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Visual Impairment :
Special Educational Needs
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THE STRUCTURE OF THE EHCP

The EHCP document is divided into 12 sections. Explanations and details of the contents of each section are described in paragraph 9.69 of the SEN Code of Practice. It is important to remember that this is statutory guidance which the LA MUST follow.

A
The views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or of the young person
B
The child or young person’s special educational needs (SEN)
C
The child or young person’s health needs which relate to their SEN
D
The child or young person’s social care needs which relate to their SEN
E
The outcomes sought for the child or the young person
F
The special educational provision required by the child or the young person
G
Any health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN
H1
Any social care provision which must be made for a child or young person under 18 resulting from section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDPA)
H2
Any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN
I
Placement
J
Personal Budget (including arrangements for direct payments)
K
Advice and information

 

ANALYSING EDUCATION, HEALTH AND CARE PLANS

Guidance about the contents of the EHCP is given in chapter 9 of the SEN Code of Practice (the detail is in paragraph 9.69).

The LA may produce provisional EHCPs for initial consultation and will then issue a draft EHCP which is sent to parents/carers for their comments. The draft has a specific meaning in the SEN Code of Practice. it represents the version of the EHCP that the LA recommends should be finalised. However parents/carers have the opportunity to comment on its contents and submit requested amendments. The LA cannot make any further amendments of their own unless they reissue the draft which then provides a further period for parents/carers to request amendments. Section 9.125 of the SEN COP states :

When changes are suggested to the draft EHC plan by the child’s parent or the young person and agreed by the local authority, the draft plan should be amended and issued as the final EHC plan as quickly as possible. The final EHC plan can differ from the draft EHC plan only as a result of any representations made by the child’s parent or the young person (including a request for a Personal Budget) and decisions made about the school or other institution (or type of school or other institution) to be named in the EHC plan. The local authority must not make any other changes – if the local authority wishes to make other changes it must re-issue the draft EHC plan to the child’s parent or the young person (see paragraph 9.77). The final EHC plan should be signed and dated by the local authority officer responsible for signing off the final plan.

he schedule gives guidance on analysing the EHCP, asking questions about the contents and drafting amendments to ensure that the EHCP will result in appropriate provision being made to fully support the pupil's needs.

It is our belief that only by producing a detailed EHCP which explains the pupil's condition and special educational needs in detail and in a way that school staff can understand and which has SMART outcomes and fully specified and quantified provision will ensure that needs are met and the pupil will be able to achieve his/her potential.

Request an electronic copy of the EHCP for amendments to be made in. The SEND tribunal has a convention for making amendments which should be used, bold type for additional text and existing text to be deleted shown as bold, strikethrough.

Normal type

Original statement

Underlined text/strikethrough

Amendments/deletions agreed by both parties

Bold type

Parents' proposed amendments

Bold strikethrough

Parents' proposed deletions

Italic type

LA's proposed amendments

Italic strikethrough

LA's proposed deletions

 

EVIDENCE

The information, outcomes and provision included in an EHCP must be based on evidence, such as assessments and reports from professionals such as doctors, opthalmogists, occupational therapists, QTVIs, school staff etc., so it is essential to make sure you have all the relevant documents and a summary of what each describes, diagnoses or recommends.

Collect all the relevant medical and assessment reports that you have. Sort them to so that you have latest reports and any which include diagnoses, descriptions, recommendations etc.

Make a note of the important information on each one. This may be a diagnosis, descriptions of symptoms or effects, recommendations etc.

Check that the description in section B is up to date and accurate and includes all aspects of your child’s condition. It is common that, as a child grows and becomes more mature, descriptions and details of attainment become out of date and do need to be amended.

Medical assessment reports and letters are particularly important as they form the basis of the contents of section B of the EHC plan. This, in turn, determines the provision made by the local authority. Many of these documents are written by consultants for other specialists and use specialised, technical language. They need to be analysed to summarise the recommendations made and how these affect the educational provision that needs to be made.

The table below is an example of a table that could be used to do this

Condition

Report details
Document reference
Report recommendations
Educational provision requirements
eg. visual impairment
Date, origin, author etc.
Give the document a identifying reference number
Summarise the report's recommendations and findings
Summarise the provision needs to be made at school to fulfill the recommendations
         


Click to download a sample evidence table (This opens in a new window).

