Nottinghamshire County Council supports the inclusion of children and young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) in mainstream education provision in the communities in which they live. Nottinghamshire County Council provide funding and support services to education placements to enable children and young people to be educated alongside their siblings and friends. For further information on how Nottinghamshire assists pupils with SEND to access schools and the National Curriculum please click here SEND Support in Mainstream Schools
The fundamental principle of the Education Act 1996, reinforced by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, is that the special education needs (SEN) of children will normally be met in mainstream schools or settings wherever possible. The statutory guidance for Local Authorities and schools, set out in the SEND Code of Practice, reflects this. For more information on the SEND Code of Practice please click here.
Nottinghamshire County Council is committed to educating children and young people in a maintained nursery school, mainstream school or mainstream post-16 setting, where that is the wish of the child's parents (or the young person) and where that allows other children to be educated efficiently (relevant legislation: Section 33 of the Children and Families Act 2014).
Education, Health and Care Plan Pathway
The seven numbered circles below represent Nottinghamshire's EHC Plan pathway. As part of the "graduated approach", which are the steps that schools have taken to support children and young people with SEND, you should start at number 1 on the pathway, which is to look at your Local Offer for services that could offer support to meet your child or young person's needs.
An Education, Health and Care plan (“EHC plan”) is a legal document which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve. An EHC Plan looks at all the needs that a child or young person has within education, health and care. Professionals and the family together consider what outcomes they would like to see for the child or young person and the plan identifies what is needed to achieve those outcomes.
The special educational provision described in an EHC Plan must be provided by the child or young person’s Local Authority (“LA”). This means an EHC Plan can give a child or young person extra educational support. It can also give parents and young people more choice about which school or other setting the child or young person can attend.
All mainstream schools in Nottinghamshire have access to additional funding and support, advice and guidance from specialist teams who can support schools to provide the best provision for pupils with SEN. The EHC Plan does not provide any funding to families or schools, nor is the EHC Plan any guarantee that children or young people will be given a special school placement.
An EHC Plan can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an EHC Needs Assessment. An EHC needs assessment is an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs. It is the first step to getting an EHC Plan.
When a request for an EHC Plan is made, it will be considered by the EHC Panel. They will decide if an EHC Needs Assessment is necessary. This is called the ‘Stage 1 Panel’. After the panel the Local Authority will inform the family of the decision by letter. If you receive a ‘Yes to Assess’ decision, a full EHC needs assessment will be carried out. If you receive a ‘No to Assess’ decision, then no assessment will be carried out and advice will be given as to the way forward for the family and school.
If the Stage 1 Panel give a ‘Yes to Assess’ decision, then the EHC needs assessment will start. The EHC Needs Assessment involves collecting views, information and advice which will inform the decision as to whether or not a statutory EHC Plan is required.
Reports will be gathered from key people, including:
- Person with parental responsibility
- Child, Young Person if appropriate
- Education settings
- Educational Psychologist
- Health professionals
- Social care professionals
- Other professionals who are involved
If an EHC needs assessment is agreed, a Case Worker (CW) is allocated. The CW will offer to meet you early in the process to gather your views to feed into the assessment, a crucial part of the process involves enabling the child/young person and their family to tell their story they are also able to support your family with the completion of the ‘All About Me’.
The "All About Me" document sets out the child/young person's strengths and needs; their current levels of support; what is working well and what is not working so well; what is important to them; as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future.
If the Local Authority decide not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
If the Local Authority decide not to carry out an EHC needs assessment they must inform the parent or young person of the reasons why this decision was made. The parent or young person can appeal this decision.
For further information on how to appeal this decision please click on the following link: here Disagreements and Complaints
You can also refer to the document on Local Authority decisions about EHC needs assessments by clicking on the icon below:
After the EHC needs assessment has taken place, the case and all the evidence received is taken to another EHC Panel. This is called the ‘Stage 2 Panel’.
The panel members read all the information and reports gathered during the EHC needs assessment process. They ask and discuss:
- What are the child/young person’s special educational needs?
