Education, Health and Care Plans

The changes in the Children and Families Act 2014 are a rethink of the way children with special educational needs (SEN) are supported. A new SEN code of practice is also on the way, as the consultation on the government's draft version has now been completed.

Download the latest Draft Regulations that will effect your child at the bottom of this page

SEN at school

Parents are to get a new legal right to buy in specialist special educational needs (SEN) and disabled care for their children, under plans set out by Children’s Minister Sarah Teather.

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.

The biggest reform of SEN for 30 years will also force education, health and social care services to plan services together by law - so when their children are assessed, parents will be assured they will get full provision to address their children’s needs.

Special Educational Needs for Children

Edward Timpson talks about special educational needs reforms

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.

School Action and School Action Plus to end

Both have been removed in the draft code. Instead, there'll be a single school-based category for children who need extra specialist support. You should set out interventions and expected outcomes for these pupils, and review progress each term. You must also inform parents when pupils without an EHC plan receive special support.


Teachers must make sure every pupil makes progress

The draft code makes teachers more accountable for the progress of all pupils, even those supported by specialist staff. As part of performance management, teachers should expect to be judged on how well they teach pupils with SEN. So you should check your teachers know how to identify SEN and support pupils with different needs, particularly those needs they see more frequently. Ideally, you'd also offer training to help with this.