Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability

Changes made on 1 September 2014 to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and what this means to schools and parents in Suffolk.

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The Children and Families Act 2014 (which came into force in September 2014) and the SEND Code of Practice have changed the way we help children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities under 25 years old.

Changes to SEN provision

The new SEND Code of Practice has prioritised:

  • increased participation and involvement with children/young people and their parents/carers
  • emphasis on improving outcomes so that 'all children and young people are enabled to achieve their best'
  • co-ordinated services/joint commissioning with Health and Social Care
  • schools also to publish clear information about what they can offer
  • possibility of requesting a personal budget for certain services (more information will be available within the local offer)

The code has replaced School Action/School Action+ with a single category of SEN support. 

It has also introduced Education, Health & Care plans which replace Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA's). Statements will lose their legal status on 1 April 2018 are being phased out and transferred to EHC plans.

The Code has also extended the age at which you can receive SEN support. It now covers children and young people from birth to 25 years old who are in further education (not higher education) and includes preparation for adulthood (employment, independent living, participation in society).

It has led to the following important changes in the way SEN support works

  • cycle: assess needs - plan interventions - do what is planned - review
  • option to request assessment post 16
  • greater transparency from the local authority regarding available services and how to access, called the 'Local Offer' and to include a feedback facility

Transferring statements of SEN

Local authorities have to transfer children and young people with a statement to the new SEND system by 1 April 2018. Statements will retain their legal status until this date.

You can find out when you or your child's Statement of SEN will transfer to an EHC plan on the Local Offer website.

A transfer review will replace the annual review in the same academic year that the young person transfers to the new SEND system.

Contact details

If you have any questions or concerns about this process and what it means for you please contact us for confidential, impartial advice.

Phone: 01473 265 210

Email: sendiass@suffolk.gov.uk