A major reform was introduced from September 2014 to better provide for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) from the ages of 0 to 25 years. The reform is supported by a new SEND Code of Practice, which underpins everything we do and provide for children at the Academy. We are fully committed to delivering what is set out in the new Code, so that its students can achieve the best outcomes possible.
How the SEND reforms affect you
Every child enrolled at a special school, including The Iffley Academy, must have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP). At The Iffley Academy, the 3-year process of converting Statements into EHCPs is almost complete, with a final 20 conversions taking place during the academic year 2016-7.
All Local Authorities must publicise a Local Offer outlining the services for children and young people with SEND. Further details can be found our own website page entitled Local Offer. Each Local Authority must also offer the opportunity for Personal Budgets where it is practicable and economical to do so. This service, however, will only apply in a very small number of cases, both locally and nationally. Services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy are not eligible, since these services are block funded.
Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCPs)
Each EHCP should be a single-plan containing all key information regarding the educational, health care and social care needs of the child or young adult. The Plan therefore brings together all providers of support for the child or young person to work together. The focus of the document is on achieving individual outcomes for the child or young person.
Rather than having a lengthy document containing all contributions from supporting professionals, the plan identifies key points and references latest reports. The EHC Plan is also ‘portable’ across different educational sectors. This means that in many cases students will continue to have an EHC Plan when they transfer to their local FE college at post-sixteen.
Getting the ‘outcomes’ right in a child’s EHC Plan is crucial to realising the young person’s potential. ‘Outcomes’ have replaced ‘Objectives’, which were the key aims of the Statement of SEN. However, this is more than merely a name change. Objectives tended to be rather general, for example ‘for x to develop his expressive language skills’, without actually saying what that might look like.
Outcomes need to be ‘SMART’, which means they must be Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. A typical EHC Plan will contain around half a dozen key outcomes to be achieved over a given timeframe. Some of these time frames will be longer term, covering a whole Key Stage, such as KS3. To make this more workable, shorter term outcomes will be developed each academic year which are reviewed termly (like the old IEP timeframe.) These are known as Termly Outcome Plans (or TOPs). Unlike IEPs, they will form a direct link to the outcomes specified for your child in the EHC Plan.
Some Outcomes will continue to be set by key professionals, for example a Speech Therapist may suggest an outcome around working successfully with particular sounds. But we also want to be guided by you, the parent. You will therefore receive more information and a questionnaire during Term 1.
Termly Outcome Planning (TOPS)
Outcome Planning is intended to ensure that across various agencies we are on-track with supporting your child’s broader development. We therefore ask our supporting agencies (Speech & Language Therapists, OTs etc.) to contribute to termly outcome planning and review. They use the same format as our teachers, so that the process should be relatively seamless.
In addition, Outcome Planning from Year 9 onwards will include planning for life beyond school, specifically Careers Independent Advice and Guidance. Outcome planning could include outcomes to be achieved by the end of a work experience placement, or a college link. Independent travel will also be included where this is appropriate. Some Outcomes will therefore have short-term review dates, and others will be monitored over a longer period.
Additional Statutory information:
The Local Offer
The Local Offer outlines what is available in the local area for all young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Oxfordshire County Council have developed a website that contains information and links to further information covering all aspects of support available in Oxfordshire. It is great to have all of the information in one location, however learning to navigate this information and locating information relevant to each individual child will be a challenge for many.
This link will take you to Oxfordshire’s Local Offer information.
A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the Local Authority and Health Provider (as appropriate) to deliver provision set out in an EHC Plan, where the parents or young person has requested that some limited aspects of their care or provision are given via a personal budget. However, Personal Budgets are not created from any new money available to services. Funding for personal budgets comes from releasing the value of a child/young person’s provision from the services they might otherwise be expected to make use of.
Not all services can have money removed in this way without adversely affecting other children that use the provision. These services are therefore not eligible as funding sources for personal budgets. For example, currently all the funding for speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy in Oxfordshire is in a block contract and this means that children/young people cannot have a personal budget for these therapy services.