The Governance Boards are held every week on a Wednesday (or a Thursday) in the four quadrants of Surrey – South East, South West, North East and North West.
The Chair is usually the SEND Area Manager of the quadrant. They are attended by a mixture of professionals to discuss and make decisions on some or all of the following:
- Requests for EHCP needs assessments
- Deciding whether to issue an EHCP following assessment
- School placements (type only – the panel will make that decision based on the evidence they have)
- Hours of support
A SEND Senior Case Manager will take minutes.
The papers submitted to the Board should be circulated electronically one week prior to the meeting so that attendees are able to read them and give input at the Board pertaining to their area of expertise.
It is essential that services are properly represented at these forums to enable decision making to be holistic (thinking about the bigger picture) and therefore there should be a system of delegation in case of a member being off sick for example.
Decisions are made based on documented evidence submitted to the Board, i.e. professional assessments from a statutory EHC Needs Assessment along with other supporting evidence or an Annual Review.
Once the decision has been made you, as the parent/carers and those involved with the child/young person will be notified of the decision within 2 weeks of the Board date. A decision letter will be sent to you by your Case Officer setting out the decision and next steps, this will also give the right of appeal if applicable.
Where it is agreed that an EHC Plan will be issued, the LA will issue a Draft EHCP, this will not have any school or type of school named in Section I as you as parents/carers have to be given the opportunity to state a preference in your response to the Draft.
If the LA determine that specialist provision is appropriate you should be signposted to a list of schools that the LA will formally consult with to see who can meet your child’s needs.
If the LA decide that mainstream school is appropriate, the Board will agree the amount of hours of support that your child/young person will need in the mainstream setting to have their needs met. A place will be sought in the nearest appropriate mainstream school to your home that has an available place.
If the LA agree to a placement in a mainstream school unit/base/centre provision then the LA may not stipulate hours and a placement will be sought in the most appropriate placement that can meet your child/young person’s needs.
This however should not happen, the Send Regs are very clear regarding Section F (Reg 12) – specifies that Section F of the Plan must specify the special educational provision required by the child, i.e. does not need to include provision that may be desirable but that is not necessary to meet the CYP’s SEN.
The Code and case law make it clear that the provision in Section F must be:-
“detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise”.
Case Law on specifying hours:
Where special educational provision is set out in Part 3 of the Statement (now Section F of an EHC plan) it must be specific, which will normally involve specifying the number of hours of support.