Changes to EHCP Legislation due to Covid-19
On the 1st May the Government activated temporary changes to the legislation covering EHCP's under the Coronavirus Act 2020. There are two main areas of change:
1. The duty on local authorities and health commissioning bodies to secure or arrange the provision in an EHCP's is reduced, on a temporary basis, to a duty to use 'reasonable endeavours' to do so. This is an amendment to Section 42 of the Children's and Families Act. The full notice for this change is here: Modifications to EHCP Legislation
2. Introduction of The Special Educational Needs and Disability (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. This temporarily amends four sets of Regulations that specify legal timescales applying to LAs, CCGs and others, mainly around processes relating to EHC needs assessments and plans. The full guidance can be read here: EHCP Assessments & Plans legislative changes due to Covid-19
The Notice is in force until the end of May, and may be extended. The changes to the Regulations will be in force from 1st May to 25th September 2020 and they will be kept under review.
**It should be noted that DfE advice is that these easements should only be applied where there is clear evidence that coronavirus is actively impacting a statutory organisations ability to deliver their normal duties**
Examples of what the changes to provision might look like for families...
- Alterations to the frequency and timing of the delivery of provision in school, e.g. moving to a part-time timetable.
- A temporary placement in another school - mainstream or special, with the agreement of the parent or young person.
- Attendance at a local hub.
- Video class sessions for children to keep in touch with classmates and teaching staff.
- Home learning reading programme, provided by SENCo, reviewed weekly.
- EPs providing brief therapy interventions.
- Specialist SEN Teachers providing advice and support to parents re autism, visual or hearing impairment or literacy.
- A SaLT delivering sessions via video link.
- An OT video linking to a child's home and modelling exercises that the parents could do with their child.
The WBC SEND Team have confirmed that they will continue to operate as normal and work towards meeting the 20 week timeframe for issuing EHCPs.
SEND Voices Wokingham would like to hear from you if you are having any issues with school, the Local Authority or Health which contradicts the guidance. We will raise this locally and through our reagional contact, directly to the DfE. Please email us at email@example.com. Your voice is our strength.
A joint ministerial letter from Minister Ford, Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and Minister Whately, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care, to children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers, has also been published. This letter outlines the steps taken and a commitment to ensuring that delivering support for children and young people with SEND remains a priority.
The letter also emphasises that co-production, partnerships and communication remain key aspects of any work done to support the SEND community. The letter can be read here: Joint DHSC & DFE Ministerial Letter
You may have also heard that some areas have taken the decision to implement 'Care Act easements.' This means that the duties under the Care Act (which apply to young people aged 18 - 25 years with additional support needs) will be relaxed. As it stands currently this has not happened in Wokingham and services delivered under the Care Act are still operating as expected. Further information about what the Care Act easements cover is available on the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronav...
The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) have also issued a statement on the SEND easements which can be read here: http://www.nnpcf.org.uk/coronavirus-act-send-easem...