ANALYSING EDUCATION, HEALTH AND CARE PLANS

SECTION A
The views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or of the young person

The SEN Code of Practice states that section A should include :

Details about the child or young person’s aspirations and goals for the future (but not details of outcomes to be achieved – see section above on outcomes for guidance). When agreeing the aspirations, consideration should be given to the child or young person’s aspirations for paid employment, independent living and community participation.

Details about play, health, schooling, independence, friendships, further education and future plans including employment (where practical).

A summary of how to communicate with the child or young person and engage them in decision-making.

The child or young person’s history.

If written in the first person, the plan should make clear whether the child or young person is being quoted directly, or if the views of parents or professionals are being represented.

This section can vary considerably. Much depends on information provided by parents, the child and the school/nursery. It is important that the information is accurate and up-to-date. In the days of statements the content was updated when the statement was reissued, usually at phase transfer, so we came across descriptions of 10 year old children which referred to being potty-trained !

Check that the descriptions and statements give a rounded picture of the child. Is there anything that is out of date, inaccurate or inadequately stated ?

Are the child's social environment (family and friends) accurate ?

Is his/her history/background correct ?

Does the child's personality come across clearly ?

Are all of the child's likes/dislikes, attitudes, aptitudes etc., accurately and fully described ?

Are his/her preferences, aims and ambitions fully described ?

SECTION B
The child or young person's special educational needs (SEN)

The SEN Code of Practice states that section B should include :

All of the child or young person’s identified special educational needs must be specified.

SEN may include needs for health and social care provision that are treated as special educational provision because they educate or train the child or young person.

This is a type of diagnosis, so that details of each and every one of the child’s special educational needs are identified and described, following the LEA’s statutory assessment and the advice they received which will be listed in section K and attached as appendices to the EHC plan.

Children with multiple disabilities and visual impairments will have a complex variety of sensory, physical and learning difficulties. For sighted children approximately 80 per cent of learning is vision based and so a child without sight will need to find compensatory ways of learning and this can be particularly difficult for those children who also have additional needs. A child’s potential to learn may also be difficult to recognise because the consequences of her visual impairment may hide that potential. Children with visual impairment often have additional needs and may have difficulty in achieving his/her educational potential

  • optimising his/her access to the curriculum
  • optimising his/her expressive and receptive communication skills
  • achieving an appropriate sense of self and self-esteem
  • optimising his/her social skills
  • optimising his/her autonomy (intellectual, physical, social)

It is very important that the descriptions of all conditions and special needs are accurately and fully described within the various sections (Motor, Educational, Communication, Sensory etc.) as the outcomes in section E and the provision and help described in sections F, G and H depend on section B. The appendices included in section K should include all the relevant reports and documents that the LEA used during their assessment of needs.

Staff working with the child will use section B as the basis for thinking about his/her needs, while the LEA is legally required to specify provision in section F to meet the needs identified in section B and enable the child to achieve the outcomes described in section E. Often this section contains paragraphs copied from specialist reports which are difficult for school staff to understand. It is essential that the language and terminology used is appropriate for the EHCP's target, i.e. school staff. This is an example of specialist terminology copied into section B, which is probably meaningless and unhelpful to most school staff :

Investigations have identified that he has a translocation of 46XY inversion (4) (Q21; Q35) -?silencing of key genes near proximal breaking point.

Use the electronic copy of the EHCP to show the amendments that you want.

Remember that each identified need in Section B must be matched with an outcome in Section E and provision in Section F, so it is often useful with severely visually impaired pupils to add a summary of needs and consequences to the end of Section B, for example :

As a consequence of his visual impairment and without sufficient and appropriate targeted support, Barney will have difficulty in:

Achieving his educational potential
Accessing the curriculum on a par with his peers
Achieving age and ability appropriate interaction and communication with his peers
Achieving and maintaining an appropriate self-esteem
Achieving age appropriate independence skills, for example intellectually, physically and socially
Achieving successful integration and inclusion within his peer group.

 

SECTION C
The child or young person’s health needs which relate to their SEN

The EHC plan must specify any health needs identified through the EHC needs assessment which relate to the child or young person’s SEN. Some health care needs, such as routine dental health needs, are unlikely to be related.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) may also choose to specify other health care needs which are not related to the child or young person’s SEN (for example, a long-term condition which might need management in a special educational setting).

