Following implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014, the Local Authority has responsibility for securing placements into post 16 educational settings for those young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan. This policy clarifies how decisions are made by the Local Authority which are in line with its duties specified within the SEND Code of Practice 2014.
The majority of young people with special educational needs are well supported by their mainstream schools and transfer successfully to a local mainstream college or training provider.
Most young people will be to access the additional support they require through provision that is already available. Some young people may require extra support that is delivered through an Education, Health and Care Plan.
There is a different process that young people need to follow when applying for a place at a college or training provider if they do have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) as the Local Authority is required to consult with the college or training provider once a preference is known. For young people with SEND but without an EHCP there is no need for the Local Authority to become involved and a young person will follow a college or training provider’s admission processes to get a place.
In exceptional circumstances a young person may request a more specialist college placement. Young people must have an Education, Health and Care plan to be considered for a specialist college place and there will need to be evidence that a local mainstream provider is unable to meet need.
The ultimate outcome of support and provision provided for those with SEND is to deliver greater independence and employability. This goal is supported through preparing for adulthood.
Preparing for adulthood’ means preparing for:
For the majority of young people who have SEND, these outcomes are best delivered through education and training provision delivered in a local mainstream setting where they are able to maintain connections with families, friends and local communities.
It is important to note that the Local Authority (LA) is required to take into account value for money considerations when making educational placement decisions involving requests for Independent Specialist Provision (ISP) and the LA can refuse if a placement would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources (Code of Practice 2014). The Local Authority will not confirm funding and commissioning decisions until the full costs and affordability of an educational placement have been considered in the light of the overall budget available. The total costs of the placement include the additional social and health care costs that might be needed.
In considering and securing an education programme, and with a view to maximising the efficient use of funds, the authority may look at pooling resources between different agencies, encouraging the formation of partnerships and building community capacity to secure appropriate funding from other agencies during the decision making process.
The local authority will liaise with other agencies/service areas to request funding to cover any health and social care costs associated with the placement. The local authority cannot guarantee that such funding will be forthcoming. Subject to budgetary constraints, confirmation of placement will be made and all relevant parties informed.
In the event that a local package of provision and support within a mainstream setting cannot be identified, a decision will be sought from the Local Authority’s 16-25 Transitions Panel. Decisions made by the Panel are based on the evidence presented. The Local Authority will convene the Panel before the end of March each year, where ever possible, but decisions will continue to be made after that date as and when required. The Panel will consist of appropriate senior officers across the service areas of Education, Health and Social Care.
When considering funding a day placement that is not mainstream local provision, the local authority will need to be satisfied, on the basis of the available evidence, that the majority of criteria below is met:
Requests for residential placements must also evidence that the assessment of the young person’s reasonable education or training needs demonstrates that an essential element can only be provided in a residential setting and that other provisions or packages of provision cannot meet those needs.
It is essential therefore that the evidence provided in support of any residential placement request is up-to-date (within last 12 months) and appropriate to the request being made. Evidence will need to demonstrate that the match between the aspirations of the young person, their identified reasonable education and training needs and the learning programme is only available through a residential provision. Sources of the evidence include:
Required evidence is as follows:
The list is not exhaustive and the local authority may wish to seek additional relevant and up to date information depending on the individual circumstances of the young person.
Whilst the local authority will endeavour to take account of the wishes of young people and their parents/carers, it does not have a legal duty to fund the independent specialist provision of their choice, if it is satisfied that it can secure adequate provision locally. The local authority will automatically seek a view from a local mainstream provider it feels can meet the young person needs where an ISP application has been made. A parent/ carer/ young person may also look to develop a personalised bespoke package of provision and support in a local setting(s) to meet the young person’s needs/aspirations.
Should the young person and his/her parents or carers still not be satisfied with the decision, they have the right to appeal against the decision and should follow the SEND appeals process.
The Information Advice and Support Service (IASS) formerly known as the Parent Partnership Service provides impartial advice, support and information. The service provides opportunities to talk through any concerns you have and to help you prepare for discussions in addition to attending meetings and visiting provision with you if you wish.
Telephone: 01952 457176
Confirmation of continuing placements for existing young persons will be made on the basis of the annual review of progress for each young person. This review will be undertaken by the ISP in partnership with the Local Authorities SEND Team and post 16 Commissioning Lead and other relevant agencies as required. The annual review will consider how best to support a young person’s transition back into their local community and will therefore look to develop a personalised bespoke package of provision and support in a local setting(s) to meet the young person’s needs/aspirations on a year by year basis.
Whilst it is acknowledged that the total length of an individual young person’s programme may be in excess of one year, the funding of a young person’s placement will only be confirmed for the duration of one academic year and will be subject to on-going satisfactory progress, evidenced by annual review reports produced by the ISP.
It is expected that the young person complete their programme within the time frame initially agreed and requests to extend an individual student placement beyond the duration of the programme’s original end date will only be granted in exceptional circumstances e.g. where a young person has been unable to complete his/her learning aims due to exceptional and unexpected medical reasons.
The majority of young people with EHC Plans complete further education with their peers by the age 19, and our expectation is that this will be the case. Requests post 19 will only be considered on a case by case basis in exceptional circumstances in line with the SEND Code of Practice.
Requests to change a young person’s level of funding will only be considered in exceptional circumstances following submission of evidence at an annual review. The changes must be discussed and agreed with the local authority before amendments are put in place.