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'Researchers to evaluate Education, Health and Care plans for children with special educational needs

Researchers from the School of Education have been awarded £10,000 by British Academy and Leverhulme Trust. The funding will be used to evaluate the quality of newly-developed Education Health and Care (EHC) plans for children with special educational needs.

Posted: 2 April 2015

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The government introduced the new Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice in September 2014 as part of the Children and Families Act. Under the new rules, SEN statements have been replaced with education, health and care (EHC) plans taking children and young people up to the age of 25. The introduction of the EHC plans is expected to affect the way support for children with SEN will be provided.

Dr Castro, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies and Dr Palikara, Senior Lecturer in Educational Psychology will use the funding to examine the quality of these new EHC plans. They will be using an innovative approach to the classification of special educational needs that highlights functioning skills instead of diagnosis, known as the International Classification of Functionality Disability and Health (ICF). The ICF framework was endorsed by the World Health Organisation as the international standard to describe functioning.

Between 2015 and 2017, the team will use the ICF framework to analyse 600 Education Health and Care plans. In addition to this, they will also train a number of professionals to use the ICF for the development of EHC plans and they will evaluate the impact of this training on the quality of the EHC plans.

Dr Castro and Dr Palikara intend that the findings of the study will start building the evidence base concerning the effectiveness of the EHC plans following the changes implemented by the new Children and Families Act 2014.

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