I am a parent of a child with SEN and also an independent supporter. Our local authority is saying any child with a statement who wants to move from mainstream to special needs to transfer to an EHCP first. This is upsetting parents because it's often taking them a while to accept that mainstream isn't working and then the change is held up by the EHCP transfer process. The problem is, I've been unable to find it written anywhere to say this is absolutely necessary. We have some children on reduced timetables and literally just being managed in mainstream school while this goes ahead and I'm just wondering if this is something I can challenge.
It appears the LA is adhering to the Transfer Guidance Sept (2015),
4.12 Between 1 September 2015 and 31 March 2018, local authorities must transfer children and young people with statements of SEN to the new arrangements:
- in year 9;
- when leaving youth custody; and
- prior to them moving from:
- relevant early years settings to school (including where the child remains at the same institution),
- infant to junior school,
- primary to middle school,
- primary to secondary school,
- middle to secondary school,
- school (including school sixth forms) to a post-16 institution or an apprenticeship,
- mainstream school to special school, or
- special school to mainstream school.
However, what’s concerning is, if the LA has acknowledged the child or young person requires a special school, they should start the process, consult with parents and allow the child or young person to start the school as soon as possible to reduce the anxiety for all involved. Reduced timetables are not an option and not a long term solution. In fact, they should be avoided where possible. We know that LAs are struggling to adhere to the 20-week deadline, keeping a child or young person at home is only going to exacerbate the situation.
Another positive for moving the child or young person within the process is that the new school can contribute to the short and long term outcomes and write a legal and meaningful EHC plan.
As you are an Independent Supporter, I would definitely organise a meeting with the SEN department to share the concerns of the parents as soon as possible.