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The SEND Team assess Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs and monitors Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). 

We offer guidance on the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment process, and provide information about the services that can support you.

Education, health and care (EHC) plans explained

Education, health and care plans describes a child or young person's special educational, health and social care needs. It explains the extra help that will be given to meet those needs and how that help will support the child or young person to achieve what they want to in their life.

Before a plan is issued, we first need to make a needs assessment of your child’s special education needs

Decisions about whether a child/young person matches the guidance for assessment are made by the Bedford Borough SEND Panel. 

If an assessment is agreed

If an assessment is agreed, we gather specific information from educational settings, professionals involved with the child/young person, health and social care as well as information and views from the parents, carers or young person, as outlined the SEND code of practice.

We keep parents, carers and young people informed regularly during the assessment process.

When the assessment has been completed we consider the information and decide if an EHCP is to be written or whether the pupil's needs can be met through the educational setting's own resources. 

Read more about the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (PDF).

If an assessment is not agreed

If an assessment is not agreed, we will contact the parents/young person to explain the reasons why and invite them to attend a meeting to discuss the decision and a way forward. Written feedback is also given. 

Where a parent/carer/young person does not agree with the assessment or a decision made by us, we will work with the parent or carer to find a solution.

We encourage parents to seek support from SEND Advice or access KIDS, an independent mediation service.

Find out more on what to do if you disagree with a SEND Panel decision leaflet (PDF)

Parents or carers can contact us on sendteam@bedford.gov.uk at at any time.

How we monitor Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP)

After an EHCP has been finalised we will monitor the pupil’s progress towards meeting the objectives outlined in the plan through regular review, which will be held every 12 months.

The Annual Review (PDF) will be arranged by the setting, who will send out updated reports 2 weeks prior to the meeting.

Following the review meeting the setting will prepare a report (EHCPAR) which they will send to us together with any reports provided by the professionals involved with the child/young person.

We will then send a letter to the parents/carers/young person and professionals involved with the child/young person to outline our recommendations about what amendments are required and whether the EHCP should continue.

If the child/young person is due to transfer to their next educational setting the following September, please contact the SEND Team on 01234 228375 early in the Autumn term to inform us of the setting to be consulted. The SEND team will consult settings on your behalf, so you do not have to follow the normal admissions process.

Learn more about preparing for adulthood from the Council for Disabled Children fact sheet regarding Preparing for Adulthood.

Who we work with

We work in partnership with parents, carers, professionals, schools, educational settings and further and higher education providers to ensure the needs of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society are met.

Specialist provisions

The SEND Team uses these documents to assess whether a child meets guidance for specialist provision.

SEN frequently asked questions

What does special educational needs (SEN) mean?

The term Special Educational Need has a legal definition. Children with Special Educational Needs all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age. Children with Special Educational Needs may have a range of difficulties with for example:

  • Cognition and Learning (Thinking and Understanding)
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health (How they behave)
  • Sensory and/or Physical difficulties
  • Communication and Interaction ( How they relate to others, does not include where English is a second language)

I’m worried about a child/my child's development, what can I do?

If you think your child may have a Special Educational Need that has not been identified by the school or early education setting, you should talk to your child’s class teacher, to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) (Word, 24KB) or to the Head Teacher.

If your child is not yet at school or not yet attending an early education setting, you can talk to your doctor or health visitor who will be able to give you advice about the next steps to take.

What is a graduated approach?

The graduated approach recognises that children learn in different ways and can have different levels of Special Educational Need. So increasingly, step by step, specialist expertise can be brought in to help the school with the difficulties a child may have.

What is an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment?

This is a detailed investigation to find out exactly what the child’s Special Educational Needs are and what special help the child may need. An EHC Needs Assessment is only necessary for those pupils with long-term and complex Special Educational Needs and if the school or early years setting cannot provide all the help that the child needs from within the resources available to them.

