Do you have a question about Suffolk's Local Offer? Need help finding information or want to discuss what services are available?
You can call our Local Offer Advisor on 0345 606 1490, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, or you might want to check some of these Frequently Asked Questions below:
Firstly, welcome to Suffolk! We hope you will be very happy here.
If you haven’t already done so, it is important that you tell your old Local Authority that your child has moved. They will then contact the Family Services Team at Suffolk and arrange for their EHC plan to be transferred.
The SEN Code of Practice states that when a child or young person moves to another local authority, the old authority must transfer the EHC plan to the new authority. The old authority must transfer the EHC plan to the new authority on the day of your move (unless they were not provided with 15 working days’ notice of the move, in which case they must transfer it within 15 working days of becoming aware).
Once transferred; the new authority becomes responsible for maintaining the EHCP plan and for the special educational provision specified in it.
The new authority must review the plan before whichever of these is later:
• within 12 months of the plan being made or reviewed by the old authority, or
• within 3 months of the plan being transferred
If your child does not have an EHCP; you can find out about school admissions and/or apply for schools here.
School admission arrangements for children with EHCPs are different to main school admissions. This is to try and help ensure that children with SEND are not unfairly disadvantaged by the main process. If your child has an EHCP which names a school already; or if they are under assessment for an EHCP; you should contact your local Family Services team for advice and support.
If your child has an EHCP and has been excluded you should contact your local Family Services team .
There are many reasons why a child may struggle to attend school, and we want to work together with you to get them back into school and thriving as soon as possible.
You can find out some general information about school attendance here, (including penalty notices)
If your child is medically unable to attend school, has been permanently excluded or has SEND and is awaiting specialist placement, you may find the SEND Support factsheet in the Downloads section on this page helpful.
If you don’t feel that your child’s school are providing what is specified in your child’s EHCP, in the first instance we would encourage you to speak to their class teacher, Head of Year or SENDCO (Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-Ordinator). In many instances it may be a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication that has resulted in the situation in question. You can read more about how to raise a concern about EHC Plan provision here.
Teachers are trained to identify children and young people with SEN and schools are funded directly by the Local Authority to support most instances of SEN in mainstream schools from within their overall budget. The SEN Code of Practice states that schools should, working in conjunction with parents, carry out an analysis of the pupil’s needs, review this regularly and take action to remove any barriers to learning and put effective provision in place.
The majority of children in Suffolk will have the support they need within mainstream SEN Support. If you or the school feel your child needs more support than the school can ordinarily provide, the school may talk to you about applying for either some additional “High Needs” funding, or for a statutory assessment of your child’s Education and Health Care needs (this is the process that can lead to an EHCP being issued).
If this doesn’t resolve your situation or you do not feel able to speak to your child’s school, you may find it useful to contact the Suffolk Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS). You can find more information about this below.
Our aim is always to work with you as parents/carers, schools and other professionals in order to come to a joint decision that supports your child to achieve to their fullest potential, and so for this reason if you have any concerns or disagreements we would always encourage you to speak to us or the school first. We hope in most instances to be able to resolve any disagreements informally. You can read more about how to raise a concern about EHC Plan provision here.
However, we recognise that despite everyone’s best efforts, this is not always possible. If you do feel you need to take an issue further, there are various options available to you at different points:
– Advice and Support: SENDIASS is a free, confidential and impartial information, advice and support service. They offer support to children and young people up to the age of 25 with SEND, parents and carers of children with SEND and practitioners who support families. They can help listen, advise and support, help with letters and help you prepare for meetings. You can find out more about Suffolk SENDIASS here
– Disagreement Resolution: By law, all Local Authorities must commission an independent service to run their disagreement resolution service, and in Suffolk this is done by Anglia Care Trust. Disagreement resolution services cover all children and young people with SEN, not just those who are being assessed or have an EHCP Plan, and are designed to resolve disagreements about SEN, Health & Social Care provision. You can find out more about the service and Anglia Care Trust here .
– Mediation: In SEN terms, the word mediation refers to arrangements that apply to you if you are considering appealing to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) and so mediation is specifically linked to decisions about EHC Plans. In Suffolk, our SEN Mediation Service is also provided by Anglia Care Trust. Mediation can take place:
- Following a decision by us not to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment,
- Following a decision by us not to issue an EHCP,
- After you have received a final or amended EHCP,
- Following a decision by us not to amend or to cease to maintain an EHCP.
– Tribunal: The law now states that parents/carers must contact a mediation adviser first before lodging an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). This adviser must give you information on mediation and answer any questions you have. It is then your decision whether or not to try mediation before lodging a tribunal appeal; but it is important to know that your right to appeal is not affected by entering into mediation. For more information, contact Anglia Care Trust.
For more information, visit our Independent Advice section.