Changes are on the way for families in Calderdale requiring support for their children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).
The Government is set to change the way disabled children and young people with SEN are supported, from as soon as next year. In 2011 the Support and Aspiration Green Paper was launched, outlining the changes the Government wanted to make to the system, before it recruited 20 pathfinders to test their ideas - of which Calderdale was one. These changes have now been included in the Children and Families Bill which is currently going through Parliament and is expected to become law in September 2014. The key differences are to the current statement of special educational needs and the learning disability assessment which will be replaced by a single Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan for children and young people from birth to 25. Local authorities will have to publish a local offer which provides information on support for disabled children and young people across health, education and social care. And families with an EHC plan will have the option of a personal budget to provide more choice and control over the support they receive. In terms of the EHC plan itself, it will still have a statutory educational aspect to it, just like the statement, which local authorities have to deliver. Assessment can still be requested by families, and the new system will still list the setting the child will attend. The EHC plan will also provide statutory protections for young people aged up to 25 - if they are in education - that are not currently provided by a learning disability assessment. It will also focus on the child or young person achieving outcomes, and will be completed in 20 weeks - a shorter period than the current statement process which takes 26 weeks.