Changes to rules around Education, Health and Care plans
Changes to rules around Education, Health and Care plans due to Coronavirus 'must be monitored closely’, says Ambitious about Autism
The Government has announced that it is temporarily relaxing legal duties on local authorities to provide provision set out in Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans for children with special educational needs. It is also relaxing the time limit on EHC plans assessments -if local authorities have made ‘reasonable endeavours’ to meet targets.
The changes will be in force from today until September 25 and will be kept under review.
Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said:
“Coronavirus has created upheaval in everybody’s lives but children and young people with autism and their families have been acutely affected by disruption to education, change to routine and the withdrawal of support services.
“Young people with special educational needs are among the most vulnerable in our society and many families already have to fight tooth and nail to secure the support their children need to thrive in education. Already,the 20-week statutory deadline to complete EHC assessments is often missed, while many families also have to take legal action to challenge decisions about their child’s education placements.
“We are concerned that these changes to the law, while only temporary, could have a serious and long-lasting impact on autistic children and young people’s quality of life and success in education.
“These changes need to be monitored incredibly closely by the Government and as soon as there is evidence they are placing further strain on families or damaging young people’s potential – they need to be reversed.
“It’s a challenging time for everybody working to support children with special educational needs,, but local authorities must continue to work in partnership with families, education providers and professionals to deliver the best support possible and continue to place the best interests of the child at the centre of all decision-making.”