SEN Service and FAQs from the SEND Code of Practice

What the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service does, what we mean by Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and a full list of FAQs relating to SEND.

What does the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service do?

The Special Educational Needs Service’s role is to meet the Local Authority's statutory duties under the relevant legislation and guidance.  This includes the Education Act 1996, the Learning and Skills Act 2000, the Children and Families Act 2014, the Equality Act 2010, the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004, the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the Care Act 2014, Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970,  and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 sets out statutory guidance that the Local Authority, Children’s Trust, education settings and health bodies must take account of in carrying out their respective duties in respect of children and young people aged 0-25.

The Local Authority has a duty to identify, assess and make provision to meet the special educational and wider needs of children within its area and to monitor progress against outcomes. From September 2014 all new statutory assessments and Plans will consider education, health and care needs, outcomes and appropriate provision. This does not mean that a child must have needs in all these areas but they will have special educational needs.

The Service aims to provide a range of appropriate educational opportunities and additional resources for children and young people with special educational needs to enable their needs to be met in an inclusive setting.

What does Special Educational Needs (SEN) mean?

The law says that a child or young person with special educational needs has a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for them to learn. A child with SEN may need extra help or different help from that given to others of the same age.

They may find it harder to understand information and learn at the same rate as their peers; they may have a physical or a sensory difficulty; they may have difficulties with speech and language or other communication and interaction; and they may have social, emotional or mental health difficulties.

Even if a child is making slower progress in school, it does not mean that they have SEN. 

What are the four broad areas of SEN?

The SEND Code of Practice says that there are four broad areas of special educational needs. These are:

  • Communication and interaction which includes speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Cognition and learning which includes moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), specific learning difficulties (SpLD). Broad definitions of these types of need are as follows:
    • MLD: a pupil with significant developmental delay indicating learning difficulties of at least moderate intensity, at a mild, moderate or significant degree, with evidence of social, emotional and learning immaturity, and achieving below that of a Y2 pupil by then end of KS2 and two Key Stages below by the end of Y11
    • SLD: a pupil with a significant developmental delay indicating learning difficulties of a severe intensity and requiring a highly structured, predominantly experiential, multi-sensory curriculum for most of their school life
    • PMLD: a pupil with severe and pervasive developmental delay indicating learning difficulties together with multiple and complex sensory, physical, medical and/or personal care needs requiring access to a specialist curriculum and high staffing ratio
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties which includes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), attachment disorder, anxiety and depression.
  • Sensory and/or physical needs which includes visual impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI), multi-sensory impairment (MSI), physical difficulties (PD).

Sources of Information

Information, Advice and Support - Useful Contacts

Doncaster SEN team

The SEN team oversee the application, production, review and commissioning of special educational provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND), who need support above what is normally provided within education settings, and have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP). 

Doncaster SENDIAS Service

The SENDIAS service provides free and impartial information, advice and support (IAS) to parents, carers, children and young people in relation to Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability and related health and social care issues.

Doncaster Parents Voice (DPV)

Doncaster Parents Voice (DPV) is a parent/carer forum. The forum is run by parents of children with a variety of additional needs. DPV support families with disabled children on a number of matters relating to SEND.


IPSEA offers independent legally based advice, support and training to help get the right education for children and young people with SEND. You can book a telephone appointment to with an adviser on their website. 

Families Information Service

KIDS Mediation

KIDS Mediation is the Disagreement Resolution and Mediation Service for Doncaster.

For support regarding mediation, you may contact the SENDIAS Service. The involvement of either the SENDIAS Service or the independent Mediation Service will not affect your right of appeal. You may also wish to visit the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) who are responsible for handling appeals against local authority decisions regarding special educational needs. For further information please contact the SEN Service on: 01302 737210 or 01301 737211.

Disagreement Resolution, Mediation and Appeals to the SEND Tribunal

Disagreement resolution, mediation and appeals to the SEND tribunal are different processes under the SEND Code of Practice.

