The law says that final EHC plans for pupils due to move from infants to juniors, and from primary to secondary school, must be issued by 15 February. Sheffield City Council have advised us that they will not be able to comply with this deadline in all cases. They are, however, trying to keep families informed of progress, and to preempt issues which caused a lot unnecessary anxiety last year (particularly the automatic issuing of mainstream allocation letters to families who had applied for, and been granted, a specialist placement).
Sheffield City Council have sent us the following statement:
“Sheffield City Council is working hard to ensure that final EHC Plans are sent to families by the statutory deadline of 15th February naming the school that their child will start at in September 2016. We expect to have issued your final EHC Plan by the end of Monday 15th February.
If we are not able to issue your final EHC Plan, we will be writing to you today (15th February) to let you know the current position. If you have already expressed a preference for a school, the letter will confirm that the place has been agreed unless there are any specific questions we have about your preference. If you are still considering your draft Plan and have not yet told us your final decision about which school you want your child to attend, the letter will let you know that a place has been reserved at the school you have already been talking to us about. There are a number of different letters that will be sent today:
– Final EHC Plans: Where your EHC Plan has been finalised, it will be sent today naming the school you requested, unless there have been any specific questions about your choice.
– Almost Final EHC Plans: There are a few cases where parents have returned the draft EHC Plan to us and told us their choice of school but we are still agreeing the final details with parents or the school. We will try and resolve these cases by telephone and issue a final EHC Plan, naming the requested school.
– Draft EHC Plans with Schools: In some cases, parents have agreed the draft EHC Plan with us and have told us their choice of school but we are still agreeing with the school details of how the child’s support will be provided. Parents will get a letter saying that these conversations are still taking place but that the place they have requested has been secured and their final Plan will be with them shortly.
– Draft EHC Plans still with parents: Some parents have not yet had 15 days to consider their draft EHC Plans. In these cases, parents will get a letter saying a place at the school they have been talking to us about has been reserved, subject to them expressing a final preference when they respond to the draft EHC Plan. Parents still have the right to express a preference for a school of their choice and are not required to only confirm the school that will be mentioned in the letter.
– Exceptional Cases: There are a small number of Plans where further conversations are necessary. Parents will receive individual letters in these cases, letting them know the latest position.
In all cases, the letters will confirm that this is the process through which their school place is agreed and they should not receive further letters from the Schools Admissions Team. The duty SEN Team are available all week if any parent is concerned about their EHC Plan or the content of the letter, or were expecting to receive a letter but one does not arrive.”