SEN and disability law FAQs
These FAQs are based on questions that parents frequently ask via IPSEA's helplines. If you find them helpful perhaps you could make a small donation to IPSEA via this link? There is a lot more information about SEND law here.
1. What changed when the Children and Families Act 2014 was implemented on 1/9/14?
Don't panic! Much of the new law is still the same – some is even better. If your child has special educational needs (SEN) under the old system, they will still have SEN under the new system. If your child has a statement of SEN they must be transferred to an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan unless their needs have changed and they no longer need a statement.
2. What support must be provided according to the Children and Families Act 2014?
The local authority (LA) has a duty to consider how a child or young person can be supported to achieve the “best possible educational and other outcomes”. This reflects a new and higher level of outcome required by the new law than under the old system.
3. Who is covered by the Children and Families Act 2014?
The new system of supporting children and young people with SEN is now the same from birth to 25 years - as long as they stay in education or training.
The new SEN legal framework will only cover children and young people if they have SEN. A child or young person will have SEN if they have a learning difficulty (which may be a disability) and their school or college cannot provide what they need. This new system will not cover children or young people if they are disabled and have health and/or social care needs but no SEN.
A young person in further education (i.e. college) is now legally entitled to the special educational provision specified in their EHC plan. This is new. Regrettably though, EHC Plans do not apply to higher education (i.e. university).