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I am a professional

Welcome to the Luton Local Offer - this is where you can find support or information aimed at helping you as a professional working with children or young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

There are 3 ways to find what you are looking for:

  • You can use the search facility at the top of the page
  • You can search by topic
  • Or, you can read the answers to these questions by clicking on them (below)

Can I complete an EHCP application as a professional? If so, how?

A young person can request an assessment themselves if they're aged 16 to 25. A request can also be made by anyone else who thinks an assessment may be necessary, including doctors, health visitors, teachers, parents and family friends.

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How long does the EHCP process take?

The local authority must let the applicant know within 6 weeks from receiving the application for an EHC Needs Assessment whether they have agreed to carry out an assessment or not. In Luton applications are considered at its moderation panel which meets every two weeks. Panel members consist of SEN Assessment Team officers and manager, School SENCOs, Special Educational Needs Support Service members (e.g. specialist advisory teachers and early years advisors) and educational psychologists.

If the local authority agrees to carry out the assessment they must complete the assessment within 16 weeks. If it decides to issue an EHCP, do so within 20 weeks of the original request.

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How do I find out who a young person’s SENAT worker is?

You can find out who a child or young person’s SEN Assessment Team (SENAT) officer is by contacting SENAT (see related services below) or by asking the child’s school SENCO.

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The role of the Lead Professional (LP) – information sheet for professionals

Following our SEND area inspection (2018) and as part of our SEND improvements programme Luton has decided to develop the role of the Lead Professional.

What is a lead professional?

  • Many children and young people in Luton require additional support and some children and young people require  support from several professionals 
  • Some might need an Education, Health Care Plan to meet their educational needs
  • Where there are several professionals involved, best practice is for there to be one person who plays a coordinating role, called a Lead Professional

What do they do?

  • The LP acts as a single point of contact for the child/young person and family
  • The LP should be a professional whom the child and family know and trust and who can engage them in making choices and decisions and helping them to navigate their way through what might feel like complicated processes and systems
  • The role should promote the child and family receiving a more joined-up, person-centred and effective service
  • The wishes of the parents and young person are paramount in selecting the LP. This should be someone with whom the child and family have a positive and supportive relationship

How do they do it ?

  • The Lead Professional can only carry out this role with the support from the team around the child and family. All those working with the child/ young person and the family should be prepared to support the Lead Professional in their role. They can do this by attending scheduled meetings, carrying out agreed actions, updating the Lead Professional about any changes in personnel or input, etc.
  • The LP co-ordinates the delivery of an agreed action plan based on the outcomes of assessments, to ensure that children and families receive an effective services which is regularly reviewed. This should reduce overlap and inconsistency and promote efficient team working by the services received.
  • The LP should be able to provide a shared understanding of the needs of the child/young person and how these will be met and by whom
    • The LP should regularly consult the views of the child and their family, ensure that they are up to date with support being offered and support them in participating in the decisions that affect them
    • The LP should also ensure an assessment of risk and need is completed and shared with all where needed, and also ensure that if a care plan is needed, this is implemented and reviewed
    • The LP should ensure the child/young person is supported through key transition points
    • The LP is responsible for organising person-centred meetings involving other professionals when needed

The role of the Lead Professional (LP) - information sheet for professionals

Further support

Luton Council is offering free training on the role of the Lead Professional which can be booked through:

What are the school’s responsibilities in procuring an EP assessment?

Educational Psychologists (EP) have a statutory duty to provide psychological advice for all children as part of their EHC needs assessment. This is a ‘core’ function and free to schools.

Schools buy in additional EP services using their delegated SEN funding. It is up to schools how much EP time they buy in and what they use their EP time for. EP time can be used for e.g. consultation, training, assessment, parent or staff drop in surgeries, etc.

School SENCOs are really well placed and experienced in deciding which children may require input from an EP. Most children with SEN do not need EP input and schools can meet the SEN needs of most children from within their own resources.  SENCOs are always happy to talk to other professionals about the support that is in place for children and how their needs are being met in schools so do contact a child’s school SENCO to find out more.

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Who do I contact, if a school is ignoring the EHCP advice?

If you feel a school is not putting in place the provision that is described in a child’s EHCP, speak to the school SENCO in the first instance.

You can also discuss this with the Special Educational Needs Assessment Team (SENAT).

Parents can receive independent information, advice and support from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support (SENDIAS) Service.

Related information

How do I get an assessment for a child I’m working with? (CAMHS, Edwin Lobo etc)

Check the Services’ entry on the Local Offer to see who can refer a child for an assessment and how to refer them. It is worth checking with the child’s school SENCO and/ or named person or lead professional to see if a referral may have already been made. Many services are happy to talk to professionals about a potential referral so consider phoning services to discuss. This may save you time and if the service/ referral is not appropriate they may be able to signpost you to other more relevant services.  

As a professional, what is my role in contributing to an EHCP?

Professional advice (usually in the form of a report) will be sought if an EHC Needs Assessment is agreed. Advice is always sought from:

  • Child’s parent and child/ young person
  • Educational setting
  • Medical professional responsible for EHC Needs advice
  • Social care (whether there is / has been active involvement or not)
  • Educational psychologist
  • VI/ HI qualified teacher (if applicable)
  • Youth Offending Service where the young person is detained in a youth offender institute
  • Any other that parent requests and considered reasonable

Other professionals who have been involved with a child will also be asked for their advice (e.g. Occupational Therapy Service, CAMHS, Speech and Language Therapy Service, Early Help, etc.). If you are asked for your advice, you should include information from your professional point of view about a child’s strengths and their needs; a child and parents views if you have been able to gather these; what outcomes you expect for a child (these should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable Relevant and Time bound) and strategies, intervention and resources to meet these objectives.