There are a number of children and young people whose visual impairment is part of a more complex condition and who have additional health issues which can affect their education. In many cases the school with have to put a health care plan in place. It is important that it is accurate and up to date information is provided to the LA/school.

It is important to only include details which specifically relate to the child's special educational needs. A child with a complex condition could have symptoms which have no impact on his/her education. If the symptoms could have an impact in the future then they should be included.

With children with severe and profound needs (PMLD) it can be difficult to separate out the aspects of the condition which contribute to special educational needs, and part of the child's provision at school may include medical treatment such as hydrotherapy or physiotherapy. In these cases include all aspects of the condition and treatment.

The prognosis for the future should be included, i.e. is the child's condition stable or will it change in the future ?

If it is changing how will it change and how will treatment change and how will it affect the child's special educational needs ?

 

SECTION D
The child or young person’s social care needs which relate to their SEN

The EHC plan must specify any social care needs identified through the EHC needs assessment which relate to the child or young person’s SEN or which require provision for a child or young person under 18 under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

The local authority may also choose to specify other social care needs which are not linked to the child or young person’s SEN or to a disability. This could include reference to any child in need or child protection plan which a child may have relating to other family issues such as neglect. Such an approach could help the child and their parents manage the different plans and bring greater co-ordination of services. Inclusion must only be with the consent of the child and their parents.

The LA will obtain details of social care needs through their statutory assessment process but any additional social care information can only be included with the parents' agreement. As this can be sensitive and confidential many parents choose for it not to be included.

If there are social care issues you should decide whether the information would support the child in school and help meet the child's special educational needs.

 

SECTION E
The outcome sought for the child or young person

In statements of Special Education Need the first section of Part 3 included a set of objectives. These were often not specifically focused on the pupil and were often vague and aspirational, e.g. to provide access to the curriculum taking into account the effects of visual impairment. In an EHCP the outcome differs from an objective. The SEN COP explains what is intended in paragraph 9.66

An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention. It should be personal and not expressed from a service perspective; it should be something that those involved have control and influence over, and while it does not always have to be formal or accredited, it should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART).

For every identified need in section B, C and D there must be corresponding outcomes in Section E

List of needs
identified in
sections B,C and D
Red arrow pointing from left to right
Outcomes
described
in section E

Check all of the outcomes. Are all aspects of the needs identified in Sections B, C and D represented be outcomes in this section ?

Are the outcomes SMART ? They should be specific, i.e. clear and unambiguous, have an aspect which is measurable, be achievable by the pupil, given his/her condition, abilities and needs, realistic and there should be a specified time span, e.g. be the end of year 6, by the end of key stage 2.

Some outcomes are written as "on-going". Look at these carefully. Can they be written in a more specific and time-related way ? These are examples of curriculum access outcomes for a severely visually impaired pupil starting in secondary school :

By the end of key stage 3 Barney will have accessed the full curriculum, on a par with his sighted peers, using differentiated and modified resources and work that is meaningful to him.

By the end of key stage 3 he will achieve National Curriculum levels in all subjects that are consistent with his age and ability.

 

If the outcomes in the EHCP are not SMART then you can object to a specific outcome proposing an amendment which is SMART, or object to all of them requesting that the LA redrafts all of them in line with the statutory requirements.

A request for a specific amendment, showing the original deleted (not SMART) text and the parents' SMART amendment :

Barney will have social interaction and social skills so that he can interact and play with his peers.

By the end of year 7 Barney will have accessed all of the extra-curricular activities, sports and opportunities that he chooses.

An example of a complaint/request letter :

SECTION E

Section E is inadequate as the outcomes fail to meet the requirements of the SEN Code of Practice (2014). They should not be drafted as if they were objectives in a statement of special educational need and should be redrafted using the guidance in the SEN Code of Practice. We have serious concerns about these outcomes.

In the SEN Code of Practice, Paragraph 9.66 states :

An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention. It should be personal and not expressed from a service perspective; it should be something that those involved have control and influence over, and while it does not always have to be formal or accredited, it should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART). When an outcome is focused on education or training, it will describe what the expected benefit will be to the individual as a result of the educational or training intervention provided. Outcomes are not a description of the service being provided – for example the provision of three hours of speech and language therapy is not an outcome. In this case, the outcome is what it is intended that the speech and language therapy will help the individual to do that they cannot do now and by when this will be achieved.

