Statutory Assessment for Special Educational Needs
Process for Statutory Assessment
For almost all pupils with special educational needs, the necessary support will be made available through School Action and School Action Plus. However, for a small number of pupils with the most severe, complex and long term needs a Statutory Assessment may be necessary.
A Statutory Assessment is a very detailed assessment which will include reports from a variety of people, for example, parents: teachers: an educational psychologist and the school doctor. This detailed assessment will identify your child's needs and the special help that he/she may need.
Following a Statutory Assessment either a Note in Lieu or a Statement of Special Educational Needs will be written for your child.
Requesting a Statutory Assessment
The Code of Practice is very clear in its advice that a child should have been supported through School Action an School Action Plus approaches before a request for Statutory Assessment is made. However for a very small number of pupils with severe, complex and long term needs additional support may be required and this is when it may be considered appropriate to request a statutory assessment.
In some cases a request may be made if your child has not been supported through School Action and School Action Plus. For example if:
- your child suddenly demonstrates significant difficulties. For example, a major sensory or other impairment which, without immediate specialist help, will lead to increased learning difficulties;
- there is a significant change in your child's needs which comes to light suddenly.
A request can be made by the school or by you.
A request is normally made by the school when there are concerns about the progress your child is making with the support available at School Action Plus. The school will make this request only after they have consulted with you.
If the school request Statutory Assessment the LA will write and ask whether you agree and also whether you would like to send in any supporting information. You will be asked to provide this information within 29 days.
As a parent/carer you may also request Statutory Assessment, if you feel that your child's needs are not being met through School Action Plus. It is a good idea to discuss this with your child's school first. You may also wish to talk to the Parent Partnership Officer, your child's school or the LA will be able to put you in touch with her.
If the request for Statutory Assessment is made by you, the LA will write to:
- your child's school and ask them to send in any information about his/her needs;
- ask if you have any further information, which may include reports from other agencies, such as health or social services;
- other agencies to notify other professionals that they may later be asked for advice.
The decision about whether or not to carry out a Statutory Assessment will be based on all the information sent into the LA. Therefore the quality of information provided is very important.
The LA may decide Statutory Assessment is not appropriate at this time.
After considering all the information supplied, the LA may decide that your child's special educational needs can continue to be met appropriately through the support available at School Action Plus. You will receive a letter which will explain the reasons why they have decided not to proceed with Statutory Assessment. This letter will also:
- inform you that you have a right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal;
- offer you an opportunity to talk things through with the LA or the Parent Partnership Officer. (This may help you to understand why a decision has been made and may also help you to understand how your child's special educational needs will be met by his/her school);
- offer you the opportunity to have access to an independent mediator (If you have spoken to the LA or Parent Partnership Officer and you are still not happy with the decision that has been made).
The LA may decide to proceed with Statutory Assessment
The LA may decide that more detailed information is required about your child's special educational needs and in such cases the LA will proceed with Statutory Assessment.
(Please note that at this stage it will not have been decided whether the LA will need to write a Statement in order to meet your child's special educational needs.)
You will be notified in writing of the decision.
There may be some exceptional circumstances but in the majority of cases the LA should make a decision about making a Statutory Assessment within 6 weeks of receiving the request.
Statutory Assessment Information Gathering
When you are informed of the decision to proceed with Statutory Assessment you will be advised about your Named Officer / SEN Case Officer who will be able to discuss and help you with any part of the Statutory Assessment process.
At this time you will be asked whether:
- you want to provide the LA with more detailed information. In order to help you write a report a set of guidelines has been produced which you might find helpful;
- you would like to choose an Independent Parental Supporter to help and advise you with the Statutory Assessment process.
During the assessment, information is collected from:
- you, which may include your child's views;
- your child's school;
- an educational psychologist;
- health professionals including a doctor and others, such as an occupational therapist, speech therapist, physiotherapist or health visitor;
- social services;
- education welfare officers and other agencies as appropriate;
As you know your child best, your involvement in any discussion or assessment will be considered important.
Unless there are any exceptional circumstances, the process of gathering all information and drafting a Statement or Note in Lieu should be completed within 10 weeks, excluding summer holidays.
Outcome of Statutory Assessment
When all the reports have been received and considered the LA will decide whether to write a Note in Lieu or draft a Statement of Special Educational Needs.
Note in Lieu - A Note in Lieu will be produced if it is considered that your child's special educational needs can be met from resources at his/her school.
Proposed Statement - If it is decided to issue a Statement the LA will write one in draft form and send it to you together with all reports collected for the assessment.
You will be asked to name your choice of school and approve the draft statement within 15 days.
This process should take 2 weeks.
If you agree with the proposed Statement you will receive a final Statement of your child's special educational needs and this will name the school your child will attend. Very occasionally parents do not agree with the choice of school or the provision outlined in the final statement and you will have an opportunity to discuss this with your Named Officer. If you are unable to reach agreement it may be that the LA will finalise the Statement by default, ie without approval. If the Statement is made final without your approval, you will be able to make an appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal. Details of your right to appeal will be sent to you with the final Statement.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the process of making a draft Statement a final Statement should not take longer than 8 weeks.
Timescale Involved with Statutory Assessment
You will have noticed that there is a set period of time allocated for each stage of the Statutory Assessment process. This is illustrated below:-
6 Weeks - The LA consider the request and decide: YES or NO to Statutory Assessment
10 Weeks - The LA make an Assessment and decide whether to: Make a Statement or Not Make a Statement
2 weeks - The LA: Issue the draft Statement or Explain their decision not to make a Statement and send a Note in Lieu
8 weeks - The LA: Send out the final Statement
TOTAL = 26 weeks.