Changes to the system to assess and provide for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) came into force in England on 1 September 2014.
Among the key reforms in the Children and Families Act, made law in March, is the introduction of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans which specify an integrated SEND provision from birth until 25 for children and young people with more complex needs.
In a phased introduction between now and 2018, EHCs will replace existing ‘statements’ of special educational needs and the Learning Disability Assessments of older students. Under the new system parents can also choose to control all or some of the funding linked to their child’s EHC plan and to specify the type of school they would like their child to attend.
As part of the reforms local authorities in England are required to publish a ‘local offer’ describing the services available to children with SEND and their families. Local authorities must also do more to involve children and families in deciding their provision, and provide impartial advice, support and mediation services. A new Code of Practice for all those working with children with SEND was published in July.