SMART comes from the November 1981 issue of Management Review which contained a paper by George T. Doran called There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives

Specific – The criterion stresses the need for a specific outcome rather than a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous.

Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress. A measurable outcome will usually answer questions such as: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished? Indicators should be quantifiable

Achievable – outcomes should be appropriate to the child/young person and within his/her capabilities.

Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.

Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

These outcomes are not SMART. They must be redrafted to that they meet the statutory requirements.

The outcomes should match the special educational needs described in Section B, so for every special educational need there should be an equivalent outcome in Section E and there should also be related provision in Section F.

 

SECTION F
The special educational provision required by the child or the young person

If section B represents the diagnosis then section F is the treatment, i.e. the measures, support and provision that will be put in place to ensure that the pupil's special educational needs are met in full, that the outcomes will be achieved and the pupil will achieve his/her full potential.

The SEN Code of Practice gives clear and unambiguous guidance about the statutory guidance for drafting provision, though it is our experience that the guidance is often ignored. On page 166 of the SEN Code of Practice it states :

  • Provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise, including where this support is secured through a Personal Budget.

  • Provision must be specified for each and every need specified in section B. It should be clear how the provision will support achievement of the outcomes.

  • Where health or social care provision educates or trains a child or young person, it must appear in this section.

  • There should be clarity as to how advice and information gathered has informed the provision specified. Where the local authority has departed from that advice, they should say so and give reasons for it.

  • In some cases, flexibility will be required to meet the changing needs of the child or young person including flexibility in the use of a Personal Budget.

    The plan should specify

  • any appropriate facilities and equipment, staffing arrangements and curriculum

  • any appropriate modifications to the application of the National Curriculum, where relevant

  • any appropriate exclusions from the application of the National Curriculum or the course being studied in a post-16 setting, in detail, and the provision which it is proposed to substitute for any such exclusions in order to maintain a balanced and broadly based curriculum

  • where residential accommodation is appropriate, that fact

  • where there is a Personal Budget, the outcomes to which it is intended to contribute (detail of the arrangements for a Personal Budget, including any direct payment, must be included in the plan and these should be set out in section J).

 

The key paragraph is the first, which states that the provision must have specificity and quantification. Vague sentences which lack specific detail are unacceptable. The provision can be described in general terms using unspecific terms which do not commit the LA to very much at all. Poorly specified and quantified descriptions of provision are ambiguous and can result in disputes about how support should be made. Clear, detailed and unambiguous provision is needed so that everyone involved with the pupil understands exactly what provision will be made. Provision which includes phrases such as "opportunities to ..." or "access to ..." are too vague and unacceptable. All provision must be specific and quantified.

There are various reasons for issuing an EHCP with vague statements of provision; the LA may lack appropriate staff, have budgetary constraints, lack expertise in writing EHCPs or be uncertain about the provision that is required. It is essential that the statement is very specific about the provision that is required to address the child’s needs and difficulties. It is unacceptable for an LA or a school to use funding issues as a reason for denying the support or resources that a VI pupil needs.

The provision in this section should relate directly to the outcomes in section E, and answer the questions what, who, how, where, when, how long ? Provision must have specificity and quantification. Statements of provision such as “Barney will receive mobility and independence training as appropriate” are unacceptable as no indication is given of the nature, frequency or length of training to be given.

To be clear about the amount and the nature of the help that a child will receive, we need answer the following questions : What type of help does the child actually need to achieve the outcomes and how will it be provided ?

You can use the questions in the blue sections and the examples to analyse the provision in Section F and prepare amendments to the EHCP, adding them to the electronic version.

Differentiation of the curriculum

The curriculum will need to be modified in either its organisation, content or method of delivery for a visually impaired child to access it and achieve his/her full potential. For normally sighted pupils the majority of the information picked up, consciously or sub-consciously, is done so visually. Incidents of concepts, information and work being presented in a thoughtlessly inaccessible manner are common, and visually impaired pupils usually have to acquire difficult additional skills, brailling and touch typing, and, as a consequence, will usually take longer to complete tasks than there sighted peers. Good differentiation can be time-consuming and needs effective planning.

Is the whole National Curriculum appropriate or will there need to be modifications to its application ?

Is the curriculum/subject content going to be differentiated in an appropriate way, e.g. using multi-sensory resources ?

