The requirement to work from home has impacted on delivery, although all principles of decision-making remain the same. Panels are currently held electronically with reduced membership at times. We are working on safe external sharing with partners to achieve full representation again as soon as possible. It is expected the panel will continue electronically in the future, as this is far more time effective and efficient.
This panel meets weekly (during term time and less frequently during school holidays). It is chaired by the Special Education Needs and Assessment Team (SENAT) Service Manager or Team Manager (with additional responsibility). The panel considers complex casework associated with children/young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Decisions made are often associated with significant expenditure.
The panel is made up of team managers from the SEN Assessment Team and the Principal Educational Psychologist. The agenda is distributed to other local authority colleagues, for example, colleagues in the virtual school, school transport and in teams that support attendance and inclusion in schools. Representatives of these teams will attend when appropriate.
Parent/carer forum representatives have attended previously and work is underway to enable their attendance in the future.
The purpose of the SEN Panel is to:
- agree educational placements for children/young people with EHCPs, where standard placement finding procedures in local mainstream provision have been challenging
- consider requests for additional resources, in addition to that already delegated to schools, to support placements for children/young people with EHCPs, or for those who have just completed an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)
- consider special school or special support centre requests for additional funding or other resources, following annual reviews
- review progress of active appeals to the SEN and Disability Tribunal (this element is confidential to the SEN Assessment Team and active local authority representatives in the appeal).
- It is important that information and evidence used in the SEN Panel process is up to date and relevant. The panel needs to have clear evidence of the child/young person’s special educational needs and what has happened so far to enable them to make progress, together with the impact of any already available funding/resources.
- All relevant, up to date paperwork, for example, annual review documentation and/or EHC needs assessment paperwork or other recent professional reports, including parent/carer contributions, will all be available to the panel members.
- The Planning Coordinator for the child/young person prepares a written summary of the request, which must include a clear ‘question’ that is being asked for the panel to consider. This summary will include professional and parent/carer views of the request/potential outcome and links to the full documentation.
- The panel agenda will close at 4.00pm on the Monday before the following week’s panel, and from that date no new requests will be added. The agenda will be distributed by Tuesday lunchtime for the panel in the same week.
- Requests are considered individually in the panel meeting having been given an allocated time slot on the agenda. In addition to considering written information, the Planning Coordinator might be asked questions to clarify things where needed.
- Following the discussion, the Chair makes the decision and explains the reasons for the decision and updates the pupil’s record with the decision.
- The Planning Co-ordinator gives feedback from the panel to parents and relevant professionals, as agreed by the Team Manager.
This is a summary of the process; full terms of reference are available from your usual contact in the SEN Assessment Team.