- Is the current special educational provision working?
- Is the child/young person not making enough progress (and so needs something different or extra to help)?
- Is the child/young person moving to, or have they recently moved to, a new school?
- Does the child/young person need something different or extra, and if so:
- can this reasonably be provided from within the resources normally available to mainstream settings?
- is this provision only available with an EHC plan?
The Local Authority then decides if it is necessary for the special educational provision to be made in accordance with an EHC plan.
Following the Stage 2 Panel, the family will receive a letter informing them of the decision. If this is a ‘Yes to Plan’ decision, then the Case Worker will draft the plan and the process will continue. If it is a ‘No to Plan’ decision, then the process will stop and the Case Worker will no longer be involved. Information and advice will be provided in the letter as to the best way forward for the family and school.
Further information on the decision making process can be found in number 4 of EHC Plan pathway: Decision
Legal Basis for the Decision
The Local Authority (LA) must decide whether it will issue an EHC plan for the child or young person based on the evidence it has gathered as part of the EHC needs assessment. The legal test which the LA must apply is found in section 37(1) of the Children and Families Act 2014 which says:
“(1) Where, in the light of an EHC needs assessment, it is necessary for special educational provision to be made for a child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan -
(a) the local authority must secure that an EHC plan is prepared for the child or young person, and
(b) once an EHC plan has been prepared, it must maintain the plan.”
Therefore the LA must decide, on the basis of the evidence from the EHC needs assessment, whether it is necessary for the child or young person to have an EHC plan.
The Local Authority must notify the parent or young person of their decision whether or not they will issue a plan within a maximum of 16 weeks from the request for assessment.
If the LA decides to issue an EHC plan, it will first send out a draft plan for the parent or young person to review and comment on. It should then send the final EHC plan to the parent or young person within 20 weeks from the date the assessment was requested.
If the LA decides not to issue an EHC plan, it must tell the parent or young person within 16 weeks of the date the request for an assessment was made. The parent or young person can appeal this decision. For further information on how to appeal a decision to the First Tier Tribunal please click on the following link here Disagreements and Complaints
You can also refer to the document on Local Authority decisions about EHC Plans by clicking on the icon below:
If following assessment the panel decide that a statutory EHC Plan is not needed copies of the reports will be provided to the family and education setting. It is important that the reports are discussed with the educational setting. We suggest that you contact the educational setting to arrange a meeting to share the reports with the education staff. At the meeting you can decide together how the current support matches the recommendations in the reports. It may be that during the discussion you identify further steps to be taken to ensure that advice from professionals is used in supporting your child or young person.
Under Regulation 12 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 (the “SEN Regs”), an EHC plan must have the following sections:
- Section A: the views, interests and aspirations of the child and his parents or the young person;
- Section B: the child or young person’s special educational needs (“SEN”);
- Section C: health care needs which relate to their SEN;
- Section D: social care needs which relate to their SEN or to a disability ;
- Section E: the outcomes sought for the child or young person;
- Section F: the special educational provision required to meet their SEN;
- Section G: any health care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN;
- Section H: any social care provision required from social services under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and/or reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN;
- Section I: the name of the school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person, and the type of that institution (or just the type if no specific institution is named);
- Section J: details of any direct payment which will be made;
- Section K: copies of all of the advice and information obtained as part of the EHC needs assessment.
For more information on the SEN Reg 12(3), and paragraph 9.63 of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice please click here (the “Code”), state that where the child or young person is in or beyond Year 9, the EHC plan must also include the provision required by the child or young person to assist in preparation for adulthood and independent living, for example, support for finding employment, housing or for participation in society.
Key things to look for in an EHC Plan
The key things to check are that:
- All of the child or young person’s special educational needs (“SEN”) are set out in Section B;
- All of the special educational provision (the extra help they need with learning) required by the child or young person is set out in Section F;
- The school or college to be attended by the child or young person is set out in Section I.
Important Note: There is a legal requirement to keep the sections of the EHC plan separate so that it is clear what needs and provision are in what section.