When a parent/carer, the early years education setting or the school ask the Local Authority to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment, the Local Authority normally have five weeks to decide whether to do so. They will consider very carefully the child’s progress at school or college and the guidance in the SEN Code of Practice (PDF). They will also listen to your views and to the views of your child’s school about your child’s Special Educational Needs. The school or early education setting will tell the Local Authority about any special help they have already given to your child

How long will it take to make a decision?

There is a statutory time period for completing an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. From the initial request to agreeing the outcome with the parents the process must be completed within an 20 week time frame.

Who will make the decision?

The Bedford Borough SEND Panel will consider cases put forward for EHC Needs Assessment, as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice.

This panel has a multi-professional membership. The SEND Team Manager acts on behalf of Bedford Borough Council as convener and chair. They invite specialists as appropriate. The panel will consist of representatives from the following according to need:

  • SEND Team
  • Psychology Team
  • Advisory Teacher Team
  • Early Years Support Service
  • Sensory and Communication Support Team
  • Inclusion Support Team
  • special schools
  • mainstream schools
  • Independent Parental Supporters

The Education Panel’s role is to advise the SEND Team. The SEND Team are responsible for deciding on whether young people match the guidance for EHC Needs Assessment (Word, 535KB)

All decisions following panels will be communicated verbally (where possible) and in writing to the parents.

What if I disagree with your decision?

You will be informed in writing of our decision and when you have the right to appeal. As a first step you should contact the SEND Team to discuss the way forward. You may also wish to contact the SEND Advice Service or KIDS, an independent mediation service.

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?

An Education, Health and Care Plan is a legal document that outlines all the child’s special educational needs and the objectives and provision to meet those needs.

Can changes be made to an EHCP once it’s in place?

Changes to an EHCP are usually considered by us during the Annual Review or every 6 months for a pupil under the age of 5. The school will make recommendations which we will consider to see whether any amendments to the EHCP are appropriate.

Will there be any support from the Bedford Borough Council if I am educating my child at home?

There is a specific advisor within the SEND Team who can provide advice and guidance on Elective Home Education.

SEND related publications and links

Please read the range of leaflets we have produced:

Disabled Children: A Legal Handbook by the Council for Disabled Children is a guide to the legal rights of disabled children and their families in England and Wales. 

A family guide to SEND by the Council for Disabled Children. Amongst other things, it covers what a EHCP looks like, what it contains and what to do when your child has a plan. 

GOV.UK'S SEND Code of Practice contains information on the steps and processes we should comply with before, during and after a request for a statement has been made. 

SEND Advice Service offers impartial and confidential advice and are at ‘arm's length’ from the local authority and schools. 

KIDS mediation service

Family Information Service includes information about the Children’s Disability and Additional Needs Register.

Access a local Bedford list of sports and leisure opportunities for young people with a disability

Further education with specialist support:

Bedford College
Moulten College
Barnfield College
Central Bedfordshire College

If a local further education college is not able to meet a young person’s learning or support needs a specialist college might be considered. Use the Natspec website to search for specialist colleges.  

Independent schools for pupils with special educational needs.

Forms

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment and the form (EHCNAF) (Word, 389KB) which schools should complete to request an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.

  • Guidance (Word, 194KB) on completing the EHCNAF
  • Annual Review form (Word, 67KB) to be completed by the school when reviewing an Education, Health and Care Plan.
  • Parental Response Form to complete after receiving a draft EHCP, stating whether you agree with the draft and which educational setting you would like your child to attend.
  • Young Person's Response Form to complete after receiving a draft EHCP, stating whether you agree with the draft and which educational setting you would like to attend.
  • Parental Questionnaire to be completed at the end of an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.
  • Young Person's Questionnaire to be completed at the end of an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.
  • List of Bedford Borough schools and addresses (PDF)

Contact

Diane Boyd
SEND Team Manager
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP

Tel: 01234 228 375
Fax: 01234 228 306
Email: sendteam@bedford.gov.uk

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