The ‘C’ in Education, Health and Care planning: what are the implications of the SEN Code of Practice for care professionals?

NYPACT representative – Helen Seth

Presenters – Karl Podmore and Maggie Wood

This workshop consisted of a short overview by the presenters and then discussion in small groups of 4 areas which was then fed back in brief summary to the group.

It aimed to look at EHC plans from the perspective of children open to the disabled child team. Karl noted that an interesting statistic was that overall, children were in school for 15 % of their time with the remainder spent t home or in other settings. He proposed that social workers had a good perspective to offer to EHCPs as they are the only professionals to see children in a variety of settings both with and without parents/carers. He said that assessments are already holistic which makes them well placed to look beyond a single agency focus and he believes that they are already outcome based and person centred. He also said that social care already have experience offering direct payments and personal budgets but that they need to focus more on aspirations, particularly surrounding employment and accommodation. 

The group was then asked to consider

  • The advantages and weaknesses of implementing the EHCP
  • What changes in culture need to be made in order to effectively implement it
  • How to keep children and young people at the centre
  • How this approach can improve transitions

Our groups discussions mainly revolved around the challenges of empowering all concerned including parents and children and young people to have an effective voice. We also discussed the need to ensure, particularly with very young children and children with severe communications disabilities, that we are actually presenting the child or young person’s opinions not projecting our own ideas of what they think. One group member felt that as well as the workforce receiving training that children should also receive training in how to get the best from the process.

Other identified advantages were that the local offer would identify gaps in provision, that this was a move away from a deficit model, and that this would hopefully reduce duplication for parents. Weaknesses mention were the use of language/jargon specific to one area may not be understood by others.

A further discussion from another group raised the fact that looked after children and those with protection plans would still have multiple plans and it was queried whether at some point all children could have just one plan. It was ultimately noted though that the EHCP would simplify matters for 75% of children open to the disabled child team and would not create any additional difficulties for the remaining 25%.

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