Local Authority's are only legally required to secure the special educational provision set out in Section F so if this is unclear, or put into the wrong section, then the child or young person may not receive the special educational provision they need.
EHC Plans must be reviewed at least annually and it is usually the education placement that will arrange & facilitate these. Reviews should be carried out using person-centered planning principles and must focus on the child or young person’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan, from year 9 onwards attention should be paid to the Preparing For Adulthood outcomes.
For further information on reviews please click on number 7 of the EHC Plan pathway: here Review
The Children and Families Act 2014 made EHC plans statutory from 1 September 2014. EHC Plans have the same legal status as Statements of Special Educational Needs and will cover the age range 0 to 25.
Every EHC Plan is personalised to meet the needs and outcomes for each child or young person. The timescales for assessment and completion of an EHC Plan is a maximum of 20 weeks.
You will need to follow the Education, Health and Care Plan Pathway. Number 2 on the pathway explains the referral process in detail: find out more by clicking here Requesting a Statutory Education, Health and Care Assessment
EHC Digital Hub
The Local Authority have developed the EHC Digital Hub and, after testing this in two of our districts, it is now live in all areas. From November 2019 the EHC Digital Hub has been used for all new EHC Assessment Requests. For further details please click here Requesting a Statutory Education, Health and Care Assessment page
Please Note: As part of the "graduated approach", which are the steps that schools have taken to support children and young people with SEND you should also look at your Local Offer for services that could offer support to meet your child or young person's needs, which is number 1 on the EHC Plan Pathway.
Children and Young People with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan have the right to request a personal budget. Personal Budgets are intended to give young people and/or families greater control over the resources that are available to support them.
What can be included in a personal budget will develop and evolve over time. Parents and/or the young person must always be involved in planning the Personal Budget.
Personal Budgets enable the Council and Health to share decisions about support and provision with children or young people and their families with the belief that if people have more control over the resources available to them they will find the best solutions and support that works best for them.
Who Can Have a Personal Budget?
If your child has an EHC plan issued by Nottinghamshire you may request to have a personal budget to meet the outcomes detailed in the plan. Some part of the Personal Budget could be taken as a direct payment to you, or a suitable person on your behalf. A direct payment is the allocation of funding, which is sufficient to meet your assessed needs and can give you much more freedom to arrange the services you want from the companies or carers you prefer.
Sometimes the Local Authority may not agree to a Personal Budget. If that happens, the Local Authority will tell you why.
What Can You Use a Personal Budget For?
To pay for resources to help meet the outcomes identified in your EHC plan. This may include services or other items including equipment which are needed to provide support.
How Do You Get a Personal Budget?
The Integrated Children's Disability Service (ICDS) Assessment Team and other professionals involved will help by talking to you about the outcomes and the support that your child may need to help them reach their goals as they progress through the EHC plan pathway.
The ICDS Assessment Team, together with you and your child, will write an EHC plan that describes outcomes and goals. The plan will also describe how these can be achieved and the resources that are required to meet the outcomes. The ICDS Assessment Team will advise you on those resources which may be taken as a direct payment.
Will my child be entitled to any other financial support?
For further details of other financial support including welfare benefits please click here Money Matters and Personal Budgets
There are processes available to address disagreements and complaints around EHC needs assessments and EHC Plans including Local Authority decisions. For further information on these processes including Mediation and the First Tier Trubunal please click here Disagreement and Complaints
Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS) offer free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN from birth to 25, and their parents/carers. They are statutory services, which means there has to be a service in every Local Authority. In Nottinghamshire the service if offered by Ask Us. Watch this animation, which explains all of the support on offer from IASS:
Ask Us Nottinghamshire
This service offer free impartial and confidential information, advice and support for parents/carers of children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities including advice on what to look for when choosing a school. They can offer telephone support but also face to face support can be arranged if appropriate e.g. help with completing certain forms, writing letters and attending school meetings.
Their helpline operates Mon, Weds & Fri 9:00 - 13:00. Tues & Thurs 13:00 - 17:00.
Tel: 0800 121 7772 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org