Disagreement resolution covers a wider area and parents do not have to engage in this process at any stage if they do not wish to do so. Use of disagreement resolution services is voluntary and has to be with the agreement of all parties.

Disagreement resolution arrangements cover all children and young people with SEN, not just those who are being assessed for or have an EHCP and can provide a quick and non-adversarial way of resolving disagreements. Used early in the process of EHC needs assessment and EHCP an development they can prevent the need for mediation, once decisions have been taken in that process, and appeals to the Tribunal. The areas covered are:

  • Early years / School / College provision: how providers carry out their duties
  • Provision for individual children and young people including those with SEN but no Plan
  • A decision by the Local Authority not to assess
  • During the EHC needs assessment
  • A decision by the Local Authority not to issue EHCP
  • About sections E, H and C in the plan

The Code of Practice gives you, as parent, the right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (also known as the SEND Tribunal) if you disagree with the Local Authority’s decision:

  • Not to conduct an EHC needs assessment at this time or a decision
  • Not to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • If you disagree with provision set out in the EHCP

Doncaster Local Authority always seeks proactively to resolve disagreements across education, health and social care initially through face to face meetings with SEN Officers and managers to listen to and try to understand parental views, wishes and feelings and to explain how decisions have been taken. Where this does not resolve concerns, the Local Authority participates fully with independent disagreement resolution and mediation procedures and education, health and social care providers.

Any such appeal should be submitted within two months from the date of the decision letter. It is stated in the Code of Practice that parents/carers and young people who wish to make an appeal to the Tribunal may do so only after they have contacted an independent mediation advisor and discussed whether mediation might be a suitable way of resolving the disagreement. Parents and young people have one month from receiving the certificate to register an appeal with the Tribunal, or two months from the original decision by the Local Authority whichever is the later.

There is a requirement for parents to inform the Local Authority:

  1. If you wish to pursue mediation.
  2. The mediation issues to be pursued.
  3. Where the mediation issues are or include the fact that no health care provision or no health care provision of a particular kind is specified in the EHCP.

Parents and young people do not have to contact the mediation adviser prior to registering their appeal with the Tribunal if their appeal is only about the name of the school, college or other institution named on the plan, the type of school, college or other institution specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named.

Further information is set out in the SEND Code of Practice.

Operational Guidance on Criteria for Meeting Needs via the Graduated Approach (Core Principles) 

Sample Letters to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment

Special Educational Needs Provision

The majority of children will have their needs met successfully at a local mainstream school. The Local Authority’s key starting principle is that, as far as possible, children should be educated within their local community and within a mainstream setting. The Local Authority provides support for early years children with special needs through the Early Years Inclusion Service. Some children benefit from additional support within a Resource, attached to a mainstream primary or secondary school, which has a particular expertise in one or more areas of SEN.

Additional Resource Centres based in maintained schools:

However, some children have long term, significant and complex needs and will require a Local Authority Education, Health and Care Plan specifying a specialist placement within one of Doncaster’s special schools. To meet this level of exceptional need the Local Authority maintains 5 special schools:

  • Coppice School in Hatfield (for children with severe learning difficulties (sld) and autism/ challenging behaviour). Age range 3-19 years. 
  • Heatherwood School on Ledger Way, Doncaster central (for children with severe learning difficulties and complex needs). Age range 3-19 years. 
  • North Ridge Community School in Adwick (for children with severe learning difficulties). Age range 3-19 years. 
  • Pennine View School in Conisbrough (for children with moderate learning difficulties and other needs). Age range 7-16 years. 
  • Stone Hill School in Scawsby (for children with moderate learning difficulties and additional needs). Age range 5-16 years. 

Nexus Multi-Academy Trust runs the new Special School in Doncaster, Bader Academy in Edenthorpe (for children with communication and interaction needs). Age range 5-19 years.

