SEND Support and the Graduated Approach
Liverpool has introduced the SEND Graduated Approach Handbook which guides educational settings on the expectations and guides them on how to identify, plan and deliver support and provision to meet needs of children and young people as stated in the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years and our expectations when working with parent/carer’s and children/young people in a person-centred approach. The Handbook should not be read in its entirety but in sections when support is needed.
Thank you to Liverpool Parents and Carers (LivPaC) and SEND Crisis for their role and feedback in the creation of our Graduated Approach Handbook.
See link 'Liverpool's SEND Graduated Approach' in the Downloads section
Schools and settings are expected to provide or source the support outlined in the handbook. This might include small group support, support from external agencies such as SENISS , Educational Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy or some financial support as part of the High Needs Top-Up funding system (information for schools can be accessed here schoolimprovementliverpool.co.uk).
Schools are required to work in partnership with parents, young people and external agencies in delivering this support and are required to follow the ‘assess, plan, do, review cycle’ before implementing or adapting support. This means that schools should ‘assess’ the child’s needs, ‘plan’ how best to meet those needs, ‘do’ by implementing the plan for the agreed amount of time and ‘review’ by considering the impact of the plan before making a new plan and beginning the cycle again. Further information regarding the assess, plan, do, review cycle can be found in the chapters of the SEND Graduated Approach Handbook.
The person who will take the lead in coordinating support for children with SEND is the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator). Every school is required to have a SENCO with day-to-day responsibility for the operation of SEN policy and the co-ordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils with SEN. The SENCO provides professional guidance to colleagues and works closely with staff, parents and other agencies. The SENCO should therefore be the main point of contact for parents who have concerns regarding their child’s SEND.
The key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:
- overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
- co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
- liaising with the relevant Designated Teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
- advising on the graduated approach to providing SEN support
- advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
- liaising with parents of pupils with SEN
- liaising with early years providers, other schools, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals, and independent or voluntary bodies
- being a key point of contact with external agencies, especially the local authority and its support services
- liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a pupil and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
- working with the headteacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements
- ensuring that the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date
Requesting an EHC Needs Assessment
SEN support should be adapted or replaced depending on how effective it has been in achieving the agreed outcomes. Where, despite the setting/school having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the SEN of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress, the setting/school or parents should consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. To inform its decision the local authority will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the setting/school as part of SEN support.
The following people have a specific right to ask a local authority to conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:
- the child’s parent
- a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25, and
- a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)
In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary.
Forms to support with requesting an EHC needs assessment can be found below. Forms should be sent to email@example.com
Considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary
Following a request for an EHC needs assessment, or the child or young person having otherwise been brought to its attention, the local authority must determine whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary. The local authority must make a decision and communicate the decision to the child’s parent or to the young person within 6 weeks of receiving the request.
Parents and professionals may be contacted for additional information to help inform the decision.
If the decision is made not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
If the decision is made not to carry out an EHC needs assessment, parents and schools will be contacted with reasons why.
Additionally, contact will be made by the Special Educational Needs Inclusion Support Service (SENISS) to give further advice and guidance at the SEN Support level.
If parents disagree with the decision, they are able to appeal against it and will be offered details of how to do this in their response letter from the EHCP Team.
The EHC needs assessment
An Education, Health and Care (“EHC”) needs assessment is an assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of the child or young person.
Who will carry out the assessment?
The local authority (“LA”) must seek information and advice on a child or young person’s needs, the provision required to meet those needs, and the outcomes expected to be achieved by the child or young person. This advice must come from a range of different people, described below.
The LA must seek advice from a range of people. The list is set out in Regulation 6(1) of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 (the “SEN Regs”):
- the child’s parent or the young person;
- educational advice (usually from the head teacher or principal);
- medical advice and information from a health care professional;
- psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist;
- advice and information in relation to social care;
- advice and information from any other person the local authority thinks appropriate;
- where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living; and
- advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.
What if there are existing reports or advice about the child or young person?
The LA must not seek further advice if such advice has already been provided (for any purpose) and the person providing the advice, the local authority and the child’s parent or the young person are all satisfied that it is sufficient for the assessment process. In making this decision, the local authority and the person providing the advice should ensure the advice remains current.
How long do advice givers have to respond to the LA’s request for advice and information?
Advice and information requested by the local authority must be provided within six weeks of the request, and should be provided more quickly wherever possible, to enable a timely process.
Once an EHC needs assessment is initiated, a SEND Casework Officer will be in contact with the parents and setting/school to offer a coproduction meeting.
Professionals who have contributed, or are due to contribute, to the EHC needs assessment are invited.
Coproduction meetings will last approximately 1-2 hours.
The meeting will focus on:
- Primarily, the views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or of the young person.
- Needs and Special Educational Provision (SEP) required to meet these needs, depending on what advice and information has been received at the time of the Coproduction Meeting. For example, if the meeting is held after the 6-week EHC needs assessment period, then all the advice and Information should be available to discuss.
- Outcomes that are expected to be achieved with the SEP in place.
- The parent’s or young person’s preference for placement.
