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Disclosing, Maintaining and Amending Statements

SEN Code of Practise 2001 Statements

Keeping, Disclosure and Transfer of Statements

A statement must not be disclosed without the consent of the parents or if the child is over 18, except for statutory purposes or in the interests of the child.

Statutory purposes could be for example:

" Disclosure to SEN Tribunal
" Complaint to secretary of state
" Disclosure to OFFSTED inspection teams.

The interests of a child could include:

" Information to the child's school and teachers
" School governing bodies, who should bear in mind the need for confidentiality
" Other agencies that may be referred to in the statement.

When the responsibility changes from one LEA to another, the old LEA must transfer the statement to the new one, upon transfer the new LEA becomes responsible for maintaining the statement and for providing any provisions specified. The duty to maintain the child in the school specified in Part 4 also transfers to the new LEA. They may though place the child temporarily at another school if it's appropriate and sensible to do, for instance if it's too far between the child's new home and school prior to the statement being amended.

If changing LEA's, they may on transfer of the statement bring forward any arrangements made for an annual review and may conduct a new assessment, regardless of when the previous one took place. They must inform parents within 6 weeks of the date of transfer when they will review the statement and whether they propose to make another assessment.

When a child moves to Northern Ireland or Scotland, the LEA should send a copy of the statement to the New Authority or board, and if the move is to Wales the statement must be transferred.

Maintenance of a Statement

When the statement is made the LEA should tell the "responsible person" in a maintained school, and the Head Teacher in all other schools and early education settings. The child's SEN must be made known to all who teach them. Schools should ensure that teachers monitor and informally review the child's progress during the course of the year. Teachers should use both the normal curriculum and pastoral monitoring arrangements for all pupils as well as writing IEP's as appropriate. It is important that if a child's SEN needs change, a review is held as soon as possible to ensure the provision specified in the statement is still appropriate.

Ceasing to Maintain the Statement

Once a statement has been made, it does not mean that it will be maintained indefinitely. But a decision to stop maintaining it should be made only after careful consideration of all the circumstances and close consultation with parents. The LEA should consider the results of the annual reviews and whether the child's needs can be met in future within the school's resources, without the need for continuing LEA oversight. They should also consider, in spite of any achievements of some or all of the objectives of the statement, if the child's progress will be halted or reversed if the special educational provision was stopped.

The LEA may consider the following when deciding if it is necessary to maintain a statement:

a. Have the objectives of the statement been met
b. Can the child's needs be met in future by the school's resources
c. Do the child's SEN needs no longer significantly impede access to the national curriculum
d. Does the child no longer require daily adult supervision or substantial adaptation of teaching materials to access the national curriculum fully?
e. Can the child cope with everyday interaction at school
f. Has the child no significant self-help difficulties that require more provision than is normally available within the school

Once again if the LEA make the decision to stop maintaining the statement, they must notify the parents of their right to appeal, time limits, parent partnership and disagreement resolutions services. The LEA must always explain the reasons for their decision and ensure parents receive copies of any evidence that led to their decision. It is also good practice to offer a meeting to explain and discuss the provision the child will receive once the statement ceases. Such a meeting should be held before the statement and the provision actually stops. Provision must be maintained if parents lodge an appeal to the SEN Tribunal and until the Tribunal makes its decision.

A statement will automatically lapse when the young person moves onto higher/further education. Meaning, if the young person, the parents, the LEA and the further education institution are all in agreement about the transfer of the young person, there would be no need to formally stop the statement as the pupil will no longer be the LEA's responsibility.

A young person may leave school at the age of 16 plus to seek employment or training, again the statement would cease automatically. However if there is agreement all rounds that the pupil should stay at school, and the LEA's have appropriate school provision, the LEA would normally continue to maintain the statement.

Where parents want their child to stay at school after 16, but the LEA thinks their needs would be met better in a further education institution, the LEA cannot know whether the child will still need a statement, until it has contacted the institution in question and confirmed that it is able to meet the needs and has actually offered a place. The LEA should be satisfied with both of these before taking formal steps to stop the statement. If the child's current school do not cater for 16 plus, the LEA should consider whether to amend the statement to name another school or cease it if an appropriate Further Educational Course is found. In both case this must be done formally and parents again notified of their right to appeal etc.

Amending an Existing Statement

When the LEA propose to amend a statement, either following an annual review, to change a named school or for any other reason, they must write to the parents informing them of their proposal, and of the parents rights to make representations about the statement and any amendments within 15 days of receipt of that proposal, and to request a meeting with an officer from the LEA.

For amendments following a re-assessment, the procedure is the same as when making a new statement.

For amendments following a review, LEA's must send parents an amendment notice, setting out details of their proposed amendments, explain the reasons and send copies of any evidence that prompted this step.

The LEA must consider any representations made by the parents before making any changes. If they decide to go ahead with the changes it must be done within 8 weeks of the notice being sent out to parents. If they decide not to amend anything, again they must inform parents explaining why within 8 weeks.

When a child moves schools within the same Local Education Authority, for example moving house or going from primary to secondary school, Part 4 of the statement will always need amending.

Once the statement is amended a new document must be issued clearly stating that it is an Amended Final Statement and the date it was amended. Additional advice, reports and minutes of reviews should be appended in the same way as the advice during the Statutory Assessment. When the child is moving schools the amendment in Part 4 should have both the current and the new placement with an appropriate start date for the new school, in order for parents, the child and the school receiving the child to have a chance to plan in advance of the transfer, and entitles the parents to appeal in good time if they disagree with the named school.

At phase transfers (except early education to the primary phase), the statement must be amended no later than 15th February in the year of the transfer.

by Trace from adders.org

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