Youngsters in Bucks transferred to new education plans

Education news
Education news

Children across Bucks with special educational needs (SEND) have been transferred to a new education plan amid major reforms across the country.

In 2014, the Government ruled all children with statements of special educational needs must be transferred to the new educational health and care plan (EHCP) system by April 1 this year, as part of a massive system overhaul.

National reports released this week suggested thousands of children across the country were still waiting to be transferred to the new EHCP – a legal document that details the child’s needs and extra help that will be provided to them.

In August, there were 1,700 outstanding cases in the county – however Bucks County Council confirmed all conversions had been triggered on time.

A total of 20 conversions were not completed by the deadline due to parental enquiries, although they were expected to be transferred at the beginning of the month, according to council reports.

Last week it was reported the number of children being excluded from primary school in Bucks is “significantly worse” than the national average.

Speaking at a health and wellbeing board meeting head of education at Bucks County Council Sarah Callaghan, said the system overhaul placed “pressures” on schools and local authorities, potentially impacting on pupils with behaviour issues.

However the council hopes exclusion rates in primary schools will begin to decrease now the old statements of special educational needs have been phased out, and an “extensive SEN improvement plan” is being implemented.

Ms Callaghan said: “The SEND reforms that were introduced in 2014 placed challenges on all local authorities to convert the statements of educational needs to EHCPs.

“The age range for those was extended, so there was significant changes and I think that has created pressures and sometimes that impacts on behavioural issues in schools, and the support to manage those – that impacts on attendance and that impacts on exclusions.”