How a child or young person with special educational needs and disabilities can get the support and help they need.
Most young people will be able to access all of the help and support locally, from within their families and communities and from other services offered by the County Council, the health services, schools, early years settings, colleges, groups, organisations and charities. Some children and young people will have very complex needs which require complex arrangements. They will normally have these met through and Education, Health and Care Plan or an 'EHC Plan.' This EHC Plan allows young people to get the most out of their life. In England, Statements of Special Educational Needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments have now been replaced by the Education, Health and Care Plan.
In Gloucestershire we have a graduated pathway so that everyone gets the right support when they need it. We explain the pathway as a number of stages below.
Not every family will progress from stage one through to an EHC Plan. For the majority of families it will not be necessary to progress beyond stage one in order to access the right type of support and help.
Stage one: the local offer - Families and young people may require additional help and support.
Stage one introduces the family to the range of support and help in their local area. This support could be via education settings, health organisations or other services or activities ordinarily available in the community. It could also be a charity which provides advice and help, or a local support group of other families who meet regularly to share ideas. Some of these services or activities have been specifically set up for young people who have additional needs but they are available to everyone. Information about these supporting services or activities are available from this website, which is Gloucestershire's Local Offer.
The majority of children and young people will have their needs met through the local offer at stage one. An Education Health and Care Plan will not be necessary.
What is important for all children is to be able to share what matters to them, what they want to be able to do and the things that help and don’t help them to achieve. This is called My Profile. My Profile forms are available for all children and young people to use and they are a useful way to let people who are working with your child or young person know more about who they are and what is important to them. Information from My Profile is also helpful when searching the Local Offer for services and activities.
Stage two: My Plan
When a child or young person has special education needs or a disability that is effecting how they are doing, they may need a My Plan. My Plan uses information from ‘My Profile’ to put together an action plan to help your child or young person. My Plan is produced by someone who is working with your child together with you, the parent, and your child.
A review date is agreed to see what is working well and what might need changing. If things are working well, My Plan may end or it may be updated to continue until another review date. If a child or young person needs more help, then it is time to move on to stage 3.
Stage three: My Assessment and My Plan+
Sometimes a child or young person will need a group of professionals to work together and this is where My Plan+ helps. My Plan+ is written after a My Assessment and sets out more about what is going on in your child or young person’s life, including information from ‘My Profile’ and about their health, education and care. It shows how different people are working together to support your child or young person. This is sometimes called the Team Around the Child or Family (TAC/TAF) and this includes parents and family.
Like the previous stage, My Plan+ is checked regularly to see what is working well and what might need changing. If things are working well, My Plan+ may end or be updated.
Someone from the local authority SEN team may attend a My Plan+ review meeting if things don’t seem to be working well. This may result in some new ideas for moving forward or it may result in moving to stage 4.
Stage 4: Request for EHCP
When the family believes that their child’s needs are so complex and complex arrangements are required or highly specialist support is required it’s time to consider an EHC Plan. In most cases professionals working with a family will make a referral on their behalf.
At this stage, the family or professional makes a referral into a multi-agency team which is a group of people from Education, Health and Care services. This team will acknowledge the family’s or young person’s referral. The team will then look carefully at each request and decide what is available through the local offer and whether the young person is eligible for an EHC plan. After a decision has been made, the team will contact the family to explain what will happen next.
If the decision is yes, then stage 5 of the pathway will automatically be initiated. If the decision is no, the family and the 'Team Around the Child' will be sign posted to alternative sources of support.
Stage 5: My Story
If the young person is eligible for an EHC plan, the family will be asked to provide more information about the young person and their educational needs. The family and young person will be asked to think about what is working well in their situation and what could be made better, if support and resources were organised differently. These ideas will be included when putting the EHC Plan together.
At the same time professionals or the 'Team Around the Child' will be asked to provide information about the young person’s needs and what has already been put in to place to support the child or young person. All of this information will help to make the EHC plan.
Stage 6: My EHC Plan
Stage 6 introduces the EHC Plan. This document is produced by a team, with the child or young person at the centre, using information from ‘My Profile’. The family and professionals will co-produce the Plan. The content of the EHC Plan will be discussed at a multi-agency meeting. Parents and the young person will be invited to attend this meeting and contribute to the wording in the Plan.
The EHC Plan sets out what the child or young person will need to ensure they reach their goals and ambitions. The family will receive a written version of the Plan after the meeting.
At this stage, the family will decide how they want to manage the budget which comes with the EHC plan. The family may manage some of the funding themselves, in order to best access the support that the child or young person needs.
Now the EHC Plan has been finalised, the resources have been agreed and the family and their supporters are now ready to put the Plan into action. The resources aim to provide greater choice and control to enable the young person to work towards achieving the shared outcomes which have been agreed.
Stage 7: My Review
At least once a year, the family and professionals will be asked to review the EHC plan. A regular review keeps the child or young person’s Plan up to date and relevant.