Welcome to frequently asked questions. These are questions that relate to the local offer and different areas of education, health and care. Hopefully we have the answers to your questions. If you  have a question and you can't find your answer please email us at: Local.Offer@dudley.gov.uk and we will get back to you with an answer.

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What is SEND? - FAQs
What is SEND?

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?

EHCPs have replaced Statements of Special Educational Need and Learning Difficulties Assessments where a transfer review and assessment determined that the child's or young person's needs require provision not normally available to their setting (that costs more than their notional budget can provide). The replacement programme must be completed by 31st March 2018.

The EHCP is a legal document describing a child/young person/their parents' or carers's wishes, feelings, aspirations and needs; the outcomes relevant to meet those needs; and the provision to meet those outcomes, along with a suitable educational placement. 

The EHCP must be person-centred, focusing on delivering the outcomes needed in order to achieve the aspirations set out in it.

An EHCP must describe educational outcomes and provision. It may also include outcomes and provision from health and/or Social Care Services if they are relevant to the successful achievement of the of the educational outcomes. Having an EHCP does not qualify the child or young person to receive a social care or health service for which they do not meet the threshold criteria.

EHCPs can continue on into further education and training and, for some young people, up to the age of 25 where outcomes have not yet been met and academic progress is evidenced. 

It is vital that children and young people and their parents/carers are actively engaged in the whole EHCP process. 

Who can have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?

All children or young people who currently have a Statement will have an EHC needs assessment (Transfer Review) in time for their document to be converted to an EHCP by 31st March, if the Local Authority decides this is necessary.

An EHCP should be issued when the Local Authority considers the special educational needs of a child or young person cannot reasonably be provided for with resources normally available to the education provider with whom they are, or will be, registered.

All transfer reviews and any subsequent EHCPs will be issued by 31 March 2018.

What help is there for children without an EHCP?

Schools have a notional SEN budget they can use to support your child's SEN. When a child receives support funded by the notional SEN budget, they are registered as being in receipt of SEN Support. SEN Support refers to a single category of support and it replaced the previous system of School Action and School Action Plus. Children on SEN Support do not have an EHC Plan. Only when the notional SEN budget is insufficient to your child's needs will it be necessary to request a statutory assessment.

The Local Offer describes the different types of support schools should be providing for these children and young people under the 'Education' headings. 

Children and young people can be eligible to receive support from social care services or continuing health care services without an EHCP.

SEN Support can be provided in many ways, e.g. through making modifications to the teaching content, delivery and materials; the provision of aids such as writing frames, visual prompts and specific vocabulary lists; or the use of personalised reward systems. 

My child does not have a Statement or an EHCP, nor is he/she receiving additional support in school/college but I believe he/she has special educational needs. What should I do?

If it concerns a particular subject, you should contact the school or college and arrange to speak to the appropriate class/subject teacher or tutor about your worries. They will discuss your child's progress rates and how well they are doing compared with the rest of the class.

If you are not reassured by this, you should state why and ask for a meeting with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or the Head of Learning Support. They will explain the school or college's systems for identification and assessment of SEN. You should ask them to reconsider whether they think your child meets the criteria for an internal assessment of needs. They should tell you what you can expect to happen next. Hopefully this will give you reassurance. If it doesn't, you should ask them for a copy of the school or college's procedure for escalating your concern.

You can contact Dudley SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service) if you would like some independent advice or support regarding your child's SEND  you can ring and leave a message on 01384 817373.

If you think your child's level of need is so significant that they may need an EHCP, you should let the SENCO or Head of Learning Support know so that they can advise you of next steps. 

You can also contact the SEN Team for advice by ringing 01384 814360.

When will Statements no longer be valid?

Statements will no longer be valid from 1st April 2018, or when your child's Statement transfers to an EHCP or when your child’s Statement is ceased as a result of the Transfer Review.

What is the Local Offer?

It is a requirement for the local authority to publish information about what provision it expects will be available for children and young people with SEND aged 0 - 25 years, both within and outside their local area.

