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).

4. Can a particular therapy be included in a statement or EHC plan if it is not available from the local health service?

Yes it can! Click here to see what the law says about this issue.

IPSEA mailing list

Click here to join our mailing list so that we can send you relevant updates and information.

IPSEA training

IPSEA provides a wide range of SEN training for Parents, School Staff, Parent Forums, Support Groups, Local Authority SEN teams, Parent Partnership Schemes, School Governors and other groups / organisations. Click here for details.

Advice Line

This provides next step advice on: problems with schools, requesting statutory assessment, statements and Education, Health and Care Plans, annual reviews, disability discrimination and exclusion. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.

Tribunal Helpline

Our Tribunal Helpline Gives next step advice on SEN appeals and disability discrimination claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. When you call we will also assess whether you need casework support. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.

Information Service

The Information Service is for general legal enquiries and will signpost you to factsheets and resources on our website.  The Information Service cannot provide specific advice about individuals and their circumstances.

Face to Face Advice

IPSEA is now able to offer free and independent legally based SEN advice at Face to Face sessions organised in conjunction with the Pen Green Centre for children and families (

For information on how to book a session please click here.