Statistics on Statements of SEN and EHC plans

Commenting on the latest government statistics on statements of SEN and EHC plans Charlotte Ramsden, Chair of the Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee said:

“There could be a number of reasons why there has been an increase in the number of applications for assessments for education, health and care (EHC) plans, as well as an increase in the number of children and young people refused assessments. The Children and Family Act widened the opportunity for an EHC plan from 0-19 to 0-25. It also put parents more in control and gave them more choice in relation to their child’s journey through education. Both factors are likely to have contributed to the increase. Refusal of an assessment is not necessarily a bad thing. As local authorities continue to develop their local offers for children with special educational needs and disabilities, there is more information about the additional services available to children and young people with lower level needs who do not always need an EHC plan and who can access the additional support they require through targeted services. In these cases an assessment may not be necessary and a secure pathway for support is regularly agreed without the need for full assessment. There are few appeals against the decision not to assess that reach a final Tribunal hearing, which hopefully indicates that in the majority of cases, solutions are achieved which meet the needs of the child to the satisfaction of the parents. Given that the number of requests for assessments for EHC plans in 2016 compared to 2015 has increased we would expect that the number of refusals would rise as well. There is also an increased awareness of and focus on improving outcomes of children with special educational needs as local authorities embed the SEND reforms which might be contributing to the increase in referrals. It is crucial that children with special educational needs and disabilities receive the support that they require to thrive and reach their full potential. That over 95% of children assessed for an EHC plan received this in 2016 is positive.”


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