The Government has published guidance on the transitional arrangements covering the rules that govern what happens to children and young people who currently have a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or a learning disability assessment (LDA), and how and when these will be converted to Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans.
- The Government wants local authorities to introduce the new system as soon as possible.
- Local authorities should publish a transition plan following consultation by 1 September 2014.
- Children and young people with SEN statements will undergo a ‘transitional review’ to convert their statements into EHC plans.
- All children and young people with statements who transfer schools and those in year 9 must be a priority for transitional reviews.
- All statements must be converted, or ceased, by 1 April 2018.
- All Learning Disability Assessments must cease, and where appropriate, EHC assessments undertaken, by 1 September 2016.
“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, it is expected that all children and young people who have a statement and who would have continued to have one under the current system, 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.” (Department for Education)
The Transfer Process
‘To transfer a child or young person from a statement to an EHC plan, a local authority must undertake a ‘transfer review’’.
The transition review will allow outcomes for the child or young person to be included in the EHC Plan along with a description of the provision that the child or young person will need to achieve the outcomes. The parent or young person must be notified of the local authority’s intention to initiate the transfer review. In undertaking the needs assessment, the local authority must have regard to the SEN Code of Practice, but must not seek advice required for an EHC needs assessment if such advice has previously been provided for any purpose providing all parties are satisfied that the advice is ‘sufficient’. The EHC plan must be finalised, where one is needed, within 14 weeks of the start of the transfer process. If a decision is made not to make an EHC Plan, notification must be made with 10 weeks of the start of the transfer review process.