Specialist Outreach Support from Special Schools

  • Severe Learning Difficulties including Down’s Syndrome from North Ridge School 
  • Moderate Learning Difficulties from Pennine View School 
  • Autism Spectrum Condition from Stonehill School 
  • Physical Difficulties and Access from Heatherwood School 
  • Children with severe learning difficulties (SLD) from Coppice School 
  • Autism / challenging behaviour from Coppice School


What must schools do with regard to accessibility planning and the Equality Act 2010?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) states;

The responsible body (in maintained schools this is the governing body) must prepare -

  • an accessibility plan; 
  • further such plans at such times as may be prescribed. An accessibility plan is a plan for, over a prescribed period –
  • increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the school’s curriculum; 
  • improving the physical environment of the school for the purpose of increasing the extent to which disabled pupils are able to take advantage of education and associated services provided or offered by the school; and 
  • improving the delivery to disabled pupils - (i) within a reasonable time, and (ii) in ways which are determined after taking account of their disabilities and any preferences expressed by them or their parents, of information which is provided in writing for pupils who are not disabled. 
  • An accessibility plan must be in writing. 
  • During the period to which the plan relates, the responsible body must keep its accessibility plan under review and, if necessary, revise it.
  • It is the duty of the responsible body to implement its accessibility plan. The Equality Act 2010 emphasised that the accessibility plan should set out how the school plans to increase access for disabled pupils to the curriculum, the physical environment and to information. 
The Statutory Policies for Schools (Sept 2014) states that It is a requirement that maintained schools, academies, free schools, independent schools, sixth-form colleges, further education colleges and Pupil referral units must review their accessibility plan every three years. It also states that approval should be by the governing body however, they are free to delegate the approval right to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the Headteacher. The local authority has provided schools with a model Accessibility Plan.

What can a parent do if they feel their child may have SEN?

Many children have some degree of special educational needs at some stage in their lives. Most of these additional needs are met by the school the child attends. 

If a parent/carer thinks their child may have SEN then they should:

Contact the Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENCo) or Manager/ Head teacher /Principal in the education setting alternatively parents/carers may be aware of a lead practitioner or lead service involved with their child and they may be able to provide more information Parents/carers know their children better than anyone and they have a right to take part in decisions about their child’s education. The closer a parent/carer works with their child’s teachers, education setting and other services, the more successful any special help will be.

All schools must have an SEN Policy which sets out how children might be supported in school. Schools also have to publish an SEN Information Report to show how they have implemented their Policy and also how they are meeting their duties under the Equalities Act 2010. The Department for Education (DfE) has published a Parents’ Guide to the SEND Code of Practice.

The SENDIAS Service, Families Information Service and Doncaster Parent Voice parent/carer forum are very helpful and can provide independent information, advice, and/or support.

What is Early Years, School and Further Education SEN support?

Education settings have advice from the Department for Education (DfE) on how they should plan and differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of all their children and young people. They have advice on how to assess children and measure their progress.

All education settings must have regard to the duties set out in the SEND Code of Practice January 2015. Education settings have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or someone who carries out this function.

Education settings can also seek specialist advice and support from services such as the Local Authority’s Educational Psychology Service, the Autism and Social Communication, Education and Training Service (ASCETS), Behaviour Outreach Support Service (BOSS), Service for Children with a Hearing Impairment (SCHI), Service for Children with a Visual Impairment (SCVI) and many others.

They can also seek advice from a range of services in Health, in Social Care and in Education Welfare. Education settings must inform parents/carers if they feel their child has special educational needs requiring special educational provision that is ‘additional to and different from’ that available generally within the setting. This is at a stage called SEN Support and your child should have an individual plan which sets out what outcomes are achievable within an agreed timescale, building on their strengths and interests. SEN Support Plans should be reviewed at least termly and parents/ carers are central to these reviews of their child’s progress.

The Local Authority has provided guidance including sample forms within an SEN Support framework.

What is Assess - Plan - Do - Review?

Education settings must follow an Assess – Plan – Do- Review process over time unless there are very exceptional circumstances such as a life changing accident affecting a child where immediate action needs to be taken in the best interests of the child. Education settings must use their best endeavours to identify, assess, plan, meet and evaluate a child’s needs and progress and call upon external specialists, including an Educational Psychologist, and should meet with parents at least 3 times a year.

