The Local Offer
The Local Offer is information available to young people in England about the education and support that is available to them. It will include information on what you can expect from a range of agencies, including education, health and social care.
Each local authority has to produce and update its own Local Offer and make it easily accessible. Despite the name, the Local Offer does not only include information on what is available in your home area. Your local authority must include details of specialist colleges such as RNC which are on a list approved by the Secretary of State for Education.
A new system of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) is replacing Statements and Learning Disability Assessments (LDAs). You will be able to name any college which is named in the Local Offer, including RNC, within your EHCP and your local authority will work with you to secure this placement. The only exceptions will be if the local authority believes that your choice would be incompatible with ‘the provision of efficient education for others’ or ‘the efficient use of resources’.
So what does this mean? In many ways it is too early to tell. A great deal has been left open to interpretation by each local authority, and there will be different approaches across the country. A Code of Practice gives guidance to local authorities and will help you to judge whether the law is being followed in your home area.
Although it will take time for EHCPs to replace Statements and LDAs, you have the right to be treated equally with those going through the new process. It is therefore important that you are familiar with your Local Offer and can make sure that your local authority supports you in attending the college of your choice.