When will the EHCP transfer start? Will it be better than a statement to fund ABA?

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Parent question

My son currently has a statement of needs issued in 2015 when he was in nursery. We applied in 2014 just before the EHCP was introduced. It entitles him to 35 hours of one to one support in school. at the moment he attends a mainstream school only for half days and does ABA therapy at home after that.

The school has advised that he will need a full review of the statement this year in November. that would require educational Psychologist input which I will have to pay for as school doesn’t have budget. I will also have to include his ABA consultants reports.

I want to know why he can't have an EHCP this year rather than next year which is what LA is saying. Also I want to understand if EHCP is going to be any better than statement? 

I am trying to do two things this year: one is to get him to repeat reception and secondly get some funding for ABA which we fund privately. Will going on EHCP help in any way in doing so?

Marguerite replies

Marguerite Answers

There is a timetable for the transition from statements to EHC plans. For details of the timetable, go to the IPSEA website for further information. When that transfer will happen in an individual case depends on your Local Authority’s Transition Plan. It will explain when they intend to carry out the transition for different groups of children and young people in their area. Departmental Advice from the Department for Education requires them to prioritise certain groups first.

You can ask the local authority to carry out the transition before their intended time but if they do not agree you cannot appeal against that decision. This is because the right to request an EHC needs assessment has been suspended for children with statements for the transition period.  However, you can still ask for a re-assessment under the Education Act 1996 (EA 1996) during the transition period; you can appeal if refused. 

Your review will be of his statement, and the rules are different to an EHCP. It is the duty of the local authority to review the statement. The EA 1996 is specific about the review’s main purpose: to look at how your son is progressing, and judge whether the statement is still appropriate, or needs to be amended or ceased.  The obligation to deliver the special educational provision is an absolute obligation on a local authority. If you feel the provision is not specific enough, that is a reason to request amendments to remedy that at the annual review. 

The annual review is all the actions taken by the local authority to formally review the continued applicability of the statement, including its decision after receiving the report of the meeting to maintain the statement as it is, to change it or cease it. Only when you are informed of that decision is the process complete, and this must take place within 12 months of the issue of the final statement or the completion of the previous annual review.  You can ask for the annual review to be held early if there are problems but the local authority does not have to agree, and refusal does not give you rights to appeal.

Before the meeting there are three steps with their own timeframes:

  1. Your local authority informs the head teacher which children/young people must be reviewed in the coming term.
  2. The head teacher or delegate request advice from all concerned
  3. The head teacher invites all concerned to the annual review meeting, circulating the advice obtained in step 2.

You mentioned that you need to obtain reports from the ABA tutor. From the steps above it’s clear it’s the head teacher or their delegate who must request/obtain written advice.

 It may be a good idea to take someone with you to the meeting to take notes.  The head teacher must send a report to the local authority no later than ten days of by the end of the term in which notice is given if earlier.  Under the EA 1996, it can be difficult to ensure the local authority issues their decision and relies on the process.  If the local authority fails to confirm their decision in writing, you can write to them requesting that the review is completed. IPSEA has a model letter on their website.

You do have a right to appeal if you the local authority decides not to amend the statement of ceases to maintain it.  If you decide to appeal, I would suggest you contact IPSEA Tribunal helpline for further information.