Educational Psychology Service

For a full overview of the service please visit the following page:

How are education settings funded?

Since April 2013, education settings have been funded according to a national framework. Settings have a duty to meet the needs of all the children and young people on their roll, including those with SEN.

Mainstream school and post 16 settings

The national threshold is approximately £10k per year made up of an element for core quality first teaching for every child and up to £6k for effective additional support for children with special educational needs. This threshold is the responsibility of the setting before a Local Authority (LA) considers providing additional top up funding, usually through a statutory plan.

In mainstream schools a 'notional budget' for SEN additional support is made up of formula factors linked to the children who are on the school's roll when the School Census is counted in October each year. It is not the case that every child identified as having SEN has £6k that must be spent on them individually.

Education settings should be flexible in the use of this funding as some children may need more or less support at different times. Additional interventions may best be delivered in small groups rather than creating an over -dependency on 1:1 adult support.

Early years settings

Early years settings receive place funding for eligible 2 ,3 and 4-year-olds. Early years settings can also claim a top-up amount, worth up to £353.40 per year, for any disadvantaged or looked after 3 and 4-year-olds in their setting. This additional funding is called Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and is paid at 62p per hour on top of a child’s universal 15 hours funding. Settings can also request a yearly Disability Access Fund (DAF) payment of £828 for 3 and 4-years olds who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The LA's Early Years Inclusion Team (EYIT) provides advice, support and training to these settings. Early years mainstream settings, whether Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) or a school-based nursery setting, can also apply for the Early Intervention Allowance (EIA) where additional adult support may be required to enable a child to participate and access learning alongside their peers. The request is submitted to the Early Years Panel via the EYIT who can also advise on the criteria and monitoring arrangements.

Special schools and mainstream attached specialist resource bases

LA maintained special schools and specialist resources attached to mainstream schools are funded on a ‘place plus’ model. These settings are funded at £10k per agreed place available. The school also receives an additional top up amount for each child on roll, agreed between the LA and the individual school. In Doncaster maintained special schools, the top up funding ranges from around £5k for children with learning difficulties and additional needs to around £15k for children with the most profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Non-maintained special schools in and outside the Doncaster borough are also funded on the basis of a £10k per agreed place plus a top up which the provider negotiates with the placing Local Authority.

Independent special schools, located in and outside the Doncaster borough, are not subject to the national funding formula. The cost of these placements is usually higher than other special schools and is negotiated between the placing Local Authority and the provider.

Independent and non-maintained special schools, which are not part of the Department for Education’s approved list of providers (Section 41), are not bound by the same duty to admit a child if their setting is named in section I of a child’s EHCP.

The Local Authority has a duty to comply with a parental or young person's preference for a particular setting but must also ensure that it uses public resources as efficiently as possible in making a decision on the most appropriate education placement to meet needs. Please note that assessed and agreed transport costs are in addition to all place and additional support costs described above.

What funding is available in schools for SEN support?

The majority of children with special educational needs (SEN) have their needs met within their local mainstream school. Each school has a designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), who has responsibility for co-ordinating special educational provision within the school. All local mainstream schools have funding within their school budget to meet the special educational needs of their children.

The Department for Education has set a minimum amount of approximately £10,000 per child for schools to use their own resources to meet core teaching and additional adult support costs. Above this threshold, schools can request the Local Authority to consider whether a statutory Education Health Care (EHC) needs assessment may be required or the need to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The deployment of all available resources is the responsibility of the School's Governing Body and Headteacher/ Principal. It enables schools to deploy resources flexibly for provision that is additional to and different from that usually available to and required for all the children. Doncaster has published Guidance ‘SEN Core Principles’ which sets out broadly what schools should provide and when this may need the Local Authority to provide further support. Mainstreams schools in Doncaster may reasonably be expected to make the following provision from within their own budgets for children with SEN but without an Education, Health and Care Plans.

