Education Health and Care (EHC) assessments, Plans and Reviews during Covid19 Pandemic
In May 2020 we published information on the local authority position about new Education, Health and Care assessments and Plans and the impact of the coronavirus on Annual Reviews.
At that time, we were still in a national lockdown and most children were not attending school. At the beginning of May 2020, the Government published a modification to the SEND regulations that govern the EHC process to allow for a change to the usual statutory timescales for education, health and care assessments and Plans and also to allow Local Authorities to make ‘best endeavors’ to secure education and health provision, as set out in a child’s EHC Plan. The modification to the regulations was lifted on 25 September 2020.
Over the Spring and Summer terms we were able to complete our statutory Annual Reviews to the same high level as in previous years. We were also able to complete some EHC assessments and issue new Plans. Unfortunately, many assessments had to be paused because we could not obtain the necessary professional reports. We worked with Health and Educational Psychology services to agree an approach for completing the paused assessments once the schools were able to allow visitors into the buildings.
Whilst we still had some outstanding assessments to complete, at the end of September, we have been working through paused EHC assessments and been able to bring most to a conclusion. The SEND Case Officers have been keeping parents, schools and settings informed of progress.
Please be reassured that we are continuing to accept new requests for EHC needs assessments from schools and parents, as we did before the pandemic, and we are meeting the statutory timescales for decisions on new assessments and Plans.
We would encourage parents to liaise with schools before submitting a parental request for assessment.
The SEND and Inclusion team continue to work remotely and can be contacted in the usual way by phone or email. We are finding the use of video conferencing platforms for ‘virtual’ meetings very acceptable for parents and children, schools, and settings.