Some children or young people who have complex educational needs require additional support to enable them to meet those needs. In the past, the support required to meet such needs was detailed in a document known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs (Statements). Statements have now been replaced by Education, Health & Care Plans.
As the name suggests, an Education, Health & Care Plan is a legal document that describes the child or young person’s educational, health and social care needs. It should also specify how those needs should be met, including who should deliver the support and the frequency/duration of the support.
Transfers from Statements to the new Education, Health & Care Plans have been phased in over the last three years. All transfers are due to be completed by 1 April 2018.
If your child still has a Statement on 1 April 2018 the local authority will still be responsible for delivering the support included in the Statement. In a letter to the local authorities dated 12 September 2017, Minister Goodwill confirmed that any Statement of Special Educational Needs for which a transfer review has not been completed by 31 March 2018 will continue to remain in force from 1 April 2018 until a transfer review has been completed and a decision is made about future provision. This ensures that children and young people who have Statements, for which a review has not been completed by 31 March 2018, do not lose support. For these children and young people, the local authorities will remain responsible for ensuring that the provision in their Statements is met. The Statement as a whole continues to apply until the transfer process has completed.
That being said, it is important to ensure that there is a formal transfer of the Statement to an Education, Health & Care Plan, particularly if the young person is due to leave school to attend another educational setting. You should therefore ask the local authority to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment as soon as possible. This should incorporate up-to-date information and advice from relevant education, health and social care professionals involved with your child or young person. It is important to ensure that the child or young person’s needs and support required to meet those needs are accurately detailed in the new plan. The child or young person should be invited to attend the review meeting to discuss whether any changes are required to the existing plan. The final Education, Health & Care Plan should be issued within 18 weeks from the start of the transfer process.