Clarifying the Government’s Stance on Education, Health, and Care plans (EHCp’s)

 

The Minister for Children, Families, and Wellbeing, David Johnston, has addressed concerns about Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) following reports suggesting the government aimed to reduce their number by 20%.

 

In a letter to the Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robin Walker MP, Minister Johnston clarified that there is no intention to impose a 20% reduction in EHCPs. This comes after news in The Observer indicated that the government had engaged a consultancy firm as part of a programme called “Delivering Better Value in SEND,” with a purported goal of reducing new EHCPs by at least 20%.

 

Mr. Walker, who heads the Education Committee, pointed out that this appeared to contradict previous statements from Claire Coutinho, a former children’s minister, who stated that the Department had no intention of limiting EHCPs through the SEND and AP Improvement Plan.

 

Minister Johnston explained that their primary objective is to revamp the system to prioritise the child’s needs and provide necessary support earlier, potentially reducing the need for EHCPs. However, he reassured that every parent and family’s existing legal right to an EHCP will continue to be guaranteed when needed.

 

The 20% reduction mentioned in the contract with the consultancy firm does not represent a specific target or goal set by the government or local authorities. Rather, it reflects a potential outcome if the “Delivering Better Value” programme succeeds in helping schools and local authorities identify needs early and provide appropriate support without requiring an EHCP.

 

Minister Johnston also expressed his intention to respond to the broader comments and questions raised by the Education Committee, including requests for information regarding the proportion of inspectors with a background in special schools who inspect specialist settings.

 

In essence, the government’s focus is on improving support for children and young people with special needs, rather than reducing EHCPs. It aims to ensure that every child receives the right assistance, tailored to their requirements.

 

The passage of time will allow us to evaluate Minister Johnson’s claims more fully but more on the above can be found here:

 

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2023-10-17/202873

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