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Changes in the law

If your child has a Statement, you should have heard that the government has recently started changing Statements to EHCPs. What does this mean for you?

From Statements to EHCPs

Recently there has been a major reform in the system. The Children and Families Act, which took effect on 1 September 2014, means that any child or young person with special educational needs can in future have a single Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – which means that if your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs, your local authority will have to start the process of replacing it with an EHCP.

There are two advantages to having an EHCP over a Statement:

  1. If your child has any other health issues, they’ll be covered by a single document, which should simplify things.
  2. Unlike a Statement, which covers a person until they reach 19, an EHCP can cover them up to the age of 25 if they’re in further education (that is, college – not university, which is higher education) or training.

If your child has a Statement, it’ll be transferred to an EHCP at some point between now and April 2018. Until that transfer goes through, the old Statement still applies.

How do you  make the transfer?

To transfer to an EHCP, your local authority has to carry out a transfer review. The process falls into three stages.

Step 1. Being informed

Your local authority must invite your child or young person and their head teacher to the review meeting, and give you at least two weeks’ advance notice. This review will replace the annual review you would otherwise have had for your child’s Statement.

Step 2. A needs assessment

Your local authority has to carry out an Education, Health and Care assessment of your child or young person's needs within 14 weeks and they do not have the right to ask for advice on a subject where there’s already advice available, or to question the diagnosis the Statement records.

Step 3. Concluding the transfer review

After they’ve carried out the assessment, the local authority has to decide whether your child or young person needs an EHCP. If they decide that they do, they have to send it to you for your comments.

What if my local authority says we don’t need an EHCP?

They have to notify you of this decision, and also to inform you about your right to appeal. If you decide to appeal, the rules about meeting your child’s needs laid down in the Statement will continue to apply until the appeal is concluded.

However, it’s unlikely to go that far: statutory guidance says that no one should lose their Statement or not be transferred to an EHCP just because the system is changing. The legal requirement for an EHCP is the same as it was for a Statement, so it’s expected that everyone who has a Statement will have an EHCP.

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