Since 1st September 2014 changes have been taking place for
These children and young people will be going through a process referred to as “Transition” which involves changing from their statements and LDAs to EHC plans within the new legal framework under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Completing the transition process is a duty on the Local Authority (“LA”) where the child or young person lives. The LA must have completed this process for children with statements by 1st April 2018.
For young people with LDAs, the transition process must have been completed by 1 st September 2016 as any LDAs remaining after this date will cease to have any legal effect. Click here to download IPSEA's Transition Timeline resource. This explains the timeline for the transition process from a statement or an LDA to an EHC plan in more detail.
Statements of SEN will remain in force until the transition to an EHC plan has been completed. Part IV and Schedule 27 of the Education Act 1996, relevant regulations and the 2001 SEN Code of Practice will continue to apply until the end of the process.
Transition requires, as a matter of law, an EHC needs assessment to take place under the new legal framework before the LA either finalises the EHC plan or makes a decision not to issue a plan. As the legal tests for a plan is at least the same, if not wider, than the test for a statement, decisions not to issue a plan should be happening in a minority of cases where the child or young person’s needs have changed.
There are no exceptions to the requirement to carry out an EHC needs assessment. For information about what this comprises see our see IPSEA’s resource, What is an EHC needs assessment. In certain cases an LA can use existing evidence to fulfil their duty to gather advice and information.
If a young person who had an LDA was not transitioned to an EHC plan, they can request EHC needs assessment at any time. If the LA does not agree with that request then the decision can be appealed to the SEND Tribunal.
In the case of a child with a statement, there is a timetable for the transition from statements to EHC plans. For details of the timetable, go to the briefing in the resources on the right of this page. When that transfer will happen in an individual case depends on your Local Authority’s Transition Plan. It will explain when they intend to carry out transition for different groups of children and young people in their area. This must be published on the LA’s website and be part of the Local Offer. Departmental Advice from the DfE (Department for Education) requires them to prioritise certain groups first.
If your child has a statement you can ask the LA to carry out the transition before their intended time but if they do not agree you cannot appeal against that decision. The right to request an EHC needs assessment has been suspended for children with statements for the transition period. However, you can still ask for a re-assessment under the Education Act 1996 during the transition period, you can appeal if refused, and if you win the Tribunal has the power to order the LA to carry out an EHC needs assessment.
The expectation is that all children with a statement will be transitioned to an EHC plan unless there has been a change in their individual needs which mean they no longer need the same level of support.
The expectation is that all young people with LDAs – particularly, but not exclusively, those that previously had a statement – who remain in education or training will now have EHC plans.
If this information has been helpful, perhaps you would like to make a small donation towards IPSEA's work? Click here to donate £10 via PayPal or here to donate online using your debit/credit card.
Transition to the new 0 to 25 special educational needs and disability system - Departmental advice for local authorities and their partners
Moving from “old” to “new” law
Timeline for the transition process from a statement to an EHC plan
The legal definition of an EHC needs assessment is contained in Section 36 (2) of the Children and Families Act 2014.
Our Tribunal Helpline Gives next step advice on SEN appeals and disability discrimination claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. When you call we will also assess whether you need casework support. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.