Schools should have the following in place:

  • An Individual Plan such as an SEN Support Plan or an Individual/ group Provision Map may be in place for each child with SEN at SEN Support.
  • The arrangement of class or teaching groups, for the whole or part of the school day, should take into account the needs of children with SEN.
  • Access to specialist services provided by the Local Authority under agreement with the school, such as the Engagement and Behavior Support Service or the Educational Psychology Service.
  • School policies and programmes that enable children with SEN to be as fully included within the social and academic life of the school as possible.
  • Additional learning support to assist children with health or self-care needs, where these relate to children’s needs.
  • The provision of specialist resources to enable children with SEN to access the curriculum. Updated 4 April 2016
  • The provision of smaller items of equipment to enable individual children to access the curriculum.
  • Close liaison with parents/carers to support the child with SEN, including their involvement in the design of their SEN Support Plans.
  • Access to specialist facilities to enable curriculum materials and resources to be adapted for children with significant visual impairment.
  • Radio aids for children with significant hearing impairment, when recommended by the Local Authority's specialist teacher.
  • Reasonable adjustments to the physical environment of the school. Research shows that additional support should enable a child or young person to be as independent as possible and only in exceptional situations would a child need high levels of 1:1 adult support across the day.

What funding and services are provided additionally by the Local Authority?

Doncaster Local Authority (LA) funds a range of specialist services from its High Needs Block budget to meet the needs of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

These services are available whether or not a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). All services work in close partnership with families and other agencies including health and social care.

  • Specialist teachers and other key workers provide support for early years children with SEN. This includes the Portage Service for children in the home and the Early Years Inclusion Team for children in early years settings.
  • Specialist teachers and support staff a) for children with a visual impairment (VI) and b) for children with hearing impairment (HI) provide advice and resources to education settings to enable these children to access an appropriately differentiated curriculum alongside their peers.
  • Specialist teachers and support staff in the LA's Autism Social Communication Education and Training Service (ASCETS), provide advice to education settings to enable children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to participate in the social life of the setting and access an appropriately differentiated curriculum. The LA also funds outreach workers from Stone Hill and Coppice Special Schools with expertise in meeting the needs of children with social communication needs and associated barriers to learning.
  • Specialist outreach workers to advise settings on the safe moving and handling of children and to enable children with a physical impairment and/or significant medical need to access the curriculum and participate in learning alongside their peers.
  • Support from outreach workers from Pennine View and Northridge special schools and mainstream primary and secondary Learning Centre’s, to advise schools on differentiating the curriculum, effective strategies and targeted interventions designed to support children with learning difficulties or social, emotional and mental health needs and/ or challenging behaviors. Schools can access funding from the High Needs Block to meet exceptional needs such as complex medical needs but no SEN, or if they can evidence a disproportionate SEN profile compared to their notional SEN budget. The Local Authority provides specialist services for education settings from resources other than the High Needs Block, including the Learner Engagement and Behaviour Service and the Educational Psychology Service. Guidance and training is also provided on the effective deployment and monitoring of SEN resources in schools.

Updated - 4th April 2016

What if a child has significant and complex SEN and needs extra resources?

If a child is assessed by the Local Authority as requiring more resources than the education setting can reasonably provide, the Authority may allocate additional funding from its High Needs Block, part of the Dedicated Schools Grant. Since April 2013, Doncaster has used a banding system for allocating High Needs funding attached to a Statement.

The banding system and the SEN Descriptors were reviewed through consultation with schools in April 2015 to reflect the SEND Reforms and allow for more flexibility if a Personal Budget is agreed as part of an EHCP.

Table 1- Funding Bands for Mainstream Settings where a Statement of SEN is still in place or a first final EHCP was issued prior to April 2015.