Is adequate time allowed for planning and production of appropriate resources ?

Who will be responsible for differentiation and for producing all of the additional resources needed ?

How will the additional resources be funded ? Is a personal budget appropriate ?

Does the child have access to extra-curricular activities and opportunities ?

An example of a general statement of provision for a severely visually impaired child could read :

Barney will have full access to the curriculum, including the National Curriculum, on a par with his sighted peers. The work will be differentiated so that it is all accessible and meaningful to him. This will require careful planning of topics and work to ensure that the content is relevant and meaningful and all work will be modified using tactile codes, tactile diagrams and graphs and audio resources, prepared in advance of lessons,  so that it is both accessible and achievable.

This recognizes that the modification of the curriculum needs to include content and the overall organization of work as well enlargement or brailling of work. All work must be accessible and meaningful.

Additional support

Most visually impaired pupils will need additional support from a qualified teacher for the visually impaired (QTVI), mobility officers, specialist teachers or learning support assistants. This supports access to the curriculum that should be on a par with other pupils and helps to overcome the impact of visual impairment on the child’s attainment. The learning support assistant should be helping the child become intellectually autonomous while giving support. Often the LSA will give the VI child prompts to complete work to help him/her complete tasks on time, and so can, unwittingly, create a type of intellectual dependence. Remember that the support must be clearly specified and quantified.

LAs can not state that provision will be quantified in the future following an assessment. The example below is from a recent draft EHCP and is unacceptable. The LA should complete assessments before issuing the EHCP. Such statements remove the parent's opportunity to challenge the provision or lodge an appeal as the assessment and provision will probably be completed after the two month limit for appeals. :

Orientation, mobility and independent living skills will be assessed and a program developed as appropriate by the Rehabilitation and Mobility Officer at the Sensory Support Team.

Additionally it can not specify support through a type of school unit as this could predetermine the placement in Section I, for example :

A small group teaching situation, in specialist VI unit attached to a mainstream secondary school, with staff experienced in meeting the needs of pupils with severe visual impairment.

Will specialist teachers/specialists be needed, e.g. QTVI, mobility, occupational therapist, speech and language specialist? How often ? How long will sessions be ? Will he/she work directly with the child or just advise the school ?

Are learning support staff allocated ?

Are specialist teaching programmes, Braille and touch typing, necessary ?

Is this help being offered ?

Who will give the help ?

Do the staff giving additional help need particular training, experience or qualifications ?

Do other classroom teachers and support workers such as LSAs understand the child’s medical condition and special educational needs ?

Will they be given additional training ? If so by who, when, how often ?

How many hours of extra help are there and are they clearly quantified ?

Is the extra help sufficient ?

Does this cover non-teaching times ?

How often will the additional help be made available ?

What teaching strategies will staff use ?

Who will co-ordinate and monitor the strategies that teachers use ?

Will teaching be individual, 1:1, or in small groups ?

If in groups, how big will they be, and what needs will other members of the group have, and is the support for the individual child or for the whole group ?

How is the effectiveness of the help being monitored ?

How often will progress be monitored ?

How are parents involved ? Is there a formal consultative process ?

There is an overlap here with sections G, H1 and H2, if provision is needed during the school day, so details of health provision can also be stated in G. Children with complex conditions may have medical needs that require treatment during the school day, or which have an impact on their attendance or participation in school activities. In some cases a health care plan is needed which sets out details of the child's condition and the support/provision needed. A statement such as the one below can be added. This allows the healthcare plane to be altered as medical treatment/condition changes without having to amend the EHCP.

Barney will have a healthcare plan completed by the school in accordance with the DfES document “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” (2014). All staff will be made fully aware of his healthcare plan and procedures to follow.

Barney's school will write a risk assessment to address health and safety needs.

Examples of specified and quantified provision :

A named member of staff will be responsible for coordinating the preparation and production of all the modified resources that Barney requires.

His teaching will include individual 1:1 support in all lessons from specifically trained Learning Support Assistants who are experienced in working with pupils with profound visual impairment throughout the curriculum and proficient in reading and writing grade 2 Braille.

