And finally....Covid-19 - Changes extended again to 31 July 2020

And finally....Covid-19 - Changes extended again to 31 July 2020

The Secretary of State for Education triggered changes to the absolute duty for Local Authorities (LA) to make provision set out in Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) to LAs using ‘reasonable endeavours’ by passing The Coronavirus Act 2020 Modification of section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (England) Notices 2020. You can read about it here

The changes came in force on 1 May 2020 and were in place to 31 May 2020. A further notice was issued for the changes to remain in place up to 30 June 2020. You can read about it here

As expected, the changes have now been extended again to 31 July 2020. The modification notice can be found here.

Accompanying guidance sets out what is meant by ‘reasonable endeavours’ and Annex A lists all the timescales that may be modified. The guidance also sets out key elements of the EHC needs assessment and Plans that are unchanged.

Note that the LAs must still: 

  • consider new requests for EHC needs assessments
  • secure all the required advice as part of the EHC needs assessment in order that a Plan can be issued.
  • consider the views and wishes of parents, the child/young person. 

The notice does not absolve LA or health commissioning bodies of their responsibilities under section 42 of the 2014 Act; they must use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to secure the provision. This means they must consider for each child and young person with an EHCP what they can reasonably provide in the circumstances during the notice period. Blanket policies are not permitted and flexibility in tune with the individual child’s needs will be required. 

On 2 July, the Secretary of State confirmed the Department for Education’s plan for all children and young people, including those with EHCPs, to return to schools and colleges full time from the beginning of the autumn term and that further modification notices will not be required, subject to local outbreaks.

The Boyes Turner Education Team is working remotely during this time and fully able to continue to deal with new enquiries. We can help at whatever stage you are with your EHCP and can be contacted on 0118 952 7219 or via senexpertsolicitors@boyesturner.com

I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

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