For families relocating with children with special educational needs, the Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) is potentially an important document to have drafted.
The EHC plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through normal educational channels.
It has taken the place of the Statement of Special Educational Needs.
The EHC plan identifies educational, health and social needs and sets out the additional support to meet those needs, including how that support will be funded. It also allows the parents some say in how they would prefer the funding to be allocated.
It is the responsibility of the local authority to carry out an assessment for EHC plan. It can be requested by parents, teachers or a young person directly if aged between 16 and 25.
Most special education schools will not consider a child unless they have an EHC plan in place.
For families relocating, obtaining an EHC can take a minimum of 20 weeks and usually, in practice, longer than that, though schools and local authorities will usually make interim arrangements.
As ever, it is essential that parents have a clear “paper” record for a child – including an up-to-date diagnosis, any current support programme in place, and references from the current school.
University fee levels to rise
English universities will be able to raise undergraduate fee levels to £9250 per year from September 2017.
In a recent survey of elite universities, all said that they intended to charge the higher rate.
It is also possible that the increased fees can be charged to students who have already started their courses.
30 hours free childcare to start in September 2017
The Government is to double the number of free nursery hours available to working parents from 15 to 30 hours per week in September 2017.
Term-time holidays not illegal
Term-time holidays are now being accepted by schools in many parts of the country after councils were forced to update their policy fining parents.
The Government had cracked down on unauthorised absence at schools, despite many parents’ complaints that travelling during the school holidays is more expensive than in term time.
But last year the High Court ruled that it is not illegal to remove a child from school as long as they had a good attendance record.
One of the main challenges facing a family when moving home is understanding the educational journey that they are embarking on.
A move is not just a professional relocation, but, more importantly for children, an academic journey that will dictate future choices and options.
Before a family commits to a school or college in a new country, time should be taken to consider both what the future holds and what the past has given them.
This could include what a student wants to do when they leave school, what curriculum they have studying, how they have responded to academic environments in the past, as well as the length of time of the assignment and how that will impact on future choices.
This might not just be an academic consideration but how a school can meet a student’s co-curricular interests, support a special educational need or how they offer pastoral care to ensure that a child settles well.
Every single school handles children differently and parents can only make a judgement on which would be best by fully understanding the journey that the family are taking.
Dean Associates is a leading international education consultant that can provide a unique insight into this journey. Over the last 30 years we have helped over 10,000 families successfully move home.
A leading figure in UK education has argued that schools should be ranked as much on pupil well-being as on exam results.
Sir Anthony Seldon – formerly head of Wellington College – asserted; “As long as the only metric on which schools are being assessed is their exam performance, our schools will never have the incentive to take well-being as seriously as they should.”
Sir Anthony has proved an innovative figure in English education – introducing happiness and well-being classes at Wellington.
The Office for National Statistics regularly measures well-being within schools – and it this information could possibly be used within a league table format.
This could include comparing the resources put into pastoral care, such as staffing and support services, and surveying a sample of pupils to see their views on school life.
There have been numerous reports about increasing unhappiness, anxiety and depression among young people and Sir Anthony insists that pupils need help while they are still at school.
“By the time students arrive at 18, the damage has been done.“