(above £10k for SEN and Alternative Provision)
Top Up (indicative per child)
Note: Primary Schools receive an additional £500
High Needs Band A - Mainstream £4,000
High Needs Band B - Mainstream £5,500
High Needs Band C - Mainstream £7,500
Individual Package

Individually determined

Table 2- Funding Bands for EHCPs issued after April 2015 in a mainstream setting

(above £10k for SEN and Alternative Provision)
Top Up (indicative per child)
High Needs Band A - Mainstream

A1 - £1,000
A2 - £2,000
A3 - £3,000
A4 - £4,000

High Needs Band B - Mainstream B5 - £5,000
B6 - £6,000
High Needs Band C - Mainstream C7 - £7,000
C8 - £8,000
Individual Package

Individually determined

All funding allocations are reviewed as part of the statutory annual review process

What if a child has significant and complex SEN and needs extra resources?
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What are the steps in the Statutory Assessment process?

Local Authorities, Health Services and education settings must have regard to the statutory duties and other guidance set out in the SEND Code of Practice January 2015.

A small number of children have difficulties which extend over wider areas of the curriculum, are more severe in nature and/or are longer-lived and are deemed to place the child within the designation of SEN. For a small minority of children their difficulties are such that the Local Authority will undertake a statutory assessment of the child's needs.

From September 2014 a statutory assessment will consider special educational needs together with health and social care needs. When a request is made, the child will have demonstrated 'significant cause for concern' despite all relevant and purposeful action being taken. The education setting, or other practitioner, such as a Portage worker, health visitor or social worker, may bring a child to our attention.

They should provide the Local Authority with a range of information including: evidence of how the child and family have been involved the child’s strengths, special educational needs and any health and care needs relating to their SEN the outcomes for the child: i.e. what will s/he be able to do that they cannot do currently the interventions and strategies in place and an evaluation of the impact of these on improving outcomes for the child the resources or special arrangements that they have already made available the specialist advice they have acted upon over time.

The Local Authority has provided guidance and a form (SEHCAR1) to enable settings and services to provide the information expected under the SEND Code of Practice.

Parents/ carers, and young people over compulsory school age who are able to make decisions in this area, also have the right to request a statutory assessment. You can either write to the SEN Team at the Local Authority and/or use the same SEHCAR1 form as settings and services, completing as much information as possible.

If your child (or the young person) is in an education setting, the setting will also be asked to complete the SEHCAR1 form. It is helpful to speak to the setting first before you send in a request. Sample letters are in the sources of information section above.

If parents/carers would like to speak to someone before sending in a request, please ask to speak to a member of the SEN Team who can be contacted on telephone number is 01302 737296.

Forms and other documents, can be sent via email to: We are able to contact you via email with your permission.

What happens if the Local Authority decision is NOT to proceed?

The Local Authority may decide that the evidence does not support a statutory needs assessment and that the child’s needs should be met through school -based SEN Support. In these situations the Local Authority will explain the reasons to the parent and to the education setting and set out what they should do next to continue to meet the child’s needs.

The Local Authority will also set out the rights of appeal.

If parents, and young people over the age of 16 if they are able to make their own decision, disagree with this decision, they first have to consider mediation and have a right of appeal through The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

What happens if the Local Authority decided TO proceed with a statutory assessment?

If the Local Authority feels that it should assess the child formally, it must seek statutory advice from all the services and settings involved and ask the child and family for their views, wishes and feelings.. The SEN Service and the lead practitioner will provide further information and support to the family. Everyone has 6 weeks to return their advice and reports. The statutory assessment will provide information on the following:

  • The child’s strengths
  • The child and family’s views, wishes and feelings
  • The special education, health and care needs
  • How the needs can best be met
  • Special resources, equipment or input
  • Access to buildings, curriculum etc.
  • What outcomes are desired: what will the child be able to do that they can not do now?

What happens after a Statutory Assessment and the Local Authority decide to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan?

If, following a statutory assessment, the Local Authority decides that a child requires support above what must be provided by the setting, an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be issued. This will be drafted in consultation with the family. It will not say at this stage where the child will go to school. The family has 15 days to give their views on the content in the EHCP. They can express a preference for a named setting and confirm if, and how, they would like to take up the offer of a Personal Budget.

