- We are pleased to announce that the Government have now confirmed that the temporary notices in relation to s42 Children and Families Act 2014, issued in May, June and July, have now expired. On 1 August 2020 (which coincided with Yorkshire Day, a happy day all round!) for the first time since May, s42 Children and Families Act 2014 has come back into full force. That means that there is an absolute duty on local authorities once again to secure the provision in Section F of all EHC Plans. The updated guidance can be seen HERE. As we have previously reported, the government have said that they are not planning on issuing further national notices (“unless evidence changes”) and instead may issue further local notices if local lockdowns come into force.
- In related news, the High Court this week heard a judicial review application in relation to the failure to consult regarding the modification to s42. Judgement will be handed down asap and we will update this blog when the judgement is released.
- The Conservative MP who leads the Education Select Committee has responded to the government’s latest response to the Committee’s report. His response can be found HERE. He believes that the government response was inadequate and a “tick box exercise” – he plans to question the education secretary about the response over the summer.
- The Local Government Ombudsman has released its annual review of complaints, please see HERE. Shockingly, 91% (!!) of complaints about EHCPs are upheld by the LGO. The Ombudsman’s comments about this bears repeating in full:Two years on from sharing our experience of the first one hundred investigations into complaints about Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans our evidence suggests a system in crisis, which is getting worse. We reveal we are upholding an unprecedented 9 out of every 10 investigations and raise concerns about authorities gatekeeping services by changing eligibility criteria and basing some decisions on financial cost rather than meeting assessed need. Serious issues we highlight include severe delays when issuing an EHC plan, failing to anticipate local needs, poor communication and preparation for meetings, and lack of oversight by senior staff.
- Statistics have been released by the government relating to exclusions READ HERE and disappointingly, exclusion rates are higher for children with SEN (both with and without an EHCP) than those without SEN. These are disappointing figures which, in our eyes, signify a failure of support. We are sure that a high proportion of those being excluded with SEN have unmet needs.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child's education, contact our SEN Lawyers today for free initial advice: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01926 354704.