When do the new SEND rules apply to us?
My local authority case officer has pretty much told me that until I have an EHCP, that the new Children and Families Act doesn't apply to us. My son's papers are being submitted to the panel for secondary placement consideration and I've been told I cannot make a choice for a school on the SOS approved list until we have been transferred to an EHCP. Are either of these correct please?
The point in time when part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 starts to apply to your son depends on where you are in the process. If he has a statement and is not yet being transitioned into the new system (i.e. if on secondary transfer he is going to get an amended statement and not an EHC plan) then it is still the Education Act 1996 which applies to your son.
If however he is being transitioned now then:
- The new law will apply to the conduct of the EHC needs assessment which is an essential part of the process of transition;
- When a draft EHC plan is sent to you the C & F Act 2014 will apply, i.e. you will have rights under the C & F Act 2014 to make representations about the plan, request a meeting with the LA and request a type of school/college(mainstream or special for example) and the actual school/college you would like named in section I. (When you get to that point you are not confined to making a choice from the SOS approved list – you can request any school/college you think suitable is named in the EHC plan. What law applies when then deciding whether they will name it will depend on the type of placement you are requesting. At this point please read the resources on the IPSEA website and call us for individual advice.
- Then when the EHC plan is finalised the statement will be replaced by the EHC plan and it is the new law which will apply.