Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessments, Plans and Annual Reviews

Can I still apply for an EHC Assessment?

Yes parents and carers can still apply for EHC Assessments. However, it may be difficult for the school/college, the Education Psychology Team and health colleagues to complete the assessments required to be submitted with the application due to capacity issues whilst services are focussing on the frontline response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The temporary changes to the law means that where it is not possible for the EHC Team to reach a decision about whether to proceed with an assessment because of missing assessment information or any other reason associated with the outbreak, then the Council is required to complete the process as soon as reasonably practicable.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442917.

You can read the latest government guidance on the gov.uk website.

What will happen if my child's EHC Assessment is under way?

Warrington Borough Council's EHC Team are continuing to complete EHC Assessments and produce EHC Plans as best they can.

The temporary changes to the law means that where it is not possible for the EHC Team to complete the assessment within the statutory timescale, because they are waiting on advice from health colleagues or any other reason associated with the outbreak, then the Council is required to complete the process as soon as reasonably practicable.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442917.

The latest government guidance is the gov.uk website.

Will my child's EHC Plan still be issued?

Where it is possible for the EHC Team to complete the EHC Plan then it will be issued. In some cases, with your agreement, a plan may be finalised and then any missing information will be inserted once it is available.

The temporary changes to the law means that where it is not possible for the EHC Team to issue your child's EHC Plan, because of any reason associated with the outbreak, then the Council will issue it as soon as reasonably practicable.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442917.

Read the latest government guidance on the gov.uk website.

Will my child still have an Annual Review?

Warrington Borough Council is working with schools/colleges, health colleagues and care providers to complete as many Annual Reviews as possible. However, due to the availability of staff it is not always possible to complete the Annual Reviews in a meaningful way. This means that your child's school/college may contact you to either postpone the Annual Review meeting and/or discuss with you on the phone your child's progress.

The temporary changes to the law means that partners will try to reconvene the meeting as soon as reasonably practicable if it is postponed, in line with the changes to the law.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442917.

The latest government guidance is on the gov.uk website.

If I am involved in a mediation will the meeting still go ahead?

Mediation meetings will still go ahead either by telephone and where technology allows by video conferencing.

If I have an appeal in progress with the SEND Tribunal, will this still go ahead?

The SEND Tribunal has confirmed that hearings will be on paper or by telephone (and, where the technology permits, by video) starting on Monday 23 March 2020.  

With these measures, it is expected that there should be no need to adjourn hearings if the parties are ready to go ahead, even though they may not be able to take place in person. 

Read further guidance on how telephone and video hearings will be used during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Education

Can my child still go to school/college if they have an EHC Plan?

For pupils with an EHC Plan, nurseries, schools and colleges have completed a risk assessment to decide whether their needs can be met safely at home; or they should be attending school/college. Where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHCP will be safer at home, they should stay at home and where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHCP will be as safe or safer at an education setting, the recommendation is that they attend the education setting.

All schools in Warrington are still open and offering places to children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. This includes children with a social worker and those with an EHC Plan up to the age of 25 years.

Schools/colleges should have contacted you to discuss the risk assessment with you. This risk assessment considers the following issues for children and young people with special educational needs and or disabilities: 

  • The health of the child including any underlying conditions which may put the child at high risk of developing complications if they were to contract COVID-19.
  • The risk to the child if some or all elements of their EHC plan cannot be delivered in the normal manner or in the usual setting.
  • The impact of the changes to the child's routine on their overall wellbeing.
  • The ability of the child's parent(s)/carer(s) to meet their needs safely at home.

Read the latest government guidance on the gov.uk website.

Do I have to send my child to school/college?

The advice from government is clear:

  • Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
  • If your child has a social worker, they will work with you to assess the best option for your child.
  • If you child has an EHC Plan, the school/college should have contacted you to discuss your child's risk assessment.

You can find more details on the gov.uk website.

What if my child has an underlying health condition?

If your child has an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk of developing complications if they contract COVID-19.

The government has advised that children, young people and adults with underlying health conditions should stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact. This means not leaving the house for any reason.

You will have received a letter from child's GP, consultant or NHS England if your child's underlying health condition means that they should be 'shielding'. The government is currently advising households to shield until the end of June and is regularly monitoring this position.

Get more details about which groups should be shielding and how to get help and support whilst staying at home.

What if I'm a critical worker?

Parents and carers whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response will be given a place at their school. This includes workers who are essential in the effort to manage this crisis, including those working in: 

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • National and local government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

Only one parent needs to be working in any of the above areas to qualify for a place. The latest government guidance can be found on gov.uk

What support will I get from the school/college if my child has to stay at home?

The learning support your child receives will depend on the school/college they attend. Some schools/colleges in Warrington are providing an online offer and others will have sent home learning resource packs. Some schools/colleges are offering a mix of the two. If your child has an EHC Plan and the risk assessment has determined that your child must remain at home, your school/college will have put in place arrangements to maintain regularly contact with yourself and/or your child so that they can check on their progress and any changes of circumstances.

The Department for Education has also published an initial list of resources to support parents and carers access to high quality remote education during school closures:

Oak Academy have developed resources for SEND pupils and have targeted support at pupils attending SLD and MLD schools.

If you need to discuss your child's home learning and any additional support you need please contact your child's school/college.

What type of education will my child receive if they go to school/college?

Someone from your child's school/college should have been in touch with you if they have been identified as having the option of a school/college place. As part of this they should have explained what the offer for them may look like as this may be different to what they are used to. This may result in your child being taught by someone who is unfamiliar to them (as not all staff will be available to work), or in a different classroom or part of the building. They may also not be following their timetable /curriculum.

Some aspects of the law have been changed temporarily to give councils, health bodies and education settings more flexibility around arranging the provision described in their EHC Plan. More information is provided below.

Will the provision described in my child's EHC Plan still be delivered?

The changes to law mean that where the council is, because of the outbreak, unable to put in place the provision described in your child's EHC Plan we must now use our 'reasonable endeavours' to support their needs This may result in your child's provision being different from what is set out in their current EHC Plan. For example, the school/college may provide home learning resource packs, online learning and/or telephone support. This legal change has initially been put in place from the 1 to 31 May 2020 and may be extended.

The latest government guidance can be found on the gov.uk website.

What if my circumstances change and I need a school/college place?

If your circumstances change and young think you need a school/college place for your child you must contact your child's school/college to discuss this with them.

If you or your child are struggling to cope then please contact your allocated worker if you have one. You can also contact Warrington Borough Council directly - there are a range of support services that we can put you in touch with and help that we can offer you.

Education Services telephone:  01925 442211 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)

Education Services email: education@warrington.gov.uk

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub Telephone: 01925 444140

When will schools/colleges fully reopen for all children and young people?

The government has yet to announce when schools/colleges will fully reopen.

My child is due to move school/college in September 2020, what will happen?

If your child is due to start in Reception or move from primary to secondary school they should have received a letter from Warrington Borough Council naming the school. The school should also be named in your child's EHC Plan.

For those moving from secondary school to college, colleges will be in touch once further information is released from the government about when they can reopen.

The council is currently working with all school/college leaders in Warrington to develop arrangements which will support children to successfully take their next step in education in September 2020.

More information will be provided to parents and carers by your child's new school/college.