As an army family, moving home can be a particular worry if you have a child with special educational needs and/or disability. The good news is that work is going on behind the scenes to help make the process run smoother. Ed Harris, from the Directorate Children & Young People (DCYP), tells us more…

When it became clear that the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice didn’t fully meet the needs of service children moving between local authorities, the MOD Local Authority Partnership (MODLAP) set to work.

Unlike the school admissions code, the SEND code doesn’t require local authorities to secure a place before your family arrives in your new location, so some SEND children have ended up without a school place for long periods of time.

What’s been done about it?

MODLAP has developed a set of principles to support your child’s transition:

  • Each MODLAP local authority has committed to reducing to the absolute minimum the amount of time your child with SEND is out of education following a move to a new area.
  • Local authorities have agreed that consultation with schools for placement of your child with SEND will take place prior to your arrival into the area. The new local authority must arrange the special educational provision set out in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. Bear in mind that your child may have to be placed in a school other than the one named on the plan if the distance makes it impractical.
  • A key point of contact in each local authority will co-ordinate and oversee the transition of service children with SEND between local authority areas.
  • Each MODLAP member will seek continuity of provision for all service children moving in and out of local authority areas, including MOD schools. This includes the transfer of EHC plans which are not yet finalised.

Further work

This has been promoted to other local authorities and several of them are already adopting these principles as good practice. Since their introduction, the Department for Education’s SEND team is considering how this work will influence the planned refresh of the current SEND code of practice.

If you’re finding it difficult to find a school place for your child with SEND, do contact us. Our health and additional needs specialist, Karen Ross, will be happy to help – additionalneeds@aff.org.uk

More on MODLAP

In 2017, DCYP created MODLAP, a group made up of senior local authority officers who work together to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of service children.

They develop solutions to the most common challenges faced by you and your children when engaging with local authorities. The membership includes 15 local authorities, which covers two thirds of the service child population in England. The group has become an increasingly powerful influence on local government policy.

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