If a child’s parent or a young person makes a request for a particular nursery, school or post-16 institution in these groups the Local Authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHCP unless:

  • it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
  • the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.

A final EHCP must be issued within 20 weeks of the initial request being received and it will name an education setting although there are some exceptions allowed. Parents and young people have a right of appeal at this stage through The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. It important that the EHCP is specific and identifies all the child's needs and that it matches detailed provision to meet these needs and the identified outcomes.

What happens if the Local Authority decision is NOT to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan?

Sometimes the Local Authority’s view is that the statutory assessment advice says that an EHCP is NOT needed. If this is the case, the Authority will explain in writing and also say how the education setting should continue to meet the child’s needs. Parents, and the young person if they are over 16 and able to make a decision, have the right to appeal against the Local Authority's decision through The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal after mediation has been considered.

How will my child's EHCP be monitored and reviewed?

Education settings should meet with parents at least 3 times a year and they are responsible for ensuring that the EHCP is delivered throughout the year. Ultimately the Local Authority is responsible for ensuring the child or young person receives the provision specified. The purpose of an Annual Review is to ensure that at least once a year the parents, pupil, Local Authority, school and all the professionals involved monitor and evaluate the continued effectiveness and relevance of the provision set out in the Education, Health and Care Plan. The meeting should:

  • Consider progress by the pupil towards the Outcomes in the EHCP
  • Consider if the EHCP requires amendment, and if so, how
  • Discuss and set new targets and review progress towards the agreed Outcomes
  • Ensure that any phase transitions such as transfer from nursery (FS1) to Reception (FS2); primary to secondary school or 14-19 transition requirements are considered and followed according to the timeline set out in the SEND Code of Practice.

Educated otherwise than at school: Elective home education (EHE) - FAQ's

Can I home educate my child if they have Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

Parents have the right to home educate. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child receives a suitable education. Education is compulsory, school is not.

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs, including those with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), can be educated otherwise than at school through Elective Home Education (EHE). Reference: 2001 SEN Code of Practice, 2014 SEND Code of Practice and Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, 2007 Statutory Guidance (under review).

  1. If your child is receiving additional support at SEN Support, as set out in the SEND Code of Practice, you have the right to choose to educate your child otherwise than at school. You must tell the Headteacher or Chair of Governors, in writing that you wish to do so. The school will then remove your child’s name from the school roll and they will be formally de—registered. Local Authorities do not have a duty to assess all home educated children for SEN.
  2. If your child has an EHCP in a mainstream school, the Local Authority would need to be satisfied that you can make suitable arrangements and would usually ask the school to hold a statutory review of your child’s EHCP to discuss your decision to home educate. If the Local Authority is in agreement, your child’s EHCP will need amending and this would usually happen after the review.
  3. If your child is being educated in a Special School and has an EHCP, the Local Authority must first agree to your request and your child will remain on the roll of the named school until a decision has been made.

What are the steps in making a decision if my child has an EHCP and I elect to home educate?

The Local Authority must be satisfied that the efficient education you intend to provide is suitable to the child's age, aptitude and SEN as set out in their EHCP. Efficient education should prepare a child for life in the modern society and enable them to make progress towards their potential.

The EHE Officer will contact you to offer to discuss your plans further. The Local Authority may also need to hold a statutory annual review to consider your request and all up to date evidence and advice before making a decision. This is because your child’s EHCP may need amending to confirm what educational provision the Local Authority considers to be appropriate and whether or not the Local Authority agrees to your request.

Unless there is concern that home education would not meet your child’s SEN, the Local Authority will usually agree to your request. Your child’s EHCP will then be amended and may say one of two things:

  1. That the Local Authority’s view is that a type or a specific named school can meet your child’s needs but that we accept parents have made their own arrangements. In this circumstance the Local Authority is not responsible for making the provision set out in the EHCP. However, we must review the EHCP at least annually and you will be invited to contribute and attend;


  1. That the Local Authority agrees with you that home education is the required provision. In this circumstance the Local Authority would only name home education and must make the provision specified and review at least annually.