Many services now have proformas to use so that key information is gathered in a standard format. 

What support is available for children who do not have an EHCP?

There is lots of support available for children and young people who have special educational needs (‘K’ coded in school) but who do not need an EHCP.

Schools can request outside agency support for any child with SEN regardless of whether they have an EHCP or not. For example from the SEN Support Service or Educational Psychology Service, community paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapy Service, Occupational Therapy Service or CAMHS. 

Schools can provide up to 12.5 hours one to one support (or equivalent) from their own delegated SEN funding to support children with SEN. Schools make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of children with SEN. They are able to differentiate work so that children can access the curriculum at a suitable level so that a child can make progress at their own rate. Often children with SEN are taught in smaller groups with TA support. The majority of children with SEN are able to have their needs met without the need for an EHCP.

All schools must publish their SEN Information Report on the Local Offer so search the Local Offer for a school and click the link to their SEN Information Report to find out how they support children with SEN.

Where else can I get support e.g. recommended charities and voluntary groups?

Use the Local Offer directory to search for local and national charities and voluntary organisations who can support children, young people, families and professionals. Many organisations in the voluntary sector offer training for professionals and they are always happy to talk to professionals. So contact them to see what they can do to support you or a child, young person or family you are working with.

What training is available for professionals?

There is a wide range of free virtual training courses available to professionals working in Luton.

The link below takes you to the website to book training. Please note you do need to registrar and set up an account before you can start to book training.   Training courses include :

  • Understanding the EHCP process 
  • Understanding the Annual Review process 
  • Person centred planning 
  • Preparing for Adulthood 
  • Lead professional role for SEND children and young people 
  • A range of Autism courses 
  • A range of Speech, Communication and Language courses

SEND Improvement Training and Development Offer

If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive information on training please email;

e-learning modules for professionals working with children and young people with SEND 

There are  three e learning modules are available for you to access. They have been developed by SEND specialist and cover a range of important information.

  1. Module one covers:  context and the legislation, coproduction and the Local offer
  2. Module two covers: the graduated response and person centred planning
  3. Module three covers: the Education, Health and Care Plan

For more information watch this short promotional video.

Book SEND e-learning modules

Please note: you simply have to register on the site and set up an account

The SENS Support Service and Educational Psychology Service can also offer a wide range of bespoke training for professionals and are happy to talk to other professionals about their training needs. Charitable organisations also offer training for professionals so check out what they provide on their websites – search the Local Offer to find them.    

Some of Luton’s special schools also provide outreach and training for professionals. 

Related information

What if a child is educated outside of local authority area?

If a child with an EHCP is educated in a different local authority to the one they live in, the local authority where they live remain responsible for maintaining and funding the plan. The school where they attend are responsible for carrying out the plan. 

If a child moves out of the local authority the new local authority must adopt the EHCP (or review the plan or re-assess the child) and they are then responsible for maintaining and funding the plan unless after review/ re-assessment they decide to cease the plan. 

For looked after children, where a child being educated out of the local authority’s area is brought to the local authority’s attention as potentially having SEN, the home local authority (where the child normally lives) should decide whether to assess the child or young person and decide whether an EHC plan is required.

Where a child or young person being educated out of area has an EHC plan, the home local authority must ensure that the special educational provision set out in the plan is being made. They must review the EHC plan annually. Local authorities can make reciprocal arrangements to carry out these duties on each other’s behalf.

If the child or young person is placed by a local authority at an independent special school, non-maintained special school or independent specialist provider, the local authority must pay the appropriate costs.

Related information

IPSEA Moving to a new local authority

What support is available for home schooled children?

Parent can elect to home educate their child/ children. If the child has an EHC plan, choosing to electively home educate means that the LA no longer has a legal duty to secure any special educational provision which was specified in the child’s EHC plan, because the parents are deemed to be making their own suitable alternative arrangements. Because of this, parents should be supported to think very carefully about this and about whether they can meet their child’s special educational needs. 

Although the LA has no duty to secure provision for the EHC plan, it must still review the plan annually to assure itself that the provision set out in it continues to be appropriate and that the child’s SEN continue to be met.

If a child has social care needs or if there are social care or safeguarding concerns, professionals working with the family should work together with the family to consider this course of action.

If a child or young person with SEN but without an EHC plan is home educated, the LA does not have any duties to provide special educational provision.

Parents of children with SEN / an EHC plan who are electively home educated remain entitled to universal services such as health and social care services and charitable and voluntary sector organisations can also provide support for children being educated at home.

Related Information

IPSEA Home schooling and ‘education otherwise’

What is PFA (preparing for adulthood)?

PFA stands for preparing for adulthood.

Being supported towards greater independence and employability can be life-transforming for children and young people with SEN.

Consideration of PFA needs should start at the earliest point when SEN are first identified and should centre around the child or young person’s own aspirations, interests and needs. All professionals working with them should share high aspirations and have a good understanding of what support is effective in enabling children and young people to achieve their long terms ambitions for:

  • higher education and/or employment
  • independent living
  • participating in society, including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community
  • being as healthy as possible in adult life

Specific planning and preparation for adulthood should start from year 9 onwards.

Related information

How can I support families to understand which benefits they are entitled to?

There are many different sources of help for families with financial and legal concerns so it can be confusing knowing what's available, what you're entitled to and how to access the help you need. If you're worried about benefits or tax credits, housing or schools or if you have debts then you will be able to find financial or legal help through the local services or national websites or helplines listed here.

Benefit Advice can be sought from an organisation called Contact they can provide telephone support via their helpline 0808808355, or online