SEND Reforms and Local Offer
What is the Local Offer?
From September 2014 every Local Authority will be required to publish information about services in their area for children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND); and also services outside of the area which children from their area may use. This will be known as the “Local Offer”.
The Local Offer will put all the information about education, health and care services, voluntary agencies, leisure activities and support groups in one place.
It has two main purposes:
- To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available
- To make provision more responsive to local needs
The Government says that the Local Offer must be developed and reviewed in partnership with children and young people, parents / carers and local services, including early years settings, schools, colleges, health and social care agencies.
Reading has worked in partnership with other Local Authorities in the Berkshire area to deliver a Local Offer which will be consistent as far as possible and which will allow for information sharing across Local Authority boundaries where this is appropriate.
The Children and Families Act (2014) introduces many changes to the special educational needs (SEN) system:
- a new single plan to replace the statement of special educational needs that will include Education, Health and Social Care
- school action and school action plus to be replaced by a new school based category, 'Additional SEN support'
- a local offer for parents
- a new SEN Code of Practice
- personal budgets for those with a single plan
- mediation for parents going to Tribunal
- Individual Action Plans to cease
Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
From 1st September 2014 there will be a change to the SEN legislation governing the assessment and support of children and young people with additional needs. Statements of special educational needs are to be phased out and replaced with Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCPs). These new plans will introduce a new more person-centred approach to assessment, where co-production of the plan between the young person, parents and professionals will be key to the process. The plans will also last until the young person reaches the age of 25, extending the current age into adulthood.
The EHCPs will mainly be available for those children and young people who have complex needs and whose needs are over and above what a mainstream school would be expected to manage within its own resources.
These changes will also see the introduction of a Local Offer that will set out what each school can provide to help children and young people with additional needs and will also signpost users to services available across the borough, including support services, leisure activities and educational opportunities. Each educational setting will provide its own local offer.