- Personal Budgets
If the decision is made not to issue an EHC plan
Following the completion of an EHC needs assessment, if the local authority decides that an EHC plan is not necessary, it must notify the child’s parent or the young person, the early years provider, school or post-16 institution currently attended, and the health service and give the reasons for its decision. This notification must take place as soon as practicable and at the latest within 16 weeks of the initial request or of the child or young person having otherwise been brought to the local authority’s attention. The local authority must also inform the child’s parent or the young person of their right to appeal that decision and the time limit for doing so, of the requirement for them to consider mediation should they wish to appeal, and the availability of information, advice and support and disagreement resolution services.
If a Coproduction Meeting took place, the Coproduction Meeting Record will also be shared with the setting/school and the parents or young person.
The draft EHC plan
The local authority must send the draft EHC plan (including the appendices containing the advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment) to the child’s parent or to the young person and give them at least 15 days to give views and make representations on the content. During this period, the local authority must make its officers available for a meeting with the child’s parent or the young person on request if they wish to discuss the content of the draft EHC plan. When the local authority sends the draft EHC plan to the child’s parent or the young person the following apply:
- The local authority must notify the child’s parent or the young person that during this period they can request that a particular school or other institution, or type of school or other institution, be named in the plan. The draft plan must not contain the name of the school, maintained nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution or the type of school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person
- The local authority must advise the child’s parent or the young person where they can find information about the schools and colleges that are available for the child or young person to attend, for example through the Local Offer. Click here to find out more about local educational provision
The local authority should also seek agreement of any Personal Budget specified in the draft plan
Requesting a Personal Budget
A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.
The child’s parent or the young person has a right to request a Personal Budget, when the local authority has completed an EHC needs assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC plan. They may also request a Personal Budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC plan.
What sections should an EHC plan have?
Under Regulation 12 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 (the “SEN Regs”), an EHC plan must have the following sections:
- Section A: the views, interests and aspirations of the child and his parents or the young person;
- Section B: the child or young person’s special educational needs (“SEN”);
- Section C: health care needs which relate to their SEN;
- Section D: social care needs which relate to their SEN or to a disability ;
- Section E: the outcomes sought for the child or young person;
- Section F: the special educational provision required to meet their SEN;
- Section G: any health care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN;
- Section H: any social care provision required from social services under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and/or reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN;
- Section I: the name of the school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person, and the type of that institution (or just the type if no specific institution is named);
- Section J: details of any direct payment which will be made;
- Section K: copies of all of the advice and information obtained as part of the EHC needs assessment.
SEN Reg 12(3), and paragraph 9.63 of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice (the “Code”), state that where the child or young person is in or beyond Year 9, the EHC plan must also include the provision required by the child or young person to assist in preparation for adulthood and independent living, for example, support for finding employment, housing or for participation in society.
Finalising the EHC plan
The final EHC plan must be issued within a maximum of 20 weeks from the request for an EHC needs assessment.
A final EHC plan will name the type of school, college or other institution the child or young person will attend, and it will normally also have the name of a particular school or college. If a school, college or other institution is named in an EHC plan, it must admit the child or young person and put the educational provision in the EHC plan into place.
When a final EHC plan is issued the parent or young person has a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (the “SEND Tribunal”) if they are unhappy about any of the following:
- the description of a child or young person’s special educational needs;
- the special educational provision specified in the EHC plan; and/or
- the name/type of school or college in the EHC plan or the fact that no school/college is named.
All of these elements can be appealed either together or on their own.
Parents and young people can also pursue mediation as a way of resolving disagreements about any of the sections of the EHC plan (not just those listed above).
From April 2018, parents or young people will also be able to appeal the sections of the EHC plan which deal with health and social care. Changes can also be agreed to the health or social care parts of the EHC plan through mediation.
Changing an EHC Plan
Once an EHC plan is in place for a child or young person, it is unlikely to remain the same over time. As they grow up, it may become out of date, and they may move to a different school or college.
If the family moves to a different local authority (“LA”), the EHC plan will move with them, but the new LA might wish to make changes to the plan.
Additionally, at least once a year, the EHC plan should be reviewed by the LA, in collaboration with the setting, school or college, and working together with the parents or the young person (this is called an annual review).
Sometimes, it might be necessary to ask for an early review where it is necessary to change the EHC plan more urgently – for example, if a school placement has broken down.
If there is a significant change in the child or young person’s needs, then the parents or young person can ask for a re-assessment of the child or young person’s needs.
Reviewing an EHC Plan
Where a child or young person has an EHC plan, it must be reviewed at least once a year by the local authority (“LA”). This is to ensure it stays up-to-date and continues to provide the support the child or young person needs.
At the end of the review, there are only three decisions the LA can make:
- To maintain the EHC plan in its current format (not make any changes);
- To amend the EHC plan;
- To cease the EHC plan if they think it is no longer necessary for it to be in place.
The review process
The first review of the EHC plan must be held within 12 months of the EHC plan being finalised. Subsequent reviews must be held within 12 months of the previous review.
The following steps must take place in an annual review:
- Information must be gathered from parents and young people and from professionals about the EHC plan and then circulated two weeks before the meeting.
- An annual review meeting.
- After the meeting a report of what happened must be prepared and circulated to attendees and to the local authority (“LA”).
- After the meeting the LA considers the review report and decides whether to maintain, amend or cease the EHC plan.
- The LA must notify the parent of the child or young person of their decision within four weeks of the meeting.
For more information about Liverpool’s EHC plan review process please click on the link: EHC PLAN REVIEW PROCESS
Documents for settings/schools/colleges: