Question: How are the new SEN provisions going to affect post-16 education for statemented children? At the moment I am getting a huge amount of pressure to send my statemented child into a mainstream college even though the LA has not proposed ceasing his statement. It is a complete nightmare as I am the one that is told to look at the special needs provision offered in college when I want him to carry on in 6th form with a statement
IPSEA’s answer: If these draft provisions are enacted, and your child has an EHC plan in place that specifies the provision needed to meet their SEN, then it should not matter whether they are placed in a school or Further Education setting. The LA will remain responsible for ensuring that provision is made. You would have a right of appeal if the LA amended the Plan to name a college instead of a school and you did not agree with decision.
Under the current legislation, the LA must not cease to maintain the statement against your wishes until they are sure that the college can make the provision your child needs, or that the statement has run its course and he no longer needs one. They should have done a learning difficulties assessment or have had evidence from an annual review to be sure of either of these facts.
If they do not propose to cease the statement, and it specifies a school in Part 4, then your child must stay at that school: the LA cannot send him to a college while he has a statement naming a school or describing school as the type of placement he should attend. Currently you can write to the LA stating that you want your child to remain in a school setting post 16 and say where. The LA need to issue a cease to maintain notice to send him to a college and this decision can be appealed at the SEND Tribunal. If you have to appeal to the Tribunal against the cease to maintain decision, the statement stays in place until the appeal is determined, so the LA must continue to send him to the school named in the statement at least till then. It is currently a good idea to get the decision from the LA in good time to allow any appeal to be decided before the end of the summer term before transfer and to tell the Tribunal that it is a transfer appeal.