Co-ordinated Support Plans (CSPs)
If your child has multiple or complex additional support needs and needs a lot of support from education and at least one other agency (like social work or health), they may be eligible for a co-ordinated support plan (CSP).
This page explains what CSPs are, which children should have a CSP, and how to ask for one.
What is a CSP?
A CSP is a plan used for some pupils who need significant additional support with their learning. It is used to help professionals from different agencies work together. A CSP should set out broad and long-term goals for a pupil’s education. It should be reviewed at least every 12 months.
CSPs are legal documents. This means that local authorities must prepare a CSP for pupils in their area who meet the criteria. They must also provide the support that is written in a CSP.
Can my child have a CSP?
To be eligible for a CSP, your child must meet all the following criteria:
- a local authority must be responsible for their education
- they need support due to ‘complex or multiple factors’
- they have needs that will, or are likely to, last for a year or more
- they need ‘significant additional support’ to reach their educational goals from education and from either another department of the local authority (such as social work) or another agency or agencies (such as the NHS).
If your child does not meet these criteria, they are not entitled to a CSP. However, the local authority still has a duty to plan and provide them with the support they need. You can find out about other types of plans on our How support is planned page.
Local authorities are responsible for deciding which pupils meet the criteria for a CSP, and then for preparing the plans and keeping them under review. Every local authority should have arrangements in place to help them identify which pupils may need a CSP. Your local authority must let you know if they decide to assess your child to find out if they need a CSP. If your child is currently considered a ‘looked after child’, the local authority must assess whether they need a CSP.
Other people, such as teachers, social workers, or health professionals, can also tell local authorities about pupils that they think need a CSP.
You have the right to ask your local authority to assess your child for a CSP. Your child may also have this right if they are aged 12 or over.
Rights of children aged 12-15
Factsheet explaining the specific rights of children aged 12-15 with additional support needs to be involved in decisions about their education, and how they can use these rights.
How can I request a CSP for my child?
You can make a formal request for your child to be assessed for a CSP by contacting your local authority directly. Requests should be put in writing, or another permanent format. Our factsheet on Co-ordinated support plans explains in detail how to make a request, and what you need to include.
How long does it take?
The local authority has eight weeks to let you know if they will accept your request to assess your child for a CSP. If you make your request during the summer holidays, the maximum time for a decision extends to 16 weeks.
If your local authority agrees to assess your child for a CSP, they must write to you to let you know. They then have another 16 weeks to assess whether your child needs a CSP and produce the plan.
What should be included in my child’s CSP?
The CSP must include:
- information about your child (e.g. name, age, gender), their contact details and preferred language and form of communication
- your contact details and preferred language and form of communication
- a profile focussing on your child’s strengths and abilities, activities they like, and how they like to learn
- the factors that have led to your child needing additional support
- the educational objectives your child is working towards
- the additional support your child needs to reach these objectives
- who will provide the support
- the name of the school or nursery your child attends
- your comments and your child’s comments on the plan and the CSP process
- a review timetable
- the name and contact details of the CSP co-ordinator
- who at the local authority you can contact for advice and information.
What is a CSP co-ordinator?
The CSP co-ordinator is responsible for making sure that the support written into your child’s CSP is provided. They are often someone from your child’s school or nursery, like a deputy or head teacher. They can also be a professional from another agency or an officer at the local authority.
The CSP co-ordinator should work closely with the team who support your child. They should know what to do if there are any problems with your child’s support.
If you feel your child is not getting the support set out in their CSP, you should first talk to the CSP co-ordinator.
What if the local authority refuses to give my child a CSP?
The local authority can refuse to assess your child for a CSP. They might also decide, after assessing your child, that they do not need a CSP. If they do either of these things, they must write to you to explain why. They must also tell you about your right to appeal their decision.
If you have not had a decision after eight weeks, this is called a ‘deemed refusal’. This also gives you the right to appeal the decision.
See the next question below for details about appealing.
What can I do if I’m not happy with a decision about a CSP?
It is always a good idea to try and resolve any disagreements without using formal or legal routes. Here are some steps you can take:
- if your child has a CSP, contact the CSP co-ordinator to discuss your concerns
- ask to speak to the person at your local authority responsible for making the decision about the CSP
- request mediation with your local authority.
You can also refer your disagreement about the CSP to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal. This is called ‘making a reference’. You can do this if:
- you are not happy with any decisions the local authority makes about whether or not your child needs a CSP
- you disagree with the contents of the CSP
- the local authority fails to meet the timescales for preparing or reviewing a CSP
- the support set out in the CSP is not delivered.
You have two months to make a reference to the Tribunal from:
- the date of the decision you disagree with
- the date by which the local authority should have made a decision or carried out a review, but failed to do so
- the date on which the local authority first failed to provide the support set out in the CSP.
Let’s Talk ASN is a free advocacy and legal support service that can help you to make a reference to the Tribunal. You can call them on 0141 445 1955 or email email@example.com
The Additional Support Needs Tribunal
Factsheet explaining the disagreements you can refer to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal, and how the tribunal process works.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s CSP, the CSP co-ordinator should be your first port of call.
Listening to your views and your child’s views is an important part of the CSP planning process. You can share these views in meetings, or write down what you and your child would like to say in an email or letter to share with your CSP co-ordinator.
If your child doesn’t meet the CSP criteria, talk to your child’s school about other support plans that might be more appropriate. Have a look at our ‘How support is planned’ page for more information.
The Scottish Government has detailed guidance on CSPs in the ‘Supporting Children’s Learning Code of Practice’. Some people find it useful to have a read of this to help with their request for a CSP. Our CSP factsheet is based on the info in the guidance.
It can take a while to complete the process of assessing your child for a CSP and then preparing the plan. If you have concerns about your child’s support in the meantime, there are steps you can take to try and resolve things.