The Children and Families Act 2014 has now received Royal Accent and will come into effect from September this year.
We have been busy monitoring the Acts progress since its birth and watched closely its passage through Parliament.
It will transform the way special educational needs for young persons are provided for by creating an Educational Health and Care Plan for those who require one and are aged between 0 and 25.
Parents will be given for the first time the power to control personal budgets for their children with severe, profound or multiple health and learning - meaning they can choose the expert support that is right for their child, instead of local authorities (LAs) being the sole provider.
A summary of some of these changes
- Replacing SEN statements and learning disability assessments with a new birth-to-25 education, health and care plan - setting out in one place all the support families will receive
- Requiring better co-operation between councils and health services to make sure services for children and young people with SEN and disabilities are jointly planned and commissioned
- Giving parents and young people with education, health and care plans the offer of a personal budget - putting families firmly in charge
- Requiring councils to publish a ‘local offer’ showing the support available to all disabled children and young people and their families in the area - not just those with educational needs
- Introducing mediation for disputes and trialing giving children and young people the right to appeal if they are unhappy with their support
- Introducing a new legal right for children and young people with an education, health and care plan to express a preference for state academies, free schools and further education colleges - currently limited to maintained mainstream and special schools.