|SOS!SEN offers a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs (SEN). They concentrate on helping people to find their way through the legal and procedural maze which is so daunting to so many who try to obtain satisfactory provision for their child’s special needs. The helpline number is 03003 023731, Monday-Friday during term time.
They also have monthly drop in advice centres in some areas during term time (one of which is at The Games Shop, 6 Wellington Street, Aldershot, GU11 1DZ , from 10.15am-12.15pm generally second Tuesday each month – next one is 9 February) and they produce information sheets on many subjects. They also offer small ‘hands-on’ workshops to help parents prepare appeals to the SEN Tribunal and have set up a ‘Document Check and Drafting Service’. For more information, please click here to visit their website.
The statutory deadline for transfer from Learning Disability Assessments to Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is 1st September 2016 and for transition from statements to EHCP is 1st April 2018. LAs should by now have contacted the parents of all children with statements to let them know when they could expect to be transferred, and also put the relevant information on their websites. The law requires that LAs carry out a full reassessment of children’s needs as part of the transition process, and allows 18 weeks for that purpose. The only exception to this is where the LA, parents (or young person if over 16) and the original experts agree that reports drawn up previously are still suitable. A number of LAs are ignoring this requirement or failing to ask parents whether they consent to older reports being reused. Therefore if you have any concerns that your child’s needs should be properly reassessed before an EHCP is drawn up, you should insist on this. If your child is due to move to a new phase of education in September 2016, this means that reassessment should have started already. If you have not heard anything from your LA about this, SOS!SEN strongly advise you to contact your LA NOW. If you have any concerns, get in touch sooner rather than later through SOS!SEN helpline, advice centres, 1:1 booking service and workshops.