Barney will receive 3 hours each week of direct teaching from a QTVI to learn and consolidate his use of Braille, including the specialist codes for maths, science and languages

All staff and teachers who work with Barney will be given training by a QTVI so they have a full understanding of his visual impairment, and of the differentiation and modification of resources and methods of delivery of the curriculum that are required for him to learn and engage in school activities successfully. They all need to be aware of the adaptations to the environment that are required

Additional/specialist resources

Technology has developed rapidly in recent years and a considerable range of hardware and software is now available to visually impaired pupils, helping to support them in the classroom. There are problems with additional equipment, particularly in secondary, mainstream schools where pupils go to different classrooms for their various lessons.

Is specialist equipment required, e.g. laptop, brailler, CCTV ?

Does the child need individual resources, e.g. work with enlarged type faces, tactile diagrams, 3D models etc. ?

Will additional resources be related to age, level and interests of the child ?

Who will provide the additional equipment ?

Will the child have to carry the equipment from class to class ?

Where will the equipment be kept when not required ?

Who will decide what additional equipment is needed ?

Are parents consulted or involved in these decisions ?

The Waking Day Curriculum

The waking day curriculum refers to an extended curriculum that goes beyond the normal school day and requires a residential placement. It is also referred to as a 24 hour curriculum. There are many aspects of the 24 hour curriculum that go far beyond what a maintained school would be expected to provided. For severely visually impaired children full access to the curriculum is also accompanied by Braille training and independent living skills (including orientation and mobility).

In a Tribunal hearing for one of our clients it was established that the young person should have full access to the curriculum on a par with his sighted peers, but also needed 1 hour per day Braille training together with sessions for mobility, cane training and independent living skills training. This would total 8 hours per week (out of 25 hours per week of timetabled lessons), so nearly 1/3rd of the week. This was to be delivered by withdrawal from lessons and could not be delivered after school hours. The specialist teaching required meant that this could not be delivered at home by the parents. The school admitted that none of the specialist provision could deliver any of the normal curriculum. There was a clear contradiction between the two aspects of the statement. It was impossible to deliver both within the normal school day.

The Tribunal Judge ruled that the child’s special educational needs could not be met at the LA’s preferred school and agreed to the parents’ request that he should attend a specialist, residential school for severely visually impaired pupils.

Much of the case for a waking day curriculum and a residential placement hinges on establishing that the provision is a need and not a parental preference. In most of the cases we have handled involving residential placements the parents have requested the placement at a specialist, residential school for VI children, such as New College Worcester or West of England School, Exeter, and the LA have opposed the request. In most cases we have had to lodge appeals to SEND. In some cases the LA have eventually agreed to the placement but in most the issue is decided by the judge after a lengthy hearing. LAs resist the request on the basis of unreasonable use of public resources as the costs of residential placements can be higher than local provision, though, with VI children, this is not always the case. An example of a statement supporting a waking day curriculum could be :

Barney needs to learn and develop a wide range of self-help and independent living skills that extend beyond the normal school curriculum and school day. He will receive a progressive and structured program from a qualified habilitation officer to develop independent mobility and orientation skills both in school and in the home area and to teach age appropriate daily living skills in school and at home. His extended curriculum will include sensory awareness, spatial concepts, searching skills, independent movement involving cane skills and protective techniques, and independent living skills that involve self-catering, personal hygiene and care and organization. Some of these skills will be taught in separate sessions at school or at home but some will be incorporated into appropriate aspects of the curriculum as part of the in-class support. The programme will need to be delivered and consolidated throughout his waking day.

This could be amended in the light of further advice to be more specific and for the inputs to be quantified.

Behaviour and social skills support and training

VI pupils do not receive the visual signals and body language that their sighted peers do, and frequently have social interaction and communication problems. This can lead to difficulties in making and maintaining friends. Restricted mobility and being unable to participate in the full range of activities can result in feelings of being different, isolation, low self-esteem and depression.

Does the child have any social interaction and/or communication problems ?

How well is the child integrated with his/her peers ?

Does the child feel isolated or have low self-esteem ?

Is a social interaction programme needed ?

Does the child need behaviour support ?

How much and how often is this type of support given ?

What training do the staff involved need ?

Environmental factors

The environment needs to be adapted to enhance the mobility of visually impaired pupils. This may be ensuring clutter-free navigation routes around a site, marking stairs and doors etc. with contrasting colours, modifying lighting or making provision for specialist equipment. An appropriately adapted environment can have a significant impact on the child’s experience and learning.

