Transferring Statements Of SEN To EHCPs – Missing The Deadline And What You Can Do
The April deadline for Local Authorities to transfer Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) to Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) is looming.
Samantha Hale, Associate Education and Community Care Solicitor, looks at the progress of transferring a pupil's SEN onto a EHCP, and how this can be challenged if your child still has a statement of SEN that has not been transferred over by the April 1st 2018 deadline.
What Must Local Authority’s Do By April 1st?
Since September 2014, Local Authorities have been transitioning pupils with Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA) and Statements of SEN to Education, Health and Care Plans. The deadline for transferring pupils with LDAs to EHCP has now passed, with the focus now switching to transferring those who have Statements of SEN to EHCP’s, which should be done by April 1st 2018.
Is This Possible?
Statistics produced by the Department for Education in January 2017 confirm that 175,233 children/young people had EHCPs and 112,057 had Statements of SEN.
In January 2017, a staggering 39% of children/young people still had a Statement which needed to be transitioned to an EHCP by April 1st 2018. Given that it had taken close to 2.5 years to transition over 61% of pupils, some of which will be new to the SEN system and therefore will not have transitioned to their EHCP from a Statement, we are not confident that all 112,057 of pupils left with Statements will transition to an EHCP in the short time left from when these statistics were gathered.
What Is The Legal Status Of The SEN Statement If The Deadline Is Missed?
Any remaining Statements from April 1st will continue to have the same legal status as they currently have, under the Education Act 1996.
This means that for young people who are transferring to a Further Education College in September 2018, or where the young person turns 19, the Statement will be ceased. This would not be the case if they had an EHCP.
What Can I Do If My Child's SEN Is Not Transitioned By The Deadline?
If the child/young person is continuing to receive the provision set out in their Statement but they are not due to transfer to a Further Education College or turn 19, you might decide you do not want to challenge the Local Authority’s failure to transition them to an EHCP by the April 1st deadline.
However, most people want EHCPs in place as soon as possible due to the benefits they offer:
- EHCPs can cover provision up to the age of 25, so long as they stay in education or training, excluding Higher Education
- They offer provision in Further Education Colleges
- They include Health and Social care
- They offer the ability to have a personal budget
If a child/young person doesn’t transition to an EHCP by the April 1st deadline, you can make a complaint to the Local Authority and then the Local Government Ombudsman if the matter is not resolved. Alternatively, this could be challenged legally through Judicial Review.
Before challenging through a Judicial Review, it is important to first contact an Education solicitor. A trained professional can assist you in sending the Local Authority a 'Letter Before Claim', which is a legal letter setting out your case.
Local Authorities must respond to this within 14 days. In the majority of cases, a Letter Before Claim will resolve the matter without the need to go to Court.
How Can Simpson Millar Help Me?
If your child/young person doesn’t transition from a Statement to an EHCP by April 1st 2018, contact our specialist education law team on our freephone number found below, or by using our online enquiry form.
We can help you draft and send out your Letter Before Claim correctly, as well as answer any questions you may have about SEN statements, EHCPs or Education Law.