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SENDIASS Southend
Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice & Support Service

Education

Every child and young person has the right to an education.  Every local authority- this means your local government- must support in your best interests. 

They need to listen to your concerns and interests about your education.

They need to monitor how well maintained schools in its area are doing, and make sure improvements are carried out well where they are needed.

You can contact us if you would like any of this explained to you- this is a free service, we won't charge you any money.

Contact us for support

What is an EHCP?

This is an Education Health and Care Plan.  An EHC Plan describes your educational needs.  It details the help you will get to achieve your goals. An EHC plan can include any health and care support you need. It is a legal document written by the local authority- this means your local government.  It is for children and young people whose needs cannot be met by the support that is usually available at their school or college.

Most children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) will have enough help given by their school or college. This is known as SEN Support.  It can include lots of different types of support to help you with the things you find difficult. If your school or college has tried all the possible support options and you are still not doing as well as expected, it might be time to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.  This is the first stage. 

What is an Annual Review?

The local authority will review an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan every 12 months or earlier if it is needed. This must be done with you.  This must take account of your views, wishes and feelings.

The local authority must decide whether to keep the plan as it is, make changes, or cease it- this means to end the plan.  This decision must be made within four weeks of the review meeting. You have a right of appeal if you do not agree with the local authority's decision at the end of the review.  We can help you with this.

For some young people an EHC plan will continue until they are 25. However, the plan will stop if the young person:

  • Goes to university
  • Gets a job
  • Tells their local authority they no longer want their EHC plan, or
  • The local authority decides the outcomes have been achieved and Special Educational Provision is no longer necessary

My Views

You should be part of any planning or decision-making.

The local authority and your school or college should involve you as much as possible in deciding on, and reviewing your support. They must take into account your views, as well as your parent carer's if appropriate.

You  may need help to express your views. For example, from a family member or practitioner already working with you. Consider alternative ways you can share your views, with pictures or video for example.

Our service can help you directly with:

  • questions you might have
  • getting your views across
  • supporting you to prepare for meetings
  • supporting you at meetings

It is important that your goals and wishes are recorded to make sure you are supported to get the best outcomes for you.  These things are just as important in your views as the things you may find difficult.

What to do if you don't agree with your EHCP

If you are over 16 and under 25, you can appeal a Local Authority's decision if you do not agree with it. 

To do this you must be either:

  • in education, for example at a school or college - or trying to get into one
  • taking part in an apprenticeship, internship or workplace scheme - or trying to get into one

You can also appeal if you’re in custody (in prison or a young offender institution, for example) if you are over 16 but under 18.

You cannot appeal if you’re studying at university, or trying to get into one.

If you need help and cannot appeal yourself, your parent or carer may be able to appeal on your behalf instead.

You can speak to us if you want to know more, or need help. 

How to get help in school or college

Special Educational Needs (SEN) support, is the name for extra support or adjustments at school.

You might need SEN support at school because you:

  • find it harder to learn than other young people your age
  • have a condition which means your school or the way you are taught is not accessible to you

If you do not have a diagnosis yet, you can still ask for SEN support.

There are usually 2 types of support for children and young people with additional needs:

  • SEN support, which mainstream state schools must always provide
  • Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans, sometimes called EHCPs, for when SEN support is not enough to meet your needs

Schools and colleges must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that you can learn. There is no set definition for ‘reasonable’ adjustments. It depends on:

  • what you need and the difference it will make
  • cost
  • practicality and effectiveness
  • if the adjustment will affect other pupils’ learning

Reasonable adjustments are often included as part of SEN support.

Post 16 Opportunities

You must stay in some type of education or training until you are 18. There are many options available when you turn 16. You should think about what option best suits you and your situation, your strengths and interests.

You might want to go to sixth form or college, or take a work-related course that will give you skills and work experience. Some courses keep your options open by giving you the chance to study different subjects. You may need specific qualifications for your career choice, so always do some research. You can ask for careers advice from the Southend Connexions Careers Service.

Sometimes you can work and study together. This might improve your skills, give you work experience and gain you qualifications that some employers need.

Supported internships

Supported internships are for young people with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who need extra support to get a job.

You will spend most of your time on placements with an employer, learning skills for work. You will also get help from a tutor and a job coach in college or with a specialist provider.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships combine practical on-the-job skills training with off-the-job learning. You'll get training that is relevant to your job and be paid a salary. These can start at a level to suit you, with support if you have special needs or a disability.

If you have an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan there may be different and more suitable options available to you. 

The Local Offer for Southend has more information about post 16 options. 

Below are some frequently asked questions about education.  If your question is not answered here, please contact us to see if we can help you further.

You can find out what help schools offer by:

  • talking to your school SENCo about the difficulties you are having
  • looking at the school's SEN information report
  • looking at your school's SEN policies on their website   

You can work with your school’s SENCo to work out the best plan to support you.  We can help you to ask for help from your school.

The Local Offer can help you find out what help is available in Southend- for example voluntary, health or specialist services.

You should be involved in all discussion about your SEND.

Speak to your SENCo and ask for a meeting.  Then you can share your views and ask questions about the support in place, or what else might be available to help you.

Before a meeting it can be helpful to write a list of what you would like to discuss.  It might be helpful to share this list with you SENCo before the meeting. 

