Department issues amended Transition guidance

As we know, on 1 September the Children and Families Act 2014 took effect. This began the transition from Statement of Special Educational Needs to Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Statutory guidance was issued in August 2014 which explained how a Statement would change into an EHCP. The Department for Education (DfE) have now issued a new version dated March 2015.

What’s changed?

  • The document is now referred to as “departmental advice” rather than “statutory guidance”.
  • The word “guidance” is replaced with “advice” throughout the document. Paragraph 1.1 of the document also sets out that the advice is “non-statutory”.
  • The document has been amended to incorporate the changes introduced in respect of detained young people. Those changes have been widely reported elsewhere.
  • The duty to give parents and young people two weeks clear notice before the 14 week transfer process begins is reiterated. 

Why does this matter?

The changes to incorporate the new regulations covering detained young people have been expected.

The biggest change is the move from statutory guidance to departmental advice. This change is more than semantic.

The “.gov” makes clear that there is no requirement to comply with departmental advice. Statutory guidance, however, must be complied with. This apparent ‘downgrade’ is very concerning. The change of wording suggests a deliberate decision to downgrade the status of the document. The reason for this is entirely unclear. There is no online operative version of the document as being a piece of statutory guidance.

Updated advice can now be found here.

We have sent an email to SENTransitional.arrangements@education.gsi.gov.uk, the stated email address for enquiries, to ask why the document has been downgraded and we will post the response here when we get one.

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