Reasonable Endeavours - Temporary Changes to the EHCP Legislation due to Covid 19
For the attention of Head Teachers and SENCos
Further to our request in Schools News on 05.05.20 for schools to complete a ‘Reasonable Endeavours’ proforma for each child with an EHCP, the local authority has received a great deal of feedback from schools about both the scale and the value of this task.
We recognise that the intention behind the variation in the legislation was to relax expectations on LAs and schools, to meet every detail of provision in EHCPs, but appreciate that the effect of the LA response to DfE requirements was, unfortunately, to increase workloads.
We sincerely regret the frustration and additional challenge that this has caused at a time when schools are working hard and with great creativity, to support and meet the needs of all your students at a distance but we hope that you understand that we were following instructions from the DfE.
Thank you to those schools who have been in touch to express their views, or shared these with LA colleagues in your weekly phone calls. These have been noted and the LA now recognises that, particularly for schools with a high number of children with EHCPs, to complete this task to the level of detail and in the timeframe suggested is not possible.
It will be no surprise that your concerns are shared by colleagues across other LAs and they were raised by Oxfordshire and others at a meeting of the SE19 group of Local Authorities this week. The SE19 group will be collectively taking these issues back to the DfE to seek clarification as to how their expectations can be met and risk can be managed in a more proportionate way.
We will provide an update when we have a response from the DfE.
In the mean time we would recommend that you approach this task in a pragmatic way, for example:
• Prioritising those children and young people, where parents may have concerns about how their needs are being met.
• Providing only a summary - or minimal detail on the proforma, for CYP whose parents are broadly happy with the current arrangements.
• Sharing the requested information with the LA in a different format, if you already have it collated on a spreadsheet for example.
We would like to thank schools who have completed their reasonable endeavours proformas already, for the time you have invested in this task. The LA is grateful for your support with this and we trust that the conversations you have had with families were positive and productive and that it has been a helpful process to focus on individual provision in this way.
We recognise that, in these exceptional times, schools are working incredibly hard to keep in touch with children and their families, to deliver the curriculum remotely, to sustain their engagement and support their wellbeing. It is clear that, in many cases, schools are going beyond what is required in EHCPs to personalise provision and your efforts in this respect are highly valued.
Sent on behalf of Jayne Howarth Head of SEND