Co-ordinated Support Plans (CSPs)

A Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP) is a statutory document drawn up for children and young people with the most complex and enduring additional support needs, where a high degree of co-ordination of support from education service agencies and other agencies outwith education is required. It is subject to regular monitoring and review. It is a planning document to help co-ordinate the role and the degree of involvement of other agencies and is not linked to resources.

There are very detailed rules about what they must contain, what the Education Authority must do to keep them up to date, and the rights of parents and young people to request a plan and say what it should contain.

Children over 12 and young people (with capacity), parent / carers, schools and other agencies can requested that a CSP be considered for a child or young person. However, there are two pre-conditions that must exist before we can consider opening a plan:

  • The child must be over three years of age.
  • The Education Authority must be responsible for providing the child’s education.

If a child or young person meets the pre-conditions, the authority has eight weeks to make a decision on whether or not to assess the child.

If the Education Authority decides to assess a child to find out whether or not a CSP is needed, it should take no more than 16 weeks to complete the assessment process and to: decide that a CSP is not needed; or that a CSP is needed and to open the plan.

There are three reasons why a child would need a CSP and all three of the reasons must exist at the same time:

  • the child or young person has additional needs arising from complex or multiple factors
  • these needs are likely to endure beyond a year
  • significant additional support is required from the Education Authority as well as one or more other agencies

Complex factors: A complex factor is one that has, or is likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person. A complex factor could arise from severe learning difficulties, a sensory impairment such as blindness, or a physical disability such as cerebral palsy. However, these examples wouldn’t require a coordinated support plan in all cases. It is the impact on the child’s learning that is important. Something that has a significant and adverse impact on one child’s school education could have no, or very little, impact for another child.

Multiple factors: Multiple factors are factors which are not by themselves complex factors but, taken together, have or are likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child. One example might be a child who is experiencing problems at school due to the combined effects of a mild sensory impairment and the pressures of being a young carer at home. The joint impact of these factors may have a significant adverse effect on their education.

Likely to last for more than one year: The professionals who do the assessments will have to make a judgement whether the additional support needs are likely to continue for more than one year.

Requiring significant additional support from the Education Authority – and from the Education Authority exercising functions other than education or from one or more appropriate agencies: The Education Authority can be understood in terms of it being East Lothian Council. The Authority exercises many different functions – for example, social work functions. In some cases, these functions may be required to provide significant additional support. The Act also specifies appropriate agencies that may need to provide significant additional support.  This support must be required to enable the meeting of educational objectives so that the child is able to benefit from school education. The Act itself does not specify what is a significant level of support. However, the Act requires the Education Authority to have regard to a Code of Practice written by the Scottish Government. This Code says that the Education Authority must have regard to the frequency, nature, intensity and duration of the support and the extent to which that support needs to be co-ordinated.

Wherever possible the child or young person should also be involved in considering the content of a CSP. It may not always be appropriate for the child/young person to be involved in a meeting with parents and other adults. However, every effort should be made to ensure that the child or young person has contributed to the document including the educational objectives and how these are to be achieved.

A Co-ordinated Support Plan must contain:

  • the education authority’s conclusions as to the factor or factors from which the additional  support needs of the child or young person arise
  • the educational objectives sought to be achieved taking account of those factors
  • the additional support required to achieve these objectives
  • details of those who will provide this support
  • the name of the school the child or young person is to attend
  • the details of the person who will co-ordinate the additional support identified in the plan, or details of any person nominated by the education authority to carry out the co-ordinator function - if not an education authority official
  • the details of a contact person within the local authority from whom the parents or young person can obtain advice and further information

The Co-ordinated Support Plan also contains other details in addition to those required by the Act. These are:

  • specified biographical and contact details of the child or young person
  • specified contact details for their parent(s) or those adults who have, or share, responsibility for the care of the child or young person
  • a profile – the purpose of this is to build a holistic pen picture of the child or young person. It should focus on the positive aspects of the child’s/young person’s life, for example, his/her skills and capabilities. It may also include information about the school attended or curriculum followed, other planning in place, his/her favourite activities, or how he/she likes to learn
  • parents’ and child’s/young person’s comments on any aspects of the coordinated support plan  process as well as the plan itself
  • a review timetable

The child or young person will be working towards achieving a number of learning outcomes but the CSP is concerned only with the learning outcomes that require the direct involvement of other agencies and the co-ordination of this support.

The ‘Educational Objectives’ component is intended to be clear and succinct, and focus only on needs that will or are likely to continue for more than a year. Shorter-term objectives should be contained within an IEP or some other plan. In cases where there is an Individualised Educational Programme or other planning mechanism in place, the CSP should refer to this, but not duplicate the content of the plan unless required to meet the statutory requirements.

The CSP co-ordinator is the person responsible for monitoring that the services required to deliver the additional support identified in the plan are in place for the child or young person, and for taking action to secure services when necessary. Once a plan has been agreed, the co-ordinator should ensure that parents, children and young people and all those involved in providing additional support, know what is required of them by the plan.

If the Education Authority fails to meet the previously mentioned timescales, the parent(s) or young person can appeal against this failure and how to do this is described in Chapter 9 – Resolving Disagreements. However, there are some circumstances in which we are permitted to take longer – the most likely circumstances are:

  • when a parent or young person requests a specific type of assessment which is in some way unusual and this causes a delay
  • when the Education Authority has asked another agency, such as the health service, for help and the agency has not responded in time
  • when information is required from a school but this information cannot be obtained in time because the school is shut for the summer holidays

If there is a delay, we will tell the parent or young person and we will then set a new date.

Reviewing a CSP

The adequacy of a CSP must be kept under ongoing consideration and the plan must be formally reviewed at least every 12 months, making appropriate amendments, as necessary. The review must be completed within 12 weeks of the expiry date (which is the anniversary of the date on which the plan was prepared).

Ongoing monitoring and the arrangements to review the CSP need to be agreed amongst the professionals working with the child or family. Consideration should include what, if any, updated assessment information is required and from which agencies, whether or not it would be helpful to identify one of the team to help the child and/or family to get most out of the process, and the role of the coordinator for the CSP in the review process.

When the CSP is being reviewed, the child’s parents or the young person him/herself will be advised by the education authority of the proposal to review the coordinated support plan and asked for their views. Parents will also be notified about what is likely to happen during the review, such as consideration of:

  • if the aims and goals set out in the plan have been achieved
  • the child’s or young person’s additional support needs and whether or not these have changed
  • the setting of new educational objectives, the support required and the agencies responsible for  providing it
  • the continued need for a coordinated support plan

The Education Authority can review the plan sooner than 12 months after the last review, if we believe there has been a significant change in the child’s needs. A parent or young person may also request this for the same reason.