Transferring from a statement to an EHC plan
New legislation requires local authorities to replace all statements of SEN with Education Health and Care (EHC) plans by April 2018.
The conversion will normally be done in the year before your child starts school; moves on to junior school (Y2) or secondary school (Y6); or enters further education (Y11-Y13). Students in Y9 must also have their statements converted.
The conversion process
The first thing you hear about the conversion will probably be a letter from the local authority (LA) requesting your permission to share information about your child with the health service. It’s important that you respond to this – if you don’t, important health information (e.g. paediatrician’s reports) may not be included in your child’s EHC plan!
Next, your child’s school will contact you to arrange a Transfer Review Meeting. This meeting will be held at school in place of the annual review meeting. Its purpose is to convert your child’s statement into an EHC plan. The school should ask you which professionals should be invited to the meeting.
The school will give you two forms to fill in:
- The usual annual review form which asks you for your views on your child’s progress over the past year, what they still find difficult, and what you think their next targets should be.
- A “person-centred” form to capture your child’s aspirations, their likes and dislikes, and how they want to be supported. This information will form the basis of the EHC plan, and will be used to create a one-page profile with essential information about your child. You may want to complete this form together with your child and/or your child’s teacher, teaching assistant or SENCO.
You then receive a letter from the LA giving you formal notice of the transfer review, and confirming the date and time of the transfer review meeting. You must be given at least two weeks’ notice.
- Tell the SEN Assessment and Placement Team* if you think that any of the assessment reports on which the statement is based (e.g. reports from Educational Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, Autism Team) are out of date, or if new needs have come to light which have not yet been fully investigated. The LA must then seek new advice. Services have six weeks to respond.
- If you have any private assessment reports which you think would be useful, submit them as well.
- If you gave permission for the LA to share information with the health service, any health professionals who have had involvement with your child in the previous 12 months will be invited to the transfer review meeting and asked to produce a report. If you want older health reports to be considered, tell the LA now.
- If your child is aged 16 or over, the LA will write to them directly. If you think your child lacks mental capacity to make decisions in relation to their EHC plan, you should inform the LA. Let them know if you want to act as your child’s representative.
- A free service called “Independent Support” is available to help you through the conversion process. In Sheffield, this is provided by a company called Core Assets*.
- Alternatively, you can also ask SENDIAS* (a council-run service, formerly known as Parent Partnership) for information, advice and support.
The transfer review meeting
The transfer review meeting will normally be held at school and should be attended by the parents, the child or young person, an officer from the LA, relevant professionals and school staff. You can ask a friend, family member, personal assistant or other professional to accompany you. The meeting will normally be chaired by someone from the school, usually the SENCO.
Most of the transfer review meeting will be spent recording everyone’s views about four key topics, using the information that has been put together and brought to the meeting:
- what your child’s strengths and interests are;
- what helps them at the moment and what support is working or may be needed;
- what you and your child want their future to be like, what kind of life you aspire them to live;
- the key outcomes or things you want to change to make those aspirations become a reality.
If your child is in Y9 or above, the meeting must also cover planning for adulthood.
You must be asked if you would like a personal budget. A personal budget gives you an overview of the money allocated to your child through the EHC plan. You can ask to receive some or all of this money as a direct payment, and purchase the provision yourself (subject to certain restrictions). More information about personal budgets
The SENCO will need to check they have all the information they need to send back to the LA.
Writing the EHC plan
The LA officer writes a draft EHC plan and sends it to you and your child’s school. You then have 15 calendar days to request amendments and to tell the LA which setting (nursery, school or college) you want your child to attend. An LA officer must meet with you if you request this. If you have requested amendments, the LA will normally send you a revised draft of the plan. The LA aims to issue all draft plans before Christmas (except for those in Y9, whose draft plans will be issued in the spring).
- At this point, the LA can ONLY make changes requested by you – they can’t change anything else in the text.
- Contact Core Assets* if you’d like an independent supporter to check the draft plan for you.
- You may want to check the draft plan against:
– a checklist published by IPSEA
– guidance published by the Department for Education
– Sheffield City Council’s own guidance for plan writers
– examples of good practice published by the Council for Disabled Children
The LA then finalises the EHC plan and sends it to you/your young person, the school and the professionals involved. The final EHC plan must be issued within 20 weeks of the start of the transfer review process, or within the statutory timescales for children at stages of transition, whichever is earlier. The statutory deadlines are:
- 15 February for children due to move from infant to junior school (Y2) and primary to secondary school (Y6), and
- 31 March for young people due to transfer from secondary school to further education (Y11, Y12 and Y13).
The EHC plan is then implemented. This means that the LA must arrange the special educational provision described in section F, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group must arrange the health provision described in section G, and the setting named in section I must admit your child. Just like a statement, an EHC plan must be reviewed at least annually.
If you are not happy
If you are not happy with the education sections of final plan (sections B, F and I), you have the right to appeal to the SEN and Disability First-Tier Tribunal*. You must do this within two months of the date of the final EHC plan. More information about tribunal appeals
If you are unhappy with the health or social care sections of the plan (sections C, D, G, H1 and H2), you need to use the complaints procedures of these services.
It is best to try and resolve any issues while your child’s EHC plan is still at the draft stage. SENDIAS* can support you with this, or you may want to use an independent disagreement resolution service (currently provided by Collis Mediation Ltd.*).
*Contact details of services mentioned in this article
SENDIAS: tel. 0114 273 6009, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Core Assets: tel. 0800 028 8455, email ISreferrals@coreassets.com
SEN Assessment and Placement Team: tel. 0114 273 6394, email email@example.com
SEN and Disability First-Tier Tribunal: tel. 01325 289 350, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Collis Mediation: Ltd. tel. 07715 958 290, email email@example.com