Has the school carried out an accessibility study, in accordance with its accessibility policy (it is a legal requirement for schools to have one) ?

Does the school or classroom environment require modification, e.g. seating position, lighting levels, obstruction-free rooms, floor markers, use of contrasting colours etc. ?

Does the room arrangement get changed about, or is it stable?

Are classrooms visually cluttered?

For the wheelchair-bound or those with walking difficulties, are there lots of steps and stairs, or uneven ground outside?

This is from a recently agreed EHCP :

An environmental audit of the school will be undertaken by a qualified Habilitation officer for visually Impaired in order to highlight the areas which could be improved to cater more appropriately for Barney with particular regard to hazards.

 

SECTION G
Any health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or
disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN

Provision should be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type of support and who will provide it.

It should be clear how the provision will support achievement of the outcomes, including the health needs to be met and the outcomes to be achieved through provision secured through a personal (health) budget.

Clarity as to how advice and information gathered has informed the provision specified.

Health care provision reasonably required may include specialist support and therapies, such as medical treatments and delivery of medications, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, a range of nursing support, specialist equipment, wheelchairs and continence supplies. It could include highly specialist services needed by only a small number of children which are commissioned centrally by NHS England (for example therapeutic provision for young offenders in the secure estate).

The local authority and CCG may also choose to specify other health care provision reasonably required by the child or young person, which is not linked to their learning difficulties or disabilities, but which should sensibly be co-ordinated with other services in the plan.

The provision described in this section should relate directly to the information about health needs described in section C. As stated in section C this can included medical procedures such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy which are delivered during the school day.

In the case of a residential placement all medical treatement and provision should be included.

 

SECTION H1
Any social care provision which must be made for a child or young person
under 18 resulting from section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons
Act 1970 (CSDPA)

Provision should be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type of support and who will provide it (including where this is to be secured through a social care direct payment).

It should be clear how the provision will support achievement of the outcomes, including any provision secured through a Personal Budget. There should be clarity as to how advice and information gathered has informed the provision specified.

Section H1 of the EHC plan must specify all services assessed as being needed for a disabled child or young person under 18, under section 2 of the CSDPA. These services include:

  • practical assistance in the home
  • provision or assistance in obtaining recreational and educational facilities at home and outside the home
  • assistance in traveling to facilities
  • adaptations to the home
  • facilitating the taking of holidays
  • provision of meals at home or elsewhere
  • provision or assistance in obtaining a telephone and any special equipment necessary
  • non-residential short breaks (included in Section H1 on the basis that the child as well as his or her parent will benefit from the short break)

This may include services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under sections 17ZD-17ZF of the Children Act 1989.

 

SECTION H2
Any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning
difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN

Social care provision reasonably required may include provision identified through early help and children in need assessments and safeguarding assessments for children. Section H2 must only include services which are not provided under Section 2 of the CSDPA. For children and young people under 18 this includes residential short breaks and services provided to children arising from their SEN but unrelated to a disability. This should include any provision secured through a social care direct payment.

Social care provision reasonably required will include any adult social care provision to meet eligible needs for support plan) under the Care Act 2014.

The local authority may also choose to specify in section H2 other social care provision reasonably required by the child or young person, which is not linked to their learning difficulties or disabilities. This will enable the local authority to include in the EHC plan social care provision such as child in need or child protection plans, or provision meeting eligible needs set out in an adult care plan where it is unrelate

 

SECTION I
Placement

The name and type of the school, maintained nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution to be attended by the child or young person and the type of that institution (or, where the name of a school or other institution is not specified in the EHC plan, the type of school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person).

These details must be included only in the final EHC plan, not the draft EHC plan sent to the child’s parent or to the young person.

Parents and young people have the right to request a placement at a particular school, such as :

A maintained nursery school

A maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)

A non-maintained special school

A further education or sixth form college

A independent school or independent specialist colleges

The LA must comply with the request unless :

it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or

the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.

Efficient education means providing for each child or young person a suitable, appropriate education in terms of their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.  Efficient use of resources relates to the additional costs of the placement, in terms of travelling costs or placement fees for independent schools/Colleges. Few LAs have specific provision for VI, though may have VI support units within mainstream schools. There are specialist schools for severely visually impaired pupils, mainly at secondary level and beyond, but due to distance many pupils attending have to be residential. Requests for placement at a specialist residential school is often refused on the basis of cost/unreasonable public expenditure.