Contact us if you would like some help to do any of this.

The law is very clear that schools must identify, assess need and then plan support based on this information. Where school have identified what you need, this should be put in place. 

Sometimes it can be useful to discuss with school about what they could put in place.  For example, perhaps they are unable to provide someone to help you at lunch but may be able to suggest a supervised club instead.  We can help you talk to your school about ways they can help you.

This is not right. SEN is about the needs of a child or young person, not the diagnosis. Schools have a duty to identify SEN.  They must do their best to make sure you get the support you need.

Some people will appear as though they are OK.  You might actually be finding things difficult and feeling too anxious or self-conscious to ask for help.  It might help to talk to your parent or carer about what you are finding difficult so they can help you to explain to the school.  We can also help you with this.

Try to explain or write down what you are finding difficult and what is going well. Sharing this with school should help them to understand and find the best ways to support you.

An EHCP, sometimes called an EHC Plan, is an Education Health and Care Plan.

An EHCP describes your educational needs.  It details the help you will get to achieve your goals.

An EHCP can include any health and care support you need.

It is a legal document written by the local authority- this means your local government.  It is for children and young people whose needs cannot be met by the support that is usually available at their school or college.

You can watch our video to learn more about this.

Most children and young people with special educational needs  will have enough help given by their school or college. Special Educational Needs is often called SEN. The help given by school or college is known as SEN Support.  It can include lots of different types of support to help you with the things you find difficult.

If your school or college has tried all the possible support options and you are still not doing as well as expected, it might be time to request an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.  This is often known as an EHC assessment.  This is the first stage.

The local authority will expect to see evidence of what, if any, progress you have made.  They will need to see that school or college have done everything they can to help you make progress.

If you have SEN and are not in education but want to be, you can contact us to discuss your option.

An Education Health and Care needs assessment is often called an EHC Needs assessment.  Usually a request will be made by the school or college, though a parent/carer, or other appropriate adult with your permission, has the right to make a request directly to the local authority. 

You can request an EHC Needs Assessment yourself if you are over the age of 16 and under the age of 25.

As your school or college will be asked to submit information within 15 days, it's best you let school know you have, or are planning to make a request.

You can make a direct request by contacting the Special Educational Needs Team in writing, by phone or email. 

The local authority will take some basic information from you including:

  • your name
  • date of birth
  • where you go to school
  • family information including
    • your address
    • contact details for you and your parents or carers.

You will be sent a form to complete within 15 days.

Southend Borough Council's SEND page has more information and contact details.

From start to finish the process is 20 weeks.  The local authority will let you know their decision in writing within 6 weeks of the request.  This is where they decide whether to carry out an assessment.

It is really helpful to find out why the local authority reached this decision. You can ask them for a meeting, including school to discuss their reasons.

It could be that they have identified some support that school can put in place without an EHC plan for example.

You have the right to mediation and appeal, your letter will explain this and we can offer further advice and support.

We can help you with preparing for a meeting.  Sometimes we can come with you, but we cannot tell you what you should say.  This should be your views.

We aim to help you to feel confident to have your say and feel heard. You could take a friend or family member along for support.  Always let school (or the local authority) know who will be going so they can make sure there is room for all of you.

An EHC needs assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan.

If the local authority decides not to give you an EHC plan, they will write to you.  They will include information about your rights to mediation and appeal- we can help you with this.

Information gathered as part of the assessment will explain ways in which the school or college can meet your needs without an EHC plan.

An outcome is a goal you expect to meet within an agreed period of time.

If the Local Authority agree that you need an Education Health and Care Plan, you should be invited to meet with a Special Education Needs and Disability Officer as well as any other professional you would like to invite to discuss the support you may need.

This meeting is sometimes called a co-production meeting, when the draft EHCP will be discussed and you can ask for any changes you would like to be made.  A parent, carer or trusted adult of your choice can come with you.

Before the meeting it can be helpful to prepare notes about any questions you have, or changes you would like to ask for.

You should be part of any planning or decision-making.

The local authority should involve you as much as possible in this process. They must take into account your views as well as your parent/carer's if appropriate.

You  may need help to express your views. For example, from a family member or practitioner already working with you. Consider alternative ways you can share your views, with pictures or video for example.

Our service can help you directly with:

  • questions you might have
  • getting your views across
  • supporting you in preparing meetings
  • supporting you at meetings

The local authority will review the EHC plan every 12 months or earlier if it is needed. This must be done with you.  This must take account of your views, wishes and feelings.

The local authority must decide whether to keep the plan as it is, make changes, or cease it- this means to end the plan.  This decision must be made within four weeks of the review meeting. You have a right of appeal if the local authority proposes to cease the EHC plan.  We can help you with this.

For some young people an EHC plan will continue until they are 25. However, the plan will stop if the young person:

  • Goes to university
  • Gets a job
  • Tells their local authority they no longer want their EHC plan, or
  • The local authority decides the outcomes have been achieved and Special Educational Provision is no longer necessary

An EHC plan is only for young people with special educational needs. Training can be considered an educational need, for example an apprenticeship or internship.

If you are no longer in education or training, the local authority will likely cease the EHC plan at the next annual review. This means it will stop.  There must be an educational need for a plan to continue.

No, EHC plans are only for young people in further education, and will stop when they go into higher education.