June 2018. Lexis Nexis, Local Government, in partnership with Hannah Lynch of St Pauls Chambers, considered the key issues around post-19 education for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Special Educational Needs provision underwent a radical overhaul catalysed by Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014) with statements being replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) which have been made available to people up to the age of 25. Young people over compulsory school age but under 25 years are considered a ‘young person’ for the purposes of the CFA 2014. This means young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who wish to undertake further education are now entitled to have their EHC Plan maintained up to the age of 25, where appropriate and necessary to help them access the educational provision of their choice.
If Education and Social Care departments collaborate well, this should reduce the difficulties around transition from Children’s Services to Adult Services and ensure continuity of planning for a young person’s education and care needs.
With local authority budget cuts, the funds required to implement the new statutory system pose a disadvantage as extending the age range for EHC Plans up to 25 means that local authorities could potentially have to fund special educational provision for every young person with an EHC Plan for another six years. While this will not always be necessary or desirable, the financial ramifications for local authorities are significant.