What if I still have a Statement of SEN or are involved in a Statutory Assessment?
With the introduction of the new ALN legislation, Statements of Special Educational Needs (“SEN”) will gradually be replaced by Individual Development Plans (IDP’s). Most Statements will be transferred to become Individual Development Plans over the next 3 years. No statements will be transferred in the first year of implementation.
The Welsh Government are hoping that all LA’s will have completed this process for children with statements living in their area by Sept 2024.
If you have a Statement and the transition process has not yet started for you, you will still be protected under the old law.
Your child’s Statement will continue until they are transferred to an IDP. This means that the the LA must continue to make the provision in the Statement, and it must still be reviewed at least once a year.
The various rights below will still apply.
- Maintaining a Statement: The local authority (“LA”) duty to arrange provision in the statement will still apply: The LA still must maintain the Statement and must ensure that the special educational provision it specifies is received by the child i.e. therapies, individual support, specialist teaching etc. Whilst the school will support this the duty to maintain the statement remains with the LA and cannot be delegated.
- Annual review: The Statement must still be reviewed at least annually. The process for the LA doing this will still follow the old system, although person centered approaches should be used.
- Amendments to Statements: Where the LA decides to amend a Statement following annual review or at any other time, such amendment will take place under the old system.
- Re-assessment: Parents of children with Statements will still be able to ask for a re-assessment of their child under the Education Act (“EA”) 1996 legislation. However, given that all Statements need to be transitioned by 2024, it may be more logical for parents to have the statement transferred to an IDP.
- Naming a school: Where parents or the LA want to change the school named in a Statement, before they transition, the EA 1996 legislation will still apply.
- Appeal rights: where a child or parent want to appeal a local authority decision to the SEN Tribunal Wales the existing appeal rights and time limits still apply. Link to SENTW
- Statutory Assessment: Throughout the implementation phase the two systems will operate side by side, children and young people who are currently in the statutory assessment process are referred to as ‘Pipeline cases‘. Children who have a ‘pipeline case’ will not move from the SEN system to the ALN system in the first year of implementation.
A ‘pipeline case’ can also refer to instances where a statement has already been given but there is an ongoing appeal in relation to its content or the local authority is trying to cease to maintain the statement, or following a final statement but during an appeal process.
If you have questions, or need more information, you can scroll down to read through our frequently asked questions, we’ve covered many different topics to make things clear for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve put together some questions and answers relating to statements:
What if my child is undergoing Statutory Assessment now?
Any child who is having a Statutory Assessment of their needs which is ongoing, will continue under the old system (see applying for a statutory Assessment).
The local authority must continue to notify you formally of any decisions. For example if they have decided not to undertake a SA or not to produce a Statement.
The notification will tell you that the same rights and entitlements apply for you and your child.
e.g. if you are unhappy with certain decisions you can request to use dispute resolution and you also continue to have a right of appeal to the SEN Tribunal for Wales.
Children who have a ‘pipeline case’ will not move from the SEN system to the ALN system in the first year of implementation. (see above)
Pragmatism is needed, from January the 1st 2022, a request can be made to move to the ‘new system’ where an IDP may be prepared for the child or young person rather than a statement.
If you are concerned, contact SNAP Cymru on 0808 801 0608.
Can the LA ‘cease to maintain’ (end) my child’s Statement earlier than planned?
When a local authority (“LA”) decides to take away, or end, a statement, this is called ‘ceasing to maintain’ the Statement. This means that the statement will come to an end and the LA will no longer have the legal duty to ensure that the educational provision specified in in the statement is received by the child or young person.
A LA may decide to cease to maintain a Statement at any time, but they can only do so on certain grounds:
- If the LA is no longer responsible for the child or young person; or
- If it is no longer necessary to maintain it because a child’s needs have changed and they no longer require the provision in a statement
If a LA decides to cease to maintain a statement they must inform the child and parent of the reasons and of their right to appeal to the tribunal.
You have two months to appeal to the SEN tribunal (SENTW)
Can I ask to transfer to an IDP from a statement earlier than planned?
If your child has existing SEN or a statement there will be a phased approached outlined by the Welsh Government, which will start on January 1st 2022. Statements will not be transferred to IDP’s until the school year 2022/2023.
A school or LA may decide at a natural review point that your child should be transferred to the new system earlier than planned, but children, young people with statement can request ‘to transfer to new law” from January 1st 2022. You should write to the local authority requesting to be transferred. The request must be complied with and is effective from the date requested.
However, if a child or young persons needs are being met effectively , there is no need to do anything until the statement is transferred sometime in the next three years.
What if I’m currently appealing my child’s Statement?
You can still choose to request dispute resolution to help resolve any differences. See Dispute Resolution link
You can still appeal a decision to SENTW. The SEN law and the time limits still apply.
Where an appeal to the Tribunal has been made, but not finally decided it must still go ahead to the final determination (decision).
Where the tribunal has ‘ordered’ that the local authority make and maintain a statement they MUST do so.
For further information on statutory assessment and statements see here : Still have a statement?
ANALYSING A PROPOSED STATEMENT
APPEALING TO THE SEN TRIBUNAL
This is going to be a complex time where schools and local authorities are operating two systems at the same time. Everyone involved will need to take a pragmatic approach.
You may need to write to your School or Local Authority together and may find these model letters helpful.
Download the letter which is most appropriate to your situation. If you are unsure as to which letter to use please contact the Helpline on 0808 801 0608 or www.snapcymru.org/contact and we can advise you on which letter you should consider using and how to adapt it for your own circumstances.
Template Letter Links: