In this Edition— School transitions, Part-time timetables, Illegal exclusions, Norfolk Steps, EHCP annual review, Making changes to an EHCP, IS update
- Is your child moving from nursery to primary school, infant to junior or primary to secondary school in September 2019? Do they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?
- Part time timetables at school
- Illegal Exclusions in schools
- Norfolk SEND Partnership UPDATE
- Norfolk Steps
- What to do after an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP) annual review meeting
- Making changes to an EHCP
- Independent Supporter (IS) update
Is your child moving from nursery to primary school, infant to junior or primary to secondary school in September 2019? Do they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?
If so, by 15th February you should receive a letter called a ‘final amendment notice’ from the Local Authority naming the new school. If you are not happy with the school named on the final amendment notice you have the right to appeal. You can appeal the placement and/or the wording in the EHCP regarding their needs (section B) and/or provision (section F.) When you receive the amendment notice you should also receive a copy of the EHCP. If you do not receive this, then you can request a copy from your Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) co-ordinator.
Remember the EHCP should be specific (clear) and quantified (how much /type of support your child will have). If you are unhappy with the EHCP, speak with your EHCP Co-ordinator to talk over the changes you would like to make, as you may find they agree with your changes.
If you are still in disagreement, then you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal. If you have an EHCP and you are appealing sections B (educational needs), F (educational provision) as well as section I (placement) then you will have to consider mediation first before you appeal. You will then be issued with a mediation certificate. You then must lodge your appeal within two months of the amendment notice or one month of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later date.
A young person moving to further education should receive their amendment notice by 31st March and again they would have the right to appeal if they are not happy with their EHCP/placement as above.
Part time timetables at school
All children have a right to a full-time education from schools, regardless of their circumstances. This must be suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and SEN. It is unlawful for a school to impose a part time or reduced timetable on a child unless they have been unwell and need gradual re-integration. Good practise states there must be consent from the parents with a clear understanding of what they are agreeing to and a formal written agreement between school, parents and any professionals working with the family.
Threat of exclusion must never be used to force a family into agreeing.
In some cases, not attending full time may be used, although this is not mentioned in statutory guidance, this might be because of:
- A considerable period has been spent out of school and used as part of reintegration
- Ill health (including mental health)
- Significantly challenging behaviour and at risk of exclusion, where all other methods of managing the pupil have been tried and exhausted, while alternative arrangements are being made or to coordinate with therapeutic interventions.
But, this must be a short-term measure towards full time hours, six weeks is generally seen as a reasonable period. Reviews should be held, ideally every two weeks, when hours are increased, or alternative provision is found.
Part time schooling must not become a permanent agreement. Strategies and support must be used to help make long term improvements for the child at the end of the 6 weeks.
If you have concerns please speak to the school, you can also contact us.
Illegal Exclusions in schools
An exclusion is illegal when:
- A child or young person is sent home for all or part of the day without a letter
- A pupil is excluded because school cannot meet their SEN or disability
- A school calls the parent and asks unofficially, for the child to collected
- The teaching assistant is not at school
- A part time table has not been agreed
- Asking you to keep them at home because of an OFSTED visit, a school trip or activity they are not taking part in
There is no such thing as an unofficial of informal exclusion.
For more information read and download our Exclusion booklet from the website.
Norfolk SEND Partnership UPDATE
We are running the below Tribunal Workshop. To book you place visit
https://tribunalworkshop2019.eventbrite.co.uk or contact us.
Norfolk Steps is something you may have heard about if your child is in education, so we thought it might be helpful for you to know a little more about it.
Norfolk Steps is a training programme that schools and other settings can buy in from Educator Solutions (which is a part of Norfolk County Council) to help promote positive behaviour.
Step On is the training that most schools have – it’s designed for any adults working with children, and we really encourage it as whole school training.
The main aims of the training are:
Ensuring that adults are being as consistent as they possibly can be when managing behaviour
- Planning to manage behaviour when it is going well and when it becomes difficult
- Thinking about why some children’s behaviour may be more challenging
- Considering how adults’ body language can have an impact on how children feel
- The use of positive touch and guiding away if necessary
- How the language that adults use can affect the way that children feel and behave
- The importance of lowering children’s anxiety whenever possible
In addition, some settings also have Step Up training. This is to help manage dangerous and harmful behaviours that some children may exhibit. This training looks at the planning around individual children and the restrictive physical interventions which may be necessary to manage the harm coming from their behaviour. This is only available to staff who have attended Step On training and where there is an actual need. In mainstream schools there may only be a small number of staff who are trained, in special schools you will probably find that most of the staff have had this training.
Unfortunately Step On training is no longer commissioned for parents by any Norfolk County Council departments due to funding restrictions. Some schools have been able to use part of their budget to commission the training for groups of parents, as have some charities, but it is currently very difficult to make this training more widely available.
Most of the special schools in Norfolk have their own Norfolk Steps tutors, and although they are unable to train parents, they will be happy to talk to you about how it works in school.
Written by Victoria Marley, Education Solutions
What to do after an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP) annual review meeting
No later than two weeks after the review meeting the educational institution must send the review paperwork to the Local Authority (LA) including all the advice gathered and the recommendations including any differences between their views and others, e.g. parents or young people.
Within four weeks of the review meeting the LA must write to parents, young people and the school or other institution to tell them what they intend to do:
- Keep the Plan as it is
- Cease (end)
If the decision is to keep the plan as it is or to cease it the LA must tell the parent or young person they have a right to appeal the decision, the time limits to appeal and the need to consider mediation if they wish to appeal. If the decision is appealed to the SENDIS Tribunal the LA must continue the Plan until the decision of the tribunal is shared.
If the LA are to amend the Plan they should start the process without delay.
Making changes to an EHCP
Once the LA have made the changes they must send a copy of the existing unchanged Plan. They must also send a notice with the proposed amendments to the Plan, (an amendment notice) and the evidence to support the changes.
The parent or young person must be given15 calendar days to comment and the opportunity to meet with the LA to discuss these changes.
The LA has 8 weeks from the amendment notice to finalise the Plan with changes or decide not to go ahead, it is then sent to the parent/young person, school and CCG (health).
For children and young people not at school or an educational institution the process is very similar, but the LA will keep the responsibility to review the Plan.
From year 9 onwards the review must focus on preparation for adulthood.
Independent Supporter (IS) update
Since May of this year I have been in the role of Independent Supporter (IS) at Norfolk SEND Partnership. Nationally, this role finished on July 31st, 2018 but thanks to un-spent funding we were able to continue this role until March 31st, 2019. Unfortunately, the end date of the role is fast approaching which means that Norfolk SEND Partnership will no longer have a dedicated IS.
Over the course of the last 10 months I have supported 31 families across Norfolk with the EHCP process, it has not been easy, but it has been thoroughly rewarding. Many of the families I have supported have felt that having an IS has helped them through the EHCP maze:
“you have been consistent and so helpful and knowledgeable. I know so many parents who would benefit from your support, it’s been invaluable to us.”
Our helpline, will of course, be there to support parents/carers and young people with the EHCP process. I will be transferring back in to my original role of Helpline Advisor from the 1st April, ready to help and support parents, carers and young people.