outcomes they would like to see for the child or young person. The plan identifies what is needed to achieve those outcomes.
- The time taken to produce an EHC Plan is 20 weeks.
- Runs from birth to 25 years old.
- A personal budget maybe available to families to choose how to support the child or young person.
Until 31 August 2014, Local Authorities will continue to proceed with Statutory Assessments of Special Educational Needs (SEN) which may or may not lead to a Statement of SEN.
From 1 September 2014, all new requests for assessment to Local Authorities will result in an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments which may or may not lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and plans will be for children and young people aged up to 25 and will therefore replace both the Statement of SEN and the Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)
The Department of Education are clearly stating that if a child currently has a statement, they should expect to receive an EHCP.
There are currently 1400 children and young people with Statements of Special Education Needs and 500 young people with Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) in Milton Keynes. All Local Authorities are required to convert existing Statements into Education Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) between September 2014 and March 2018; LDAs are to be converted by September 2016.
This will be carried out in a planned, gradual process and will generally take place prior to a transfer to a new school. It is essential that the process enables a person centred approach, ensuring that the plan is holistic and that parents and young people are involved as equal partners and that their voice is central to the process. We are planning to convert all Statements and LDAs to EHC plans by September 2016.
What if the Local Authority decides not to proceed with an EHC Needs Assessment, not to draw up a plan or I disagree with the plan?
Disagreement resolution and mediation arrangements are in place. Mediation offers a relatively quick way of resolving disagreements. The notice you receive with the final EHC plan will inform you that you can go to mediation and who you should contact.
With regards to education, health and social care the local authority will arrange the mediation. If you only want to appeal the health elements, the local authority will contact the health commissioning body who will arrange the mediation.
Parents and young people can also register an appeal with the Tribunal.
Securing a place in higher education is a positive outcome. Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is available to help students in Higher Education with additional costs they incur because of a disability, which could include a health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty.
A personal budget (DOC, 68KB) is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver the provision set out in an EHC Plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.
All families whose child has an EHC plan will have a right to request a personal budget. The personal budget will allow young people or parents to buy support identified in the plan directly, rather than relying on the local authority.
Parents or young people will be given a choice of whether they want to take control of the personal budget by an agency managing the funds on their behalf or by receiving direct payments,
The Department for Education have produced a guide for parents and carers of children and young people aged 0-25 years who have special educational needs or a disability.
You can also read more about Educational, Health and Care Plan on our Education, Health and Care Plan web pages