It was a busy year for Norfolk SENDIASS with an 18% increase in referrals. We saw a 45% increase in parent/carers looking for advice around SEN support and 31% increase in EHCP appeal queries. You can find our full Annual Statistic Report on our website.
We are busy recruiting into the new roles and look forward to being able to offer more casework in the future.
Book an hour face to face appointment with one of our SEND Advisors to discuss or review paperwork related to special educational needs in education.
The advice clinic appointments are strictly to review or discuss paperwork so please make sure to bring this with you.
For example, we can support with:
- EHC Needs Assessment paperwork
- SENDIST (First Tier Tribunal) paperwork
- Draft Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
Monday 13th November - Swaffham
Hannah Murgatroyd - SENDIAS Advisor
I am Hannah and I am one of the advisors at Norfolk SENDIASS. I have worked here since August 2022 and I have thoroughly enjoyed finding my feet in the workplace after finishing my degree in 2022.
I work from Tuesday to Thursday where I take calls on our helpline and also work closely with parents as their caseworker. Casework involves me getting to know the parent, child/young person better so I can work with them, the educational setting, and the Local Authority to ensure that the pupil is receiving the education they are legally entitled to. This can involve meetings with the school, meetings with the LA, and even mediation meetings and tribunals.
I also attend events with our team. I have attended three of our advice clinics and other events such as SEND Fest, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Following booking an appointment to speak with an advisor via our website you will receive an email with a link to a short consultation form. This form needs to be completed to enable the advisor to be able to best advise and make the most of the time available. Appointments will be cancelled if the form is not completed. If you need support with this form please contact us on 01603 704070.
High Courts and Upper Tier Tribunals can make rulings on parts of the law that need clarifying (the grey areas), those rulings are called ‘Case Law’.
Following a Case Law ruling all other Courts and Tribunals then have to follow this and it takes precedent over what the law says.
Nottinghamshire CC v SF 
In this case law update The Court of Appeal upheld a decision made by the First-tier Tribunal and Upper-tier Tribunal around whether it was ‘necessary’ to issue an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan).
The original appeal was brought by the parents of a 7-year-old child with a range of SEN including ASD, Hypermobility and Dyspraxia. The LA felt the school had successfully identified the child’s needs and were meeting them appropriately so an EHCP was not necessary. The First-tier Tribunal agreed that the child was making progress and the school were identifying and meeting the child’s needs appropriately but the school were putting in significant support.
Based on the evidence the First-tier Tribunal ordered the LA to make and maintain an EHCP for the child. They found that the level and quality of provision made by the child’s current school is unlikely to be reproduced in another Local Authority mainstream school and the child would require an EHCP to ensure the correct delivery, monitoring and provision is put in place.
The LA appealed this to the Upper-tier Tribunal who agreed with the First-tier Tribunal, they found that they had applied the correct statutory legislation and that based on the evidence an EHCP was necessary.
The LA then took the appeal higher to the Court of Appeal, they also found that the First-tier Tribunal had used the correct legislation to conclude that there was enough reason for an EHCP to be necessary. They agreed with the two previous tribunals and so felt there was no reason to continue and dismissed the case.
The decision made by the Court of Appeal stressed that the test for whether an EHCP is needed is based on the wording of ‘necessary’ and those making the decisions about whether to issue an EHCP should look to the future and not just at the current situation.
What is phase transfer
Phase Transfer is when a child or young person moves from one phase of education to another. A new phase of education is defined in regulation 2 of the SEN and Disability Regulations 2014 (the SEN Regs) as the transfer from:
(a) early years education to school;
(b) infant school to junior school;
(c) primary school to middle school;
(d) primary school to secondary school;
(e) middle school to secondary school; or
(f) secondary school to a post-16 institution.
Phase transfer usually begins in the autumn term of the year before the child or young person is moving between phases of education, but it isn’t uncommon for it to begin in the summer term of the year before. It begins with a review of the EHCP, which is like an annual review, except you will be asked which school you would like your child to attend the following September.
If your child will be moving into Post 16+ education, they will be asked where they would like to attend further education (e.g. college, sixth form, apprenticeship) for the following September.
The decision from the phase transfer review will be to amend the plan, as a new school needs to be named in section I. As usual, you should receive a draft plan and then a final plan. We recommend you read through the draft and final plan thoroughly to ensure you are happy with it, to help with this please use our ‘Reading and Understanding an EHCP’ booklet.
Regulation 18 of the SEN Regs sets out the deadlines for when the EHCP must be reviewed and amended by during phase transfer. This is:
(a) 31 March if the transfer is from secondary school to a post-16 institution
(b) 15 February in any other case, or
(c) If a young person is moving from one post-16 institution to another post-16 institution at any other time, at least five months before that transfer takes place.
If you don’t receive the final EHCP naming an educational placement by whichever date above is relevant we would advise that you contact the EHCP Duty Line 01603 679183 and/or your EHCP coordinator. If you still don’t receive a final EHCP naming an educational placement once you’ve informed the EHCP duty line/coordinator, then we would advise you start the Local Authority complaints procedure. To help with this you can use our ‘Complaints and Disagreement Resolution’ resource.
