Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS)

IASS - Your questions answered

Due to the legal updates relating to Covid-19 and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) have been updated in the form of factsheets.

How can IASS help me?

IASS provide factual, impartial and confidential information, advice and support based on the law and government guidance. The ways we can help you are:

  • Face to face, by telephone or email.
  • Listen to you and help you put your thoughts together.
  • Help preparing for meetings and attend alongside you if needed.
  • Help expressing your views.
  • Help to participate in decisions made about your child's education, health and social care.
  • Help you to understand the education, health and social care systems.
  •  Help you with complaints and mediation/appeals.
  • Signpost you to services that might be useful to you.

What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • Has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • Has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

What is special educational provision?

SEN provision is support that is additional to or different from that normally available to children or young people of the same age, which is designed to help them be able to access their lessons at school or at college.

All settings should adopt a Graduated approach with the four stages of action: Assess-Plan-Do-Review.

What is the next stage if progress is not made?

If a child or young person is not making expected progress over a period of time the school or college may decide at the review stage to consult with external professionals such as an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, etc.  They will give advice and suggestions on ways to support your child or young person. During this time, you should be informed what is happening.

What is an Education Health and care Needs Assessment?

An EHC needs assessment is a statutory assessment of the Educational, Health and Social Care needs of a child or young person. It has a deadline of 20 weeks from start to finish.

Where, despite the school having taken relevant action to identify, assess and meet the SEN of the child or young person, they have not made expected progress, the school, parents or young person over the age of 16 should consider requesting an Educational, Health and Care needs assessment.

The Local Authority will expect to see evidence of the support given to the child or young person by the school or college to help them make their decision to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment or not.

A statutory EHC needs assessment is a required step towards the obtaining of an EHC Plan. A Plan cannot be issued unless the child or young person has been through the assessment process.  For more information see our factsheet.

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

An EHC Plan is a legal document that must contain details of the child or young person's special educational needs, the outcomes that they will achieve and what special educational provision they must have. It will also contain health and social care information related to their special educational needs or learning difficulties.

My child is being assessed for an EHCP but does not have a school place, what should I do?

As there is no guarantee that after an EHC Needs Assessment an EHCP will be issued you should still follow the admission process for mainstream schools.

My child has been put on a part-time timetable, is it legal?

In exceptional circumstances, and with parental consent, a child can be placed on a part-time table. However, this must be for a limited time and have an end date. It is commonly used for children with SEN to ease them into school (sometimes called transition) and allow them time to get used to the school day a little bit at a time.

If the school are using this as a long-term solution, then this is not legal. It may be necessary to consider an EHC Needs Assessment. If the child already has an EHCP an early annual review should be held to amend the EHCP so that the child can attend full-time.

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