In an email that came flying our way via the local parent forum, North Yorkshire has announced it will implement the SEN reforms this coming spring (2014), well before the Government anticipates getting the legislation onto the books (around September 2014) and well before the Code of Practice and law have been agreed.
North Yorkshire is a pathfinder authority meaning it has been trialling changes - around Education Health and Care Plans and the Local Offer- for some time. However, as we currently understand the situation, parents must be given a choice as to whether they opt for an EHC Plan as opposed to a statement, can request an EHC Plan be converted to a statement at any time, and the local authority must retain all the legal entitlements for those families wishing to trial the new plans. It is not clear to us how North Yorkshire intends to meet these requirements if parents will be forced into the new regime before the legal underpinnings and Code of Practice are in place.
The reason this is so important is that the current legislation and case law provides a great number of legal safeguards and protections for parents and children, including the right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal, whereas the new regime has no legal basis and leaves parents exposed without these protections eg no appeal to the Tribunal.
Email reproduced in full:
North Yorkshire County Council
Conference for Services
The biggest change in special education in 30 years: Preparing for the Children and Families Act 2014 Friday 7th February 2014 at Harrogate Pavilions
Please book via the Learning Zone; https://www6.northyorks.gov.uk/LZCS
Search for the Event Code “SE00101PH/AI” or search for “30 years”
(NB there are two dates. The Friday is for practitioners, and the Saturday is for parents and young people)
In 2014 the law on how we assess and plan for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will change significantly. It has (legal) implications for all those who work with SEND in education, health and social care.
As a national pathfinder trialling the new developments, North Yorkshire will implement these new procedures in spring 2014 ahead of the legislation. This is the launch conference for that with national and local speakers and a range of practical workshops
If you work in any sort of education setting or support service from early years to further education, or in social care, or in health, or through the voluntary sector with children and young people from birth to 25 years who have SEN or disabilities then you will have something to learn.
It will cover:
• What the new law says and what it means for families, young people, and for education, health and care services
• How an Education Health and Care Plan is different from a statement of special educational needs
• Who can request a personal budget or direct payment and what does that mean for existing services
• What the Local Offer is, how it can be accessed and how you can contribute to it
• What we mean by person centred planning and how it involves families and professionals
• How we will prepare young people for adulthood and whose responsibility this is
• How delegated education budgets will be used to best effect in supporting young people with SEND
• How we will resolve disputes with families
At the end of the conference, you will…
• Have a better understanding of what the new law means for you as a professional working with this group of young people with SEND
• Have seen an education, health and care plan and heard about how we intend to do assessments and planning in the future
• Have heard about personal budgets and direct payments and what they might be spent on
• Have seen the Local Offer and where to find information about services in North Yorkshire for young people with SEND
• Have heard some examples of young adults with SEND who are employed and living independently
If you have any queries, please telephone (01609) 533454.
Details of North Yorkshire conference here.