Essex SEND improvements

Two primary schoolgirls hold hands in a playground.

We are making further changes to improve the assessment process for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) in Essex.

This will help to reduce the average time it takes to issue a plan and address the current backlog of assessments. It will also mean the process is more efficient, family-focused and collaborative.

The changes we are making include:

  • recruiting more agency Educational Psychologists (EP) to work on the outstanding assessment requests  
  • sharing EP advice with families and settings as soon as it is available, instead of waiting to share it as part of the draft EHCP
  • maximising EP’s time, considering when and how they assess children
  • preparing a draft EHCP more quickly, without also needing a needs assessment report 
  • replacing the outcomes meeting with a Proposed Plan Meeting (PPM) for families to discuss the draft EHCP and suggest changes to the plan
  • ensuring all families are offered a Way Forward meeting if the decision is made not to assess a child or young person  
  • adding information to the Local Offer website to support families attending a PPM
  • increasing communication throughout the assessment process so families are aware of progress

The changes are part of wider improvement work which has been underway in Essex since 2019. We have made progress in that time, but we know there is more to do. Our priority is to provide earlier support and a better service. We remain committed to working with and listening to families to achieve this.

Find more information about Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities support in Essex.

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