In some cases, the law has been updated since it came into effect. The links below are likely to be to the original versions of the law. You should check whether the law you need has been updated on the government site which shows changes to legislation.

For all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with EHC plans:

The law is contained in the following places:

Check here to see what changes have been made to the above Act and Regulations since they came into force.

The law is set out and expanded upon in SEN and Disability Code of Practice (the “Code”). This Code provides much more detail on the legal framework relating to special educational needs and disabilities. Wherever in the Code it says an LA, school or college must do something, then it is referring to compulsory obligations which are set out in the CAFA 2014 or the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. Wherever the Code says an LA or other entity should do something, this is statutory guidance. The Code is not law. If there is any difference in what CAFA and the Code says the CAFA takes precedence.

For children with Statements of SEN:

All children and young people with Statements should have been transitioned to an EHC plan by 1 April 2018. See our sections on what will happen to your Statement after 1 April 2018 and your rights if you still have a Statement for more information. Until that date the law below will apply.

Check here to see what changes have been made to the above Act and Regulations since they came into force.

For the law relating to disability discrimination:

Children and young people with special educational needs may also be considered disabled.  There are some situations where disabled people are subjected to direct or indirect discrimination.  For more information see our section on disability discrimination.

Check here to see what changes have been made since the Act and Regulations came into force.

For the law relating to exclusion from schools:

Children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities are at greater risk of exclusion from schools or post-16 institutions.  For more information see our section on exclusions. If you think your child may have been unfairly excluded because of their disability, see our section on disability discrimination.

Statute law

  • Education Act 2011 – this is the main statute which sets out what a school should do when excluding a pupil.
  • Education Act 2002 – this Act covers a wide range of topics, but section 52 still contains the basic power of head teachers to exclude a pupil from school, and it also contains provisions relating to the power of staff at school to search pupils.
  • Education and Inspections Act 2006 – this Act extended the law on schools’ power to discipline and makes parents responsible for ensuring their excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of any exclusion. It also sets out the obligation on schools to arrange full time educational provision for pupils who have been excluded for a fixed term, while LAs have this responsibility where pupils have been permanently excluded.

Check here to see what changes have been made since the above Acts came into force.

Key regulations

Check here to see what changes have been made since the above Regulations came into force.

Statutory guidance

Non-statutory guidance and departmental advice

To the extent any of the following contradicts the statute, regulations or statutory guidance, it has no effect.  However, the following guidance and advice may be useful for parents/carers of pupils at risk of exclusion:

 

For examples of cases applying the laws set out above, see our case law page.