Education - Disability and SEN

The Children and Families Act (2014) reformed legislation relating to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The SEND Code of Practice is statutory guidance for organisations that work with and support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. It sets out duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations, as it applies to England.

The following bodies must ‘have regard to’ the Code:

  • Local authorities – education, social care and relevant housing, employment and other services.
  • School governing bodies (including non-maintained special schools), further education and sixth-form colleges.
  • Proprietors of academies (including free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools).
  • Management committees of pupil referral units.
  • Independent schools and specialist providers approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
  • Early years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors, funded by the local authority.
  • The NHS Commissioning Board, NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and local health boards.
  • Youth offending teams and relevant youth custodial establishments.
  • The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability). There is a clearer focus on the participation of children and young people and parents in decision making at individual and strategic levels.

There is a stronger focus on high aspirations and on improving outcomes for children and young people. It includes guidance on the joint planning and commissioning of services to ensure close co-operation between education, health services and social care. It includes guidance on publishing a ‘local offer’ of support for children and young people with SEND. There is new guidance for education and training settings on taking a graduated approach’ to identifying and supporting pupils and students with SEND (replacing School Action and School Action plus).

For children and young people with more complex needs, a co-ordinated assessment process and the new 0–25 education, health and care (EHC) plan replace statements and learning difficulty assessments (LDAs). There is greater focus on support that enables those with SEND to succeed in education and make a successful transition to adulthood. Information is provided on relevant duties under the Equality Act 2010 and relevant provisions in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The Working together for children and young people with SEND document outlines a summary of our vision, responsibilities and the way in which we deliver support for children and young people with SEND.

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