What if I do not agree with the LA’s decision?

If the Local Authority amends your child’s EHCP and you do not agree with the contents, you have the right of appeal to challenge this decision following consideration of mediation prior to lodging an appeal to a Tribunal (for specific sections of the EHCP).

My child is over 16: can s/he still be home educated?

Young people may also be educated at home in order to meet the requirement to participate in education and training until the age of 18. Young people over compulsory school age can continue to have an EHCP until the age of 19 or 25 if they have complex special educational needs.

When might my child’s EHCP be ceased?

At an annual review, it may be recommended, and subsequently agreed by the Local Authority, to cease the EHCP of a child educated otherwise. This would only be if it is clear that all of the special educational provision can be provided by the parent without continuing Local Authority involvement in annual monitoring and review. Parents must be invited to a statutory annual review but don't have to attend.

What do I do if my child has an EHCP and is home educated, but I would like my son/daughter to return to a school setting?

The Local Authority’s SEN Service would discuss with you the arrangements to hold a statutory annual review of your child’s EHCP. Together we would ensure that up to date information is available for example:

  • to confirm your child’s strengths and interests
  • your views, wishes and feelings and those of your child where s/he is are able to express these
  • what strategies, interventions/ activities and support work for your child and what does not work and why
  • what outcomes and targets your child is working towards and the progress s/he has made
  • what transition planning for a return to school would be supportive to you and your child.

This will enable the Local Authority to decide what provision is appropriate moving forward and what amendments need to be made to your child’s EHCP.

A consultation would then take place with your preferred choice of school and any other school the Local Authority may consider would be suitable. It is important to have as much information as possible as part of the review to enable a potential school setting to be clear that they can meet your child’s needs and plan an effective and successful transition.

More information

The Local Authority’s wider Policy on Elective Home Education can be found on the Home Education website.

Or contact via:

EHE FAQ - Educated Otherwise than at School
Download (152KB)

More Information

Our promises to you

  • We will treat you with respect and courtesy.
  • We will listen, understand and involve you from the very beginning of the statutory assessment process.
  • We will respond to requests to consider a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment within six weeks.
  • We will complete the full statutory assessment process within the maximum time, usually 20 weeks. You will be advised of the important deadlines and when to expect decisions.
  • We will name an SEN Officer for your child to co-ordinate the assessment process in partnership with you. The SEN Officer will give you information on the statutory assessment process; listen and seek to understand your queries or concerns and sign post you to other sources of information or support as required.
  • We will work closely with early years’ settings, schools, post 16 provision, other supporting agencies and practitioners to obtain up to date information for the assessment.
  • We will advise you of any decisions in clear language and make sure that you are aware of your rights if you do not agree with our decisions.
  • We aim to acknowledge receipt of letters and emails within three working days and respond fully to these wherever possible within ten working days. If we are unable to respond fully at that time, we will explain the reasons why and advise you of when we will write to you again.
  • We will make sure that we tell you of our decision within four weeks of the Annual Review Meeting and make any amendments as soon as we can.

How you can help us

  • Complete parental information/advice as far as you are able during the statutory assessment process and return this to us. Your views, wishes and feelings are vital and we can sign post you to sources of support.
  • Please try to attend any medical appointments etc. wherever possible. We do understand that at times this may be difficult. Unfortunately cancellations and missed appointments may lead to delays or incomplete information upon which to make a decision about how best to meet your child's special educational needs.
  • Complete parental information/advice for Annual Review meetings and always try wherever possible to attend these meetings. This is an ideal opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have and for your views to be recorded.
  • If you have any concerns about your child’s education, please speak to the school / setting in the first instance, the SENDIAS Service or the SEN Team – we all want to help and support you and your child.
  • Please contact us if you are new to the Doncaster area and your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), as we will need to obtain your child’s records from the previous authority and let you know what we are going to do next.
  • Please let us know if you change your address or contact details


For further information contact the SEN Team on the contact details below:

Local Offer Homepage

Last updated: 30 June 2023 08:36:59

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