In the summer of 2014, the government embarked upon one of the most detailed reviews of the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms (SEND) for nearly 30 years. If you foster, this is important since the expectation for children and young people with SEND needs, is exactly the same for all young people. This is that during their early years at school and then in college, they reach their full potential: that, in short, they achieve.he expectation for children and young people with SEND needs, is exactly the same for all young people. This is that during their early years at school and then in college, they reach their full potential: that, in short, they achieve. If they fail to do this, they cannot go on to lead happy and fulfilled lives. As a result of changes being made to the reforms, new legal duties were placed on local authorities, this meant that from September 1st 2014:
No new Statements of SEN (Special Educational Needs were to be written
Existing Statements of SEN were to be transferred to an EHC plan (Education Health Care)
A local offer was to be published outlining local and national services that parents/carer can access
A Transition Plan for the transfer of SEN Statements to the EHC plan is to be completed by April 2018
So as 2016 draws to a close, it is likely that people who foster will now be reasonably familiar with the EHCP (Education, Health Care Plan) as well as the PEP (Personal Education Plan). Before they existed there had simply not been enough emphasis on including the participation, wishes and views of children and young people – as well as their parents and foster carers.
In essence, then, both the EHCP and the PEP exist to guide, support and facilitate the journey of a young person through their education. The vision is that they will play a major role in preparing; indeed even forming a young person, to make a success of fitting into the adult world.
If you foster, it is useful to know that the SEND reforms have also had consequences for schools themselves. Changes have been instigated in the planning and assessment for educational establishments. The approach taken is graduated so as to identify and meet Special Educational Needs. SEN is about putting in place support which is based on an ongoing series of actions which consist of planning, assessment and deliberation and review. So where the SEN support structures have been put in place and the child or young person has failed to make the required progress, the option to ask for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment exists.
The Education, Health and Care Plan, encompasses:
the bringing of a child or young person’s education, health and social care needs into one single legal document;
the EHCP is person centred with particular focus on outcomes;
the age range of an EHC is 0 – 25
focus is also given to the feelings, wishes and aspirations of a child or young person;
the intention is that the voice of a child or young person will be strongly represented;
for a foster child, the assessment is to be carried out by the local authority where the child lives (it may be that this is not the same one as looks after the child).
The Personal Education Plan operational criteria:
each ‘looked after child’ will have their own Care Plan. This will set out how the care needs of a child or young person will be met by the local authority;
every Local Authority will have a responsibility for ‘looked after children’: each authority will be that child’s corporate parent;
the Care Plan must include both a Health Plan and a Personal Education Plan which will address the child or young person’s health and education needs;
it should be remembered that these assessments may identify a child or young person’s SEN;
SEN professionals are expected to work with all other professionals who have an involvement in the life of a child, as a consequence of their ‘looked after’ status;
all the maintained schools, including free schools and academies have to appoint a teacher for ‘looked after children’. This person hasn’t to liaise closely with SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator) to ensure all staff understand the implications of a child being looked after as well as having SEN;
it is essential that any child or young person is involved – along with their foster carers and where appropriate their parents – with any decisions related to the planning process.
Considering you might foster children? Then explore ‘Rainbow Rewards’
At Rainbow fostering services we pay a bonus of £500, so if you can refer someone to be a carer: you’ll receive the money once your referral has gone ahead and been approved – and the first placement has been accepted. Foster carers who are transferring to the Rainbow can also benefit from a bonus once approved to foster with us: this will be a payment made for foster carers who already look after youngsters on a long-term basis.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…we have had some great feedback from some of the children at our ‘Children’s Awards’ held in November: specifically, those who had the talent and nerve to wield a microphone and get up and sing to all those assembled, have got back to us registering their interest to participate in our forthcoming music workshops.
More Fostering News – to keep you informed and up to date
To catch up with this and other recent news items relating to fostering children and our people, visit: http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK