Schools will reopen following government guidance and they should run differently because of coronavirus.
Your child will be expected to attend if the school shows their needs can be safely met. But you will not be fined if you do not want your child to return. Keep checking for updates as this may change.
Legally, local authorities must still do EHC needs assessments even if this is hard for them. They must be completed within 6 weeks. The only reason allowed for a delay is if someone involved is unwell with coronavirus or at risk of spreading it.
If there are delays to your child's EHCP assessment, ask your local authority to explain why. Contact your SENDIASS if they do not give you an explanation.
SEN support normally comes before an EHC plan. If your child did not start school with an EHC plan, they will probably need to have SEN support for at least 2 terms before you can ask for an EHC needs assessment. This is called a ‘graduated approach’.
Example: Your child needs help with speech and language
The school writes a SEN plan with you. The plan includes regular support from a teaching assistant in a group. The assistant is guided by a speech and language therapist. The plan includes the difference that the support should make (outcomes).
The school has tried to support your child, but your child is not making the progress described in the plan. Your child needs specific help that the school cannot provide through SEN support.
After reviewing the SEN plan, your school agrees that your child is not making expected progress. The school helps you to apply for an EHC needs assessment. This leads to an EHC plan.
The EHC plan includes funding for a speech and language therapist. Each week they will spend:
1 hour giving ‘direct’ support to your child
1 hour giving ‘indirect’ support to your child’s teacher
Asking for an EHC needs assessment
To get an EHC plan, you will need to apply for an EHC needs assessment from the local authority. The local authority then decides if SEN support is enough to meet your child’s needs or if they need an EHC plan.
It is easier to get an EHC needs assessment if your school agrees. But if the school does not agree, you can still ask your local authority for an assessment.
Your child’s EHCP must have a formal annual review within 12 months of the final plan or the last review. The annual review is a way you can raise concerns or suggest changes if you’re not happy with the content of an EHC plan.
In some situations, you can ask the school and local authority for an early annual review. This can help you get significant changes to your child’s plan without waiting for the next annual review.