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Special educational needs and disabilities statutory guidance and code of practice

What is the Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice?

The SEND Code of Practice (opens in an new window) explains the duties of local authorities, health bodies, early years settings, schools and colleges to provide for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, to help them reach their full potential.

This is relating to part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014, and was introduced on 1 September 2014. The needs of most children with SEN can be met with existing support which is 'ordinarily available' in a mainstream school, college or setting.

In 2014 the Children and Families Act reformed special educational needs (SEN) legislation, because Government believed that the old system was failing children and their families.

A new code of practice was introduced from September 2014, this is called special educational needs and disability code of practice for children and young people aged 0 to 25 years of age.

Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities

The key changes are:

  • special educational needs (SEN) statements and learning difficulty assessments (LDAs) (for 16- to 25-year olds) are being replaced with a single, simpler 0 to 25 assessment process and education, health and care plan (EHCP)
  • the statutory protections which were associated with a SEN statement are extended for young people up to the age of 25
  • local authorities have to publish a Local Offer showing the support available to disabled children and young people and those with SEN, and their families
  • parents or young people with education, health and care plans can ask the Local Authority to consider providing a personal budget for their support
  • mediation for disputes and giving children the right to appeal if they are unhappy with their support

Useful resources