Mainstream schools are split into seven locality areas in Sheffield. The localities work in the same way to give advice to schools and SENCOs about children with complex needs, MyPlans and EHC needs assessments. This helps them follow a graduated approach to meeting a child’s needs.
This support happens through two types of meeting: Stage 1 and 2.
Stage 1 meetings – Consultation and quality assurance of MyPlans
These meetings are for SENCOs to:
- Discuss how a child’s special educational needs are being identified and how best to put the right support in place for them
- Be supported to review MyPlans
SENCOs, locality lead SENCOs and Educational Psychologists take part in the meetings. They give advice and recommendations about further support and next steps. This can include agreement to submit a child’s case to a Stage 2 meeting.
Stage 2 meetings – Consideration for request to assess
These meetings are to review cases where a request for an EHC needs assessment is being considered, before a request is made to the local authority as part of a graduated approach to meeting the child’s needs.
SENCOs, locality SENCOs, lead SEND headteachers, Senior Educational Psychologists and SENDSARS take part in the stage 2 meetings. They give advice about:
- Other support that might benefit the child
- Whether a request for an EHC needs assessment should be made.
Please note: The locality processes (stage 1 and 2 meetings) are not statutory. This means they are not required by law and do not give rise to any legal rights. Schools are encouraged to follow them, to receive support and achieve more consistency across Sheffield.
The local authority delegates “top-up” or “High Needs” funding for SEND to the locality panels to distribute. Schools are able to make requests to their locality for funding, to support individual children both with and without an EHC Plan. Funding decisions can be made at stage one, stage two or via a locality funding panel, depending on the arrangements in each locality. All additional funding to support provision in an EHC Plan is made through this route. More information about funding for SEN in mainstream schools
What you can do
In many cases, schools will not need explicit parental consent to take part in the locality processes, as this will already be covered by their privacy policies. But there is an expectation that the school will inform you before your child’s case is discussed.
Ask your child’s SENCO or teacher if you have any questions. You should also arrange to speak to them after the meeting takes place, to find out how it went and what the next steps are.
It is important that parents and carers understand the difference between decisions made by locality meetings and decisions made by the local authority as part of the statutory decision making:
- A locality meeting can only make non-statutory recommendations.
- A decision made by the local authority’s EHC Panel is a statutory decision. If you do not agree with it you can appeal it via the SEND tribunal. This must be done within specific time limits.