Should we ask for new assessments for my son’s EHCP transfer?
My son has a statement, we are going to transfer to an EHCP. The reports are old: OT, 5 years; Physio 10 years; Ed Psych 6 years. As my son is 17 and he will be transferring to adult services this year, I wanted a clear picture of all of his needs so I asked for new assessments at the beginning of the process so that all of the information would be on the table when all of the professionals met. I was told by SENDAR that this is not what the CoP says, it is not our LA's policy. I was told that the professionals at the Transfer Meeting would decide if reports were needed and that the paperwork from that meeting would trigger the reports.
I could understand if something new came to light during the meeting that that would happen, but these are clearly identified needs including some that led to the LA allowing him to be in an out of county school. Is this correct? What DOES the CoP say?
The transfer guidance states:
5.6 To transfer a child or young person from a statement of SEN to an EHC plan, a local authority must undertake a Transfer Review. This will require them to undertake an EHC needs assessment under section 36 of the 2014 Act.
5.1 The EHC assessment process will allow local authorities and families to work together to consider existing assessment information within the statement or LDA and what, if any, further assessment information is required.
Further assessments can be from all the professionals working with your son or service not working with him too. The professionals working with him should be providing written advice unless you, the local authority and the professional agree that the report is current and is appropriate. In seeking advice and information, the local authority should consider with professionals what advice they can contribute to ensuring the assessment covers all the relevant education, health and care needs of the child or young person. Please remember that a transition from a statement to a plan always involves an EHC needs assessment. A statement cannot simply be tipped into a plan. The EHC needs assessment is the essential feature of transition and it cannot be avoided or delegated by a local authority.
Article 20 provides that the C & F Act 2014 and the SEN Regs apply to an EHC needs assessment conducted as part of the transition in the same way as they do to an EHC needs assessment under the C & F Act 2014. This means that the law which applies to EHC needs assessments applies equally to transition, for example, the entitlement to ask for additional reports under SEN Reg 6 (1) (h) will apply – as will all of the other rights parents and young people have during an EHC needs assessment. There is an additional right which applies to transition which is the right to attend a meeting with an SEN officer and this is an addition to, not instead of, the rights parents and young people have to a meeting in respect of a draft EHC plan.
Have a think about your son’s area of need in terms of:
- Sensory & Physical or Health
- Cognition & Learning
- Communication & Interaction
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
As he is 17, you would expect to see the Preparing for Adulthood Outcomes, in the four areas; Employment, Education, Community Inclusion and Health. Chapter 9 of the CoP states reports older than a year old should not be used and his statement should have been reviewed annually. However, we know that many are not updated, often because, after a long, hard battle, parents do not want to risk having provision removed.