Practical Legal Advice from a
Specialist Education Law Solicitor

0333 772 9763
0773 666 9961

Education Health and Care Plans

2014 was a year of great change. Statements of Special Educational Need are no more. Some things change, but some remain the same. The Local Authoirty (LA) still retain responsibility for assessing the educational needs of the child and is responsible for provision in the Plan. There is a new 20 week deadline for assessment and appeals against decisions must be lodged with the tribunal withn 2 months.

However, there are now duties on Health that are obligatory. There is the expectation that Health and the LA will resolve matters of provision between themselves. There are duties on health to assess and deliver health needs are connected with educational provision. Social Care needs are also to be assessed and included in any plan if they are relevant to educational provision. 

Mediation and dispute resolution take on a new importance. Carers, parents and and young people (YP) have a right to use these methods to resolve issues without the need for complaints, tribunals, court claims and to get the right provision in place. 

Current Statements will be subject to transitional arrangements and reviews. However much stays the same, but there are some very significant changes. The age range for a statement is now 0-25 years. There is specific protection at the point of transition from children to adult services, from nursery to primary school, primary to secondary school. 

Parental views must be taken into account, the child or YP voice must be heard. Being part of the assessment and review process also means that these view, opinions and evidential support will have to be fully considered. The Code specifies that the information put forward by parents must be circulated amongst all parties to the assessment - which may well prove to be of critical importance. Privately obtained expert reports must be included for consideration. 

Annual review, time frames and good management are enshrined in the Code. No assessment should take more than 20 weeks from start to finish. Everyone involved with the YP must provide information within a tight deadline. LAs retain responsibility for assessment and delivery of services set out in the plan - there is an expectation that the LA. Health and other third parties resolve disputes about service provision between themselves and ensure that in the interim there is not a negative impact on children and YPs. 

The right to request an assessment, to challenge a refusal and to seek a specific school are maintained within the new Code. Specific needs, provision, assistance, aids and service requirements all need to be set out. Details of these must be shared, parents and YP must be given a chance to comment, challenge and request a review. 

Assessments, reviews, challenges and general advice and support around all of these issues will be so very different in every case. Having dealt with so many cases where children have complex needs, multiple diagnoses (or no confirmed diagnosis) physical, psychological or psychiatric needs means I understand that every child deserves a right to a full, proper consideration of what is needed for them. 

How can I help? 

I offer advice and support in respect of:-

  •  Transition from a Statement to and EHCP
  • Ensuring that needs are properly assessed and recorded
  • Challenges to refusals to assess for an EHCP
  • Planning and delivery of appropriate services
  • Negotiation with LAs, schools and health
  • Preparation and in some cases attending meetings with professionals
  • Complaining about poor service, assessment for a failure to deliver
  • Annual Reviews and other multi agency meetings
  • The contents of any EHCP
  • Tackling delay in the process
  • Local Government Ombudsman Complaints
  • Tribunal and Court Hearings

I work in partnership with parents, carers and young people to make sure that their views are heard. I am pragmatic and realistic in approach and do everything to give the best chance for a positive outcome

Please do give me a call if you think I could help. An initial free, no obligation consultation can sometimes be enough to push matters forward.