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Important information for parents and carers about how the Council buys placements in special schools not managed by the Council (non-maintained and independent special schools) referred to as ‘settings’ throughout this letter, for children and young people 0 – 25 years

From February 2016 the Council will be changing the way in which we arrange placements for children and young people in these settings.  This includes day placements, weekly and termly boarder placements and full residential placements.

The Council has been working with the other eleven Councils across the North East, our health colleagues, legal colleagues, SEN Managers and settings to ensure we can continue to do this in a way that ensures high quality services while spending less; this group is called the NE12+ Collaborative. 

In the attached letter, we are providing you with further information about this process, the changes we are making and what arrangements will be in place going forward for this type of placement, which we use for a small number of young people across Hartlepool, when we cannot meet needs in area and as a result need to commission a place from a non maintained or independent special school.

A statutory assessment is a detailed exploration to find out exactly what your child’s special educational needs, look at outcomes for them to achieve and decide on the support they will receive to help them to do this.  A statutory assessment is only necessary if your child’s education setting cannot provide all of the help that they need and will usually only happen after the graduated approach has been followed.

In Hartlepool, a statutory assessment is also known as a Co-ordinated Assessment and covers a child’s Education, Health and Care needs (if they have needs in these areas).  In all cases, children must be identified as having a special educational need and the assessment will be co-ordinated by the Local Authority’s special educational needs team.

Any professional working to support your child can request that the Local Authority (LA) carries out a statutory assessment.  Requests are most often made by the SENCO or Head teacher of your child’s education setting, but can be made at any time from birth to the age of 25.  You can talk to any of the people support your child about a statutory assessment and, if they agree that an assessment is needed, they should sit down with you to complete the request form.

You can also make a parental request for an assessment by writing to the SEN Team at the following address:

Hartlepool Centre of Excellence for Teaching & Learning
Brierton Lane
TS25 4BY

In your letter you should include your child’s name, date of birth, which education setting they attend and your reasons why you feel that a statutory assessment is needed.

How long will you have to wait for the local authority if your child should be assessed?

The LA has a SEND Panel which meets to consider requests for statutory assessment.  This panel includes representatives from education, health and social care and meets every 4 weeks.

When the SEN team receives the request for statutory assessment they will send you a letter confirming this and letting you know the date of the next SEND Panel meeting.  You will then have a maximum of 4 weeks to wait before you find out if the Panel has agreed that an assessment should be started or has recommended a lower level of educational support.

It is important that the request for an assessment contains as much information as possible so that the Panel can make the right decision about whether or not to start the assessment.  The Panel might ask for more information if it is felt that there is not enough detail to make a decision.

After the Panel meeting, the SEN team will contact you to let you know what has been decided.  If it is decided that your child does not need an assessment, and you disagree with this decision, you can talk to the parent partnership service or ask for details of our mediation service. 

If you are still unhappy, you have a right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).  We will provide details about how to do this.

Even if it is decided that your child doesn’t need an assessment, they can still get extra help

If you are still worried about your child, you should talk to their education setting to find out what can be done to help them.  They may consider different arrangements or asking for some extra support from outside.

The statutory assessment process

 Very few children need a statutory assessment.  If the Panel decide that an assessment is needed, a member of the SEN team with contact you to make an appointment to meet with you.  This meeting can take place in your home or at a venue of your choosing—it is important that you feel comfortable with where you meet. During this meeting, you will be asked to sign a consent form that will give us permission to share information between the people who will be involved in the assessment.  We will also explain how the assessment process will work, including how long each stage will take, and make a list of the people who are already involved in supporting your child.  There will be lots of information given to you during this meeting and it is important that you ask about anything that you don’t understand or any questions that you have.

The SEN team, in conjunction with your child’s school (if they are attending school), will then organise a date for an Assessment Planning meeting.  You know your child best and therefore you are a very important part of this meeting– this is your Opportunity to tell all of the people who support your child what your worries and concerns are. 

 The Assessment Planning meeting will think about these things for your child

  • What people like and admire about them;
  • What’s is important to and for them;
  • What’s working well?
  • What are the issues and questions that need to be addressed?

A member of the SEN team will be responsible for overseeing this meeting and they will record what everyone says on pieces of flipchart paper for everyone to see.  This information will then be written up into a Personal Profile for your child.

 There shouldn’t be any repetition or duplication in the assessments for your child

During the Assessment Planning meeting, everyone will decide together who will do what and a list will be made of the reports that will be produced during the rest of the assessment.  Everyone who will be writing a report has 6 weeks to do so, but they should share it with you before anyone else.

After 6 weeks, a Support Planning meeting is held.  Again, you and the professionals supporting your child will get together—this time to share the information that people have gathered during their assessment of your child.  There will be someone from the SEN team at the meeting and you should let them know if there is anything that you don’t understand.

 The Support Planning meeting will discuss the short and long term outcomes that your child will work towards-these will be suggested by the people who have completed assessments and recorded by the SEN team.  For each outcome, a list of the support that your child will need to achieve it will be made—this might include individual support in school, a specific literacy programme or some sessions of Speech and Language Therapy. 

Not all statutory assessments will result in a ONE Plan 

At this point, the professionals supporting your child will discuss whether or not an Education, Health and Care plan needs to be written.  If your child needs a statutory level of support for their special educational needs, this will be recorded in a ONE Plan (this is Hartlepool’s name for the Education, Health and Care plan).  However, not all statutory assessments will result in a ONE Plan.  If your child’s needs can be supported using the resources that are available to their education setting, a Co-ordinated Support Plan will be written instead.

Whether your child receives a ONE Plan or a Co-ordinated Support plan, it will contain all of the information gathered during the assessment.  A member of the SEN team will contact you when the plan has been drafted and you will have the final say about what is included.

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