This blog post is not legal advice, nor should it be considered as legal advice, it is a review of a complex system of inter-related parts, presented here to trigger ideas, for your own explorations
The “Special Educational Needs and disability code of Practice: 0 to 25 Years” document refers to several legislations and statutory acts that underpin the special educational needs and disability (SEND) provisions in the UK. Here, I will outline the legislation mentioned in the initial sections of the document and provide a brief explanation of each:
Relevant Legislation and Statutory Acts of SEND
Equality Act 2010
It outlines the legal obligations that schools, early years providers, post-16 institutions, and local authorities have towards disabled children and young people.
It mandates reasonable adjustments to prevent substantial disadvantages for disabled children and young people compared to their peers.
It covers the public sector equality duty, which requires public bodies to promote equality of opportunity and foster good relations between disabled and non-disabled children and young people.
non-statutory advice from the Department for Education helps schools understand and fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities are protected from discrimination and are provided with equal opportunities.
Mental Capacity Act
Referenced in the section on preparing for adulthood from the earliest years.
Governs decision-making on behalf of individuals who can’t do so for themselves, ensuring that any decision made or action taken on behalf of the person is made in their best interests.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Articles 12 and 13 emphasize the right of children to express their opinions and have them considered in matters affecting them, with due weight given according to their age, maturity, and capability.
This international treaty, to which the UK is a signatory, outlines the comprehensive rights of children, emphasizing their right to express their opinions and have them considered in matters affecting them. The convention promotes the active participation of children in decision-making processes, giving due weight to their views based on their age, maturity, and capability.
Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans
Discussed extensively in various sections, including those on early years providers, schools, and further education.
EHC plans are integrated plans that bring together the child’s educational, health and social care needs into a single document, ensuring a coordinated approach to delivering services.
Children and Families Act 2014
The Children and Families Act 2014 forms the legislative backbone of the SEND Code of Practice. It is referenced extensively throughout the document, emphasizing the statutory guidance on duties, policies, and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Act, which pertains to children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabled children and young people in England.
Children Act 1989
This foundational legislation emphasizes the welfare of the child, including those with special needs and disabilities. It outlines the responsibilities of local authorities towards looked-after children and care leavers, ensuring their well-being and development are prioritized.
This guidance document, which comes in various volumes, sets out the responsibilities of local authorities towards looked-after children and care leavers, providing detailed instructions on care planning, placement, and case review processes, as well as planning the transition to adulthood for care leavers.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)
This is a piece of statutory guidance from the Department for Education that delineates what is expected from organizations and individuals to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.
Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils (2012)
This technical guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides detailed advice on the reasonable adjustments that schools and other educational institutions should make to support disabled pupils, including those with special educational needs.
Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions (2014)
This statutory guidance from the Department for Education outlines the support that should be provided to pupils with medical conditions, ensuring they can fully access education, including school trips and physical education.
The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice: Protecting the Vulnerable
This code of practice provides guidance on protecting vulnerable individuals, including those with learning disabilities, ensuring that decisions made on their behalf are in their best interests.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)
Statutory guidance from the Department for Education on the expectations from organizations and individuals to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations
Volume 2 (Care Planning, Placement, and Case Review) and Volume 3 (Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers) outline the responsibilities of local authorities towards looked-after children and care leavers.
Autism Act 2009
UK’s first disability-specific law. This act places a duty on the government to produce a strategy for adults with autism, which was initially published in 2010 and then updated in 2014 and 2019. It aims to improve the services available to adults with autism through better training for health and care staff, better access to the services needed, and promoting a broader understanding of autism. It is a crucial piece of legislation that helps to protect the rights and promote the well-being of individuals with autism in the UK.
Key Provisions and Regulations
The document mentions several regulations associated with the Children and Families Act 2014, including:
- The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014
- The Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014
- The Special Educational Needs and Disability (Detained Persons) Regulations 2015
- The Children and Families Act 2014 (Transitional and Saving Provisions) (No 2) Order 2014
Other Key Concepts and Frameworks
- Joint Strategic Needs Assessments
- Mentioned in the section on working together across education, health, and care for joint outcomes.
- These assessments are carried out by local health and wellbeing boards to analyze the health needs of populations to inform and guide the commissioning of health, well-being, and social care services within local authority areas.
- Personal Budgets
- Discussed in various sections, including those on working together across education, health, and care for joint outcomes, and EHC needs assessments and plans.
- Personal budgets are designed to give individuals greater control over the services and support they receive.
- First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)
- Mentioned in the introduction and in the sections on children and young people in specific circumstances, and resolving disagreements.
- A legal body that hears appeals from parents of children with SEND, and young people with SEND, against decisions made by local authorities in relation to their EHC needs assessments and EHC plans.
Implementation of the Send Code of Practice
The Code of Practice came into force on September 1, 2014, with the majority of Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and its associated regulations being implemented, subject to transitional arrangements. The guidance is expected to be kept under review and updated as necessary.
Key Changes from the Previous SEN Code of Practice
The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced several significant changes, including:
- Expansion of the coverage to include the 0-25 age range and guidance relating to disabled children and young people as well as those with SEN.
- A clearer focus on the participation of children young people and parents in decision-making at individual and strategic levels.
- A stronger focus on high aspirations and improving outcomes for children and young people.
- Guidance on joint planning and commissioning of services to ensure close cooperation between education, health, and social care.
- Introduction of a “Local Offer” of support for children and young people with SEN or disabilities.
- New guidance for education and training settings on taking a graduated approach to identifying and supporting pupils and students with SEN.
- Introduction of the 0-25 Education, Health, and Care plan (EHC plan) to replace statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs).
- Greater focus on support that enables those with SEN to succeed in their education and make a successful transition to adulthood.
- Provision of information on relevant duties under the Equality Act 2010 and provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- New guidance on supporting children and young people with SEN who are in youth custody.
References to the Legal Texts
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Children Act 1989
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)
- The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations
- Equality Act 2010: Advice for Schools
- Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils (2012)
- Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions (2014)
- Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice
- Children and Families Act 2014 Legislation.gov.uk
- Autism Act 2009 Legislation.gov.uk
The SEND Code of Practice is grounded in various legislations and statutory acts that aim to ensure that children and young people with SEND receive the support they need in an integrated, coordinated, and inclusive manner. The document refers to these legislations to guide organizations and individuals in implementing the principles and provisions outlined in the code of practice.
To provide a comprehensive understanding of all the legislations and statutory acts that underpin the SEND provisions in the UK, it would be necessary to review the entire document in detail, as the initial sections only touch upon a few of the legislations involved. Would you like to proceed with this?