SEN Support after statutory school age
There is often some confusion about the support available to young people once they are beyond statutory school age and moving into the next phase of their education and training.
Post 16 education and training is very diverse, and the range of study programmes is broad and includes AS/A levels, vocational qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, supported internships, and bespoke packages of learning. We would encourage young people in Year 11, to research the opportunities available to them, and where possible with their parent/carers, if not before!!
The SEND Code of Practice, Chapter 7, provides statutory guidance on duties and responsibilities of settings, relating to Part 3 of the Children & Families Act 2014.
In the same way as in schools, SEN Support should follow a 4-stage cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review. Schools and colleges should work together to support a successful transition, and we encourage young people to also share relevant information before they enrol on a course, with the Course Leader and Learning Support Team, about a learning need, a disability or a medical condition which will affect their learning.
Clearly if a setting is well informed of a new learner’s additional needs and support requirements prior to the beginning of the autumn term, they will have sufficient time to work with the young person, and their parent/carers, to discuss and arrange the required additional support.
In the SEND Code of Practice, 7.13, it clearly states:
“Where a student has a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision, the college must use its best endeavours to put appropriate support in place. Young people should be supported to participate in discussions about their aspirations, their needs, and the support that they think will help them best.”
Sometimes, young people’s needs may not have been identified at school, and/or may emerge once they have started a new course; the duties to address this scenario are clear:
“Teaching staff should work with specialist support to identify where a student may be having difficulty which may be because of SEN.”
(C of P, 7.11)
We would also encourage a young person to speak to someone at home, or at their college, if they are struggling to manage the demands of a course as they may benefit from some extra support; it is also not uncommon for learners to switch courses in the first few weeks of a new academic year, for a variety of reasons.
Support for all young people with SEN should be reviewed regularly, and the college and the student together should plan any changes in support. There is also a requirement to help a young person to plan ahead, to consider their strengths, capabilities, and interests, with a greater focus on outcomes and preparing for adulthood.
Students with more complex needs can be supported through provision set out in an EHCP. Once a young person reaches 16, they can make a “request for an assessment” for an EHCP, and can access support with this process, for example from the learning setting, their parents/carers, or Norfolk SENDIASS!
If a young person has an EHCP it is also worth mentioning that they can request an appointment with a SEND Guidance Adviser by contacting their EHCP Co-ordinator.
The SEND system in higher education is separate to the further education system - the Children’s and Families Act 2014 does not cover higher education. An EHC plan cannot carry on into higher education. Students in higher Education are supported by a completely different system of support via Disabled Students allowance (DSAs)
There are some useful resources you can access relating to post 16 provision, including:
Norfolk SEND Youth Forum update
In our October meeting we had nine young people attend, and we welcomed back Maxine Blocksidge (Senior SEND Adviser, at NCC) who came to share the results of the 2023 SEND Survey.
We were pleased to learn that this year the numbers of children and young people who completed the survey has increased dramatically from the previous year, from 62 in 2022, to 381! Maxine thanked members for completing the survey, and asked for further help, to think about how this feedback can improve and shape services for children and young people with SEND.
The full results and key findings from the survey, will be shared on:
We were also joined by Rebekah, who is employed as a Participation Officer with NCC, who came to introduce herself to the Forum, and shared some information about Youth Parliament.
Norfolk Youth Parliament - Norfolk County Council
In the second part of the meeting, we opened a general discussion around community safety, as we are keen to ensure that our members experiences are incorporated into a Participation event which took place in August, where young peoples experiences and views were sought on this theme.
Our members shared their feelings and experiences, and shared concerns around antisocial behaviour, and how this impacts on communities, road safety and how traffic noise can feel overwhelming. We hope to return to this theme later in the year, to explore some of these issues further.
We were also able to thank four of our members, who have given up their valuable time to sit on a young person panel, to support Norfolk SENDIASS to interview and recruit 2 Advice and Engagement Worker roles, to build on the participation work we do. These young people proved to be brilliant at asking their questions to candidates and were thoughtful and considered in their feedback. Their views will be significant, and integral, to who will be appointed.
We are always keen to welcome new members – to register please go to:
Bridget Robinson, Children and Young People Supporter
Family Information Service (FIS)
Norfolk County Council’s Family Information Service (FIS) offers information and advice to families in Norfolk, this includes:
- Help to find childcare for children aged 0-5
- Help for families to access early years childcare for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)
- Information about early years funding for childcare
- Ideas for learning at home
- Information about local groups
If you’re looking for information and support and would like to chat to a member of our team, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the best time to call you.
Norfolk Family Information Service
Follow us on FIS Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest
Visit the Norfolk County Council website for more information Family Information Service - Norfolk County Council Talk and play ideas - Norfolk County Council
Half term activities
October Circus Skills transition workshop for children with emerging SEND or SEND (Primarily aged 4-6 years old with parents present, some older siblings may also come along too).
To book a place, please choose a slot and email your preference: email@example.com
You can find other activities and groups on the Norfolk Community Directory.