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Changes to special educational needs and disability services (SEND)

All SEND services in County Durham are following the guidance set out by Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We want to assure children and young people with SEND and their parents/carers that we will continue to fully involve them in the decisions that affect them as families and the decisions that we take strategically.

Education Health and Care (EHC) plans

Working with colleagues in schools/settings and in health, we will continue to consider each child and young person with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan and what can reasonably be provided in the circumstances during the Coronavirus arrangements. For some individuals, this will mean that the provision specified in their plan can continue to be delivered; but for others (because of the impact of coronavirus) the provision may need temporarily to be different to that which is set out in their EHC plan.
The guidance outlines specifically the temporary changes to the EHC assessment and planning process. We will continue to: 

  • consider new requests for EHC needs assessment and agree whether to start an assessment or suggest an alternative way of meeting needs
  • conduct EHC needs assessments ensuring that we 
    • seek the views and wishes of a child, the child's parent or carer
    • ask for advice and information from all relevant professionals  
  • undertake annual reviews of existing EHC plans (or reassessments where necessary) 
  • positively handle any differences of opinions with parents and carers by promoting the rights of appeal, offering mediation and responding to any SEND tribunal requests. We will also address any complaints that are made through our normal procedures

We will aim to complete our processes within our normal time limit, these are set out in our publication Icon for pdf Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) in schools - A guide for parents and carers (PDF, 1.2mb) . We do anticipate that in some instances due to the coronavirus arrangements this will not be possible, in these instances we will complete the task as soon as we are able. The areas that this may affect include: 

  • agreeing to a new EHC needs assessments 
  • deciding whether to issue plans (this may be due to delays in receiving advice from others who are providing a relevant contribution)
  • preparing and issuing plans
  • reviewing plans
  • processing mediation 
Contact us
SEND and Inclusion Service
03000 267 800
Our address is:
  • Broom Cottages Primary and Nursery Schoo
  • Ferryhill
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL17 8AN
01740 657 792
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