Army families are adept at moving – however, you may need extra support if your child has additional educational needs.
Around the UK
If your child has been assessed by their local authority and given a formal plan, this may be an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan, Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP), Individual Development Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Needs, depending on where you live.
When you move within the same country, the plan should transfer across and the provision should be maintained. However, in practice, many of you have struggled with this as provision varies. Moving between England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland can create unique circumstances which may require additional consideration.
Kira (main photo) has two boys, aged 17 and 15, one who has autism and is in mainstream education with support, and one with complex learning and medical disabilities, who has attended a specialist school since the age of five. When the family was notified about their posting, they reviewed specialist settings in their new location and asked for support with the transition. After many challenges, Kira is now receiving support from her local Children with Disabilities Social Care team. She says: “We thought we had put everything in place so that our son’s education wouldn’t be affected but he has been out of school for seven months now, we are still waiting for a place. It’s likely this will be in another county, which will involve a long journey. The effect on our family life has been enormous. More collaboration needs to be done with families who have AGAI 81 in place so that this doesn’t continue to happen.”
If you’re experiencing issues with transferring your child’s plan, you can get support from the UK Education Advisory Team (UK EAT) – RC-DCS-HQ-EAT@mod.gov.uk, SENDIASS (search under your local authority) or ipsea.org.uk – who can support you with the legalities.
Transferring in England
- Inform your current local authority and the one you’re moving to in writing. Include a copy of your assignment order and the date you’d like your child to start their new school.
- The local authority should assign you a caseworker – it’s advisable to keep records of any communication, including dates and names of who you’ve spoken to.
- Research new schools – search for the local authority ‘local offer’ page.
- Check the school’s SEND policy and arrange to speak to the SENDCO or other key staff. Visit with your child if you can.
- You can request that the new local authority begins consulting with your preferred school before you move – UK EAT may be able to help.
- Note that an EHC Plan can’t be transferred outside of England.
Before you move you’ll be asked to provide information about your child which will be used to inform the MOD Assessment of Supportability Overseas process. More information can be found in JSP 770, Chapter 2A. EHC Plans (or equivalent) can’t be reviewed or updated in overseas locations.
If your child is identified as having SEND whilst overseas then an MOD school may provide a Service Children’s Assessment of Need. If additional support needs emerge in a location without an MOD School, contact your chain of command or CEAS for support.
Go to gov.uk under ‘Education overseas for service children’ or email the Overseas Education and Supportability (OES) Team at RC-DCS-HQ-OES@mod.gov.uk
Have your say
The government has published a green paper on the future of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) system and is undertaking a public consultation on the green paper’s proposals.
AFF will be submitting evidence to this on behalf of army families, so please do get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your views, or you can contribute to the survey directly.
Related article: Adventures and opportunities at MOD schools overseas