Children and Families Bill Kids First Newsletter for

February Newsletter
PARENT OPEN EVENT - Friday, 28th February, 10am, Chaucer Centre, SM4 6PX
Do you have a child or young person with a
special educational need or a disability?
You will be affected by the Children and Families Bill Programme
What is it all about?
A project is underway to implement new laws that changes the way children or young people with Special Educational
Needs (SEN) receive services are supported. The new system is described in the Children and Families Bill, the
Associated Regulations and the draft SEN Code of Practice. These will start to be implemented from September 2014.
To decide what will happen in Merton, various people are working together including…
 Parents of children/young people with SEN or disabilities
 Young people with SEN or disabilities
 Merton schools, colleges, and early years/childcare
 Various health professionals
 Staff from the London Borough of Merton
 Many others such as employment, training &
voluntary sector services
Kids First (Merton’s forum for parents of children and young people with disabilities or special needs) is coordinating
parent involvement. This newsletter updates parents about progress so far. There will be another issue in the summer.
The Programme is currently split into 4 main areas (this will expand to 5 when work begins on Personal Budgets):
The Local Offer – published information about Merton’s services for children and young people with additional needs.
It will cover the support available in schools, health services, assessments for new Education, Health and Care Plans
(EHC Plans), leisure activities, under 5s services etc. The Offer will explain eligibility criteria and access
arrangements, where appropriate. For young people over 16, the Local Offer will also explain where to find help with
employment, apprenticeships, supported internships, work experience, volunteering, benefits and housing.
Assessments – the process for triggering an assessment for an EHC Plan (the replacement for statements of special
educational need & learning difficulty assessments/139As) and for gathering information. The child/young person and
their family will be much more in control and will be fully engaged during the process. When applicable, local health
and social care services will work together with education services to write and deliver the plans.
Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) – each Local Authority can design their own layout although the
required content is set out in law. The new system requires plans to contain challenging outcomes and measurable
targets and to consider the child or young person as a whole, including their strengths. There are also some new
ideas about independent support and advice for parents & young people and about how to sort out disagreements.
Preparation for Adulthood – EHC Plans can be in place from 0 up to age 25. This means that services such as
further education providers, employment support services, and adult social care need to be involved. Also, plans will
refer to a range of services that may be needed to help disabled and SEN young people to become successful adults.
The Local Offer – Where can I find it?
1. It will not be in a single document or website.
2. Each school must produce their own Local Offer.
3. Health and other providers will also have their own
sources of information.
4. Merton’s Local Offer link these all together.
5. It will be available in many formats including web,
paper, and other accessible formats.
6. It must explain to parents and young people how they
can obtain the services they need and, in most cases,
the criteria for accessing them.
For children without an EHC Plan, the Local Offer will be an
essential tool for finding and triggering services in schools,
FE Colleges, social care, short breaks, the voluntary sector,
employment, housing, leisure providers and more.
So far…a draft template has been created to be filled in by
all the schools and colleges that Merton might expect their
SEN children or young people to attend.
Parents and professionals are looking at the work done by
other Boroughs and using the best ideas. Parents are
thinking about which bits are absolutely essential to have
available this September.
Each school will need to say how it identifies a child with
SEN, how it engages with parents, how it monitors
progress, how it allocates funding for each SEN child out
of their grant, and how it uses outside services such as
educational psychology, therapists, autism specialists, and
health professionals.
Assessments – What are these and how will
they work?
Most SEN children and young people receive extra
support in school or college without needing a
statement of special educational needs or EHC Plan.
This is still the case. The Local Offer will contain the
information about how your child can access support
from a wide range of providers without an EHC Plan.
Children need an EHC Plan if their needs just cannot
be met by the services normally available at a school or
college either because it would cost too much or because
the child needs very specialist services that require
careful planning. Some children need to attend special
schools or colleges, and some require residential care,
and these have to be accessed via an EHC plan.
3. In the next 3 years, Micha will successfully complete
his apprenticeship at the horse-riding stables,
achieving level 2 BTEC in animal management. The
aim is for Micha to be offered a job at the stables or
to move into a similar job at the end of this period.
CURRENT statements will convert to EHC Plans over
the next 3 years and LDAs/139As over the next 2 years.
Preparation for Adulthood - What is a
successful adult?
Local Authorities now have 20 weeks instead of 26 to
produce an EHC Plan from the date a request for
assessment is made by parents or professionals.
A successful adult
• is employed, involved in education or training, or
has other positive activities to do during the day
• has somewhere suitable to live which allows them
to be as independent as possible
• has a social network and can take part in their
• can access health services (including preventative
screening, dentistry, opticians, nutrition advice, GPs
and hospitals)
Key workers will help families to understand the way it
works and to be fully involved in the plan. They will also
make sure that everyone who needs to support the child
or young person is invited to take part.
For disabled or SEN young people, making sure that
these outcomes are achieved requires the involvement
of many different agencies. Our work on this part of the
Bill may identify some important gaps in local provision.
The key workers might potentially be from education,
health or social care depending on the child’s needs
and their personal profile.
Post 16 transition is a difficult time when young people
are expected to become financially, legally and
emotionally less dependent on their parents or carers.
Parents and professionals are now working to come up
with an outline for this 20 week assessment period
and decide who has what role including parents, schools,
colleges, young people, professionals, key workers, SEN
teams, panels, health, social care and anyone else
involved with the child or young person.
Parents and professionals are trying to map out the
changes that happen between ages 16 and 25 and then
make sure that the Local Offer and EHC Plans include
the elements needed to avoid the “cliff edge” when
children’s services stop at around age 18.
EHC Plans - what will be in them?
We would like to use real examples to make sure that
we keep the good things from the old system and make
sure that the new system will be a real improvement.
Your information will be completely confidential.
An assessment is the way that information is
gathered for an EHC Plan.
EHC Plans need to contain a summary of the child or
young person including their skills and interests, family
life, and their main day to day challenges. This will help
families to only tell their story once.
EHC Plans have sections on health and social care as
well as education, if these are applicable.
EHC Plans must contain SMART outcomes (specific,
measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related)
Outcomes can be short, medium or long term.
1. By the end of the year, John will be able to match
words with pictures and be able to phonically identify
25, 3 letter words.
2. Over the next 2 years, Adi will learn to communicate
with adults via PECS, signing, and some verbal
sounds. Her kicking, crying and scratching will
decline to a maximum of once or twice per day.
We need YOUR story…
Please email or phone Kids First to let us know how
school or college has worked for your child, what the
assessment process was like, what information you have
been given or would have liked, who has helped you the
most, what the statementing process and annual reviews
were like, and how well your child was supported into
We need as many parents to be involved as
possible – please join us!
We need parents to come to the open meetings, to join
our regular workstream meetings or become pilot families
(meetings are during the school day – see the website)
Try it out just once on 28th Feb – come and find out more.
Please contact Tracy at Kids First on 020 8687 4644 or email [email protected]
More detailed information can be found on our website: or on
Merton’s Council’s Children and Families Bill website:
Merton Mencap. Registered Office Address: The Wilson Hospital, Cranmer Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 4TP
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