It is essential to be able to demonstrate that the LA's preferred local school is unable to meet the pupil's needs and deliver the provision in section F to establish a case for such a placement, consequently demonstrating that the cost of the placement is not unreasonable. Explanation about the development of autonomy and independence, and the need for a waking day curriculum (which implies a residential school/college) is in the VI curriculum section.

If no specific request for a particular school is made, the LA must specify mainstream education, though there are a number of circumstances where this would be inappropriate, i.e. the placement would be incompatible with the efficient education of other children. The LA has to demonstrate that there are no “reasonable steps” that could be taken to ensure that the child can be educated in a mainstream school in a way that is compatible with the efficient education of other children. The SEN Code of Practice contains sections about children with challenging behaviour, with autistic spectrum disorder or with learning disabilities (without verbal communication).

It is essential that the school identified has the experience, expertise, staffing and resources to fulfil all of the provision specified in section F and that the child/young person is able to achieve the outcomes described in section E. It is important that cost comparisons are available between the LA’s local school and the parents’ preference.

Note that schools must not be named in proposed or draft EHCPs but only in the final EHCP, so parents/carers must negotiate with the LA about the placement before the final EHCP is issued.

 

SECTION J
Personal Budget (including arrangements for direct payments)

This section should provide detailed information on any Personal Budget that will be used to secure provision in the EHC plan.

It should set out the arrangements in relation to direct payments as required by education, health and social care regulations.

The special educational needs and outcomes that are to be met by any direct payment must be specified.

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. Local authorities must provide information on Personal Budgets as part of the Local Offer. They are optional for the child’s parent or the young person but local authorities are under a duty to prepare a budget when requested. The child’s parent or the young person has a right to request a Personal Budget, when the local authority has completed an EHC needs assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC plan. They should reflect the holistic nature of an EHC plan and can include funding for special educational, health and social care provision. The implications of this are considerable as parents could seek to use support, eg. VI teachers, SALT, mobility instructors, who are independent of the LA.

There are four ways in which the child’s parent and/or the young person can be involved in securing provision:

Direct payments – where individuals receive the cash to contract, purchase and manage services themselves

An arrangement – whereby the local authority, school or college holds the funds and commissions the support specified in the plan (these are sometimes called notional budgets)

Third party arrangements – where funds (direct payments) are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the child’s parent or the young person

A combination of the above

Direct payments are subject to separate regulations, e.g the Special Educational Needs (Direct Payments) Regulations 2014.

9.110 The Personal budget can include funding from education, health and social care.

 

SECTION I
Advice and information

The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment must be set out in appendices to the EHC plan. There should be a list of this advice and information.

Usually the advice and information used in drafting the EHCP will be set out in a table such as the example below. (please note that none of the names are real)

When assessing Barney’s education, health and care needs under section 36 of The Children and Families Act 2014, the following reports, evidence and advice were taken into account in assessing Barney’s needs and the provision required to meet those needs; and are available as appendices:

Advice

Title

Name

Designation/Role

Date

K1

Parental Views

Mr and Mrs Bear

Parent

June 2016

K2

Child’s/Young Person’s Views

Barney Bear

Child/Young Person

19/06/2016

K3

Educational

West Sussex County Council

 

 

 

 

Carrie Vann

Statement of Special Educational Needs

Albert Hall

Holly Wood

SENCo

Local Authority

Advisory Teacher for Visual Impairment

Rehabilitation and Mobility Officer

21/06/2016

14/09/2012

 

15/06/2016

27/06/2016

K4

Medical

Dr. Victoria Station

Dr. Joe Kerr

Community Paediatrician

Ophthalmic surgeon

28/11/2015

 

15/06/2012

K5

Occupational Therapy Service

n/a

Occupational Therapist

K6

Physiotherapy Service

n/a

Physiotherapist

K7

Speech & Language Therapy Service

n/a

Speech & Language Therapist

K8

CAMHS

n/a

K9

Audiology

n/a

K10

Orthoptic

n/a

K11

School Nursing

n/a

K12

Educational Psychology

Ruth Less

Educational Psychologist

18/10/2015

K13

Social Care

n/a

Social Worker

K14

Other

n/a

 

You should check that the details given are correct, i.e. names, dates etc. and that all documents have been included. Contact the LA if their are errors or ommisions.