Surrey County Council is changing the way children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get boarding places in Surrey special schools. By 'boarding', we mean staying in the school overnight. This change only applies to those schools who already offer this.
We have already had some discussion with the schools concerned, as well as a group of parents and carers. Now we want to listen to the views of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to:
hear your views
ensure that you understand the change taking place, and why
listen to any issues you may have around the timing of the change and the change over to the new arrangements.
Why We Are Consulting
What is changing?
We want to ensure that the process is fair, open and consistent across Surrey, so that you know what to expect and how the process works.
At the moment, the decision around whether a child is offered a boarding place is made at school level. The law now makes it clear that the decision should be made as part of deciding a child's Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).
Why is this important?
This change will make the process fairer and clearer, and will avoid one school having a different policy to another. It is also a legal requirement, which is set out in the Children and Families Act (2014).
How will this happen?
The proposed criteria for staying in a school overnight are:
if the child or young person has needs that require support in an overnight school place to progress with their learning or preparing for being an adult.
if the distance between the school and home means that travel times are overlong or stressful.
When will this happen?
We will have a change over period from the old system to the new criteria to allow families and schools to make any necessary adjustments. We will be listenng to views until the end of March 2017, then a report will go to Surrey County Council’s Cabinet to approve any changes.
What about children already in a residential placement?
We are proposing to allow a year for the change over period but there is a question about this in the survey.
Going forward, we are also going to be looking at the number of boarding places we have, but we will ask you about that separately.
This survey is about the fairest way to decide who gets boarding places residential accommodation not about how many boarding places there are.