  • The Local Offer must include information about Education, health and care provision for children and young people with SEND (which should include information about its quality and the destinations/outcomes achieved by those who use it).
  • Arrangements for identifying and assessing children and young people's SEND, including arrangements for requesting an EHC needs assessment.
  • Other education provision (educational provision outside of schools or colleges such as sports or arts provision.
  • Training provision, including Apprenticeships.
  • Arrangements for travel to and from schools, post-16 institutions and early years providers.
  • Support to help children and young people in moving between phases of education (for example from early years to school, from primary to secondary) and to prepare for adulthood.
  • Sources of information, advice and support in the local authority's area relating to SEND including information provided under clause 32 of the Children and Families Bill, forums for parents and carers, support groups, childcare and leisure activities.
  • Arrangements for making complaints, for the resolution of disagreements, mediation and parents' and young people's right to appeal a decision of the local authority to the tribunal.

The Code of Practice says local authorities must involve children in planning decisions about what services for young people with SEND are needed. This includes planning the content of the Local Offer, deciding how to publish the offer and providing feedback on the services contained in the Local Offer.

What is a personal budget?

A personal budget is the amount of money across one or all areas of education, health and social care to meet the needs of the child or young person as outlined in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. The personal budget can be a notional amount of money that is used by the local authority to provide support, either by itself or by another provider.

Families can request a proportion of their personal budget to be issued as a direct payment to enable the family to purchase that support themselves. This would offer more choice and flexibility to meet identified needs.

The personal budget will be outlined in the EHC plan so all involved can see how needs are being met and at what cost. If some of the personal budget is given as a direct payment, a support plan will be developed with the family to outline how they intend to spend the direct payment, on what, how much and to meet which needs within the EHC plan. Direct payments will be monitored regularly as they are now.

What do the changes mean for the health service?

The health service must also cooperate with the Local Authority in the creation of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) by advising on what kind of health provision is reasonably required by the learning difficulties and disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEND.

This could include specialist support and therapies, such as medical treatments and delivery of medications, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy, a range of nursing support, specialist equipment, wheelchairs and continence supplies. If your child currently meets thresholds for NHS Continuing Health Care, this will not change as we move to the new system, and their continuing health care will form part of their EHCP.

The EHCP must be approved by the relevant health commissioning body, in Dudley this will be the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and if it is approved, the health service must ensure that the support set out in the EHCP is made available. Where health needs can be met by services commissioned by the CCG approval will be delegated to the relevant health care professionals.

As part of this process the Health Service needs to appoint a Designated Medical Officer (DMO), an individual whose role is to ensure that the CCG is meeting its statutory responsibilities for SEND. This person will also work with services to provide advice and support on health issues for those young people who have an EHCP.

As part of this process, the Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group has appointed a Designated Medical Officer (DMO), an individual whose role is to ensure that CCG is meeting its statutory responsibilities for SEND. This person works with other services to provide advice and support on health issues for those young people who have an EHCP.

What independent information & advice is available to families?

Dudley provides an independent service that gives families, including children and young people with SEND information, advice and support (SENDIASS). These services are to help young people with SEND to get the services they need. For example, they should provide information and advice to help young people understand their legal rights and how to get access to local services.

SENDIASS provide free, impartial and confidential advice for those children and young people who have a Statement or EHCP.

Please call 01384 817373 for further information.

Independent Support:  Specially trained Independent Supporters provide support to parents/carers or to young people during the EHC assessment planning process.

Please call 01384 817373 for further information.

Parent Carer Forum: Together for Change are based at DY1 in Stafford Street.  The Parent Carer Forum makes sure that the voices of parents and carers of children and young people with SEND are heard. They can be reached on 01384 573381.

I can't find the information I need and I have more questions: who do I contact?

For more information on SEND in Dudley, call the SEND team on 01384 814360 or search the Local Offer site and the Guide to Local SEND Support in Dudley.