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Student Support Question 6: Support for SEND Part 1: 0-25 Code of Practice

Monday, 22 January 2018

Qs. My child is SEND.  What support am I entitled to from the school?

So in answer to this question I am going to firstly outline the support under the law and good practices that an SEND child is entitled to through educational bodies so that you as a parent or carer know and understand the rights for an SEND person in receiving the best level of educational care.  As this is going to be a long blog post answering the above question I am going to split it into sections over a number of entries.  Next I will talk about what you can do to challenge the system if you feel your child's rights are not being upheld.

Please note anything written here is simply advise and under no circumstances can I be deemed liable.

All People Holding Hands


In 2014-2015 the system for SEND radically changed, in England.  New acts put into place for SEND children included:

  • "the Children and Families Act 2014"
  • "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"

In addition, statutory guidance was put into place under "the 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014" (also known as 0-25 SEND Code of Practice) [1] [3].  This blogpost will look at this code of practice though not in detail and as a brief overview.

The Code of Practice

The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice provides detailed information that should be followed as good practice relating to SEND children and young persons aged 0-25 years [2] [3].  The code though non-statutory itself, should be followed in conjunction with the law and clearly outlines good practice(s) that should not be ignored as well as providing reminders of the law. 

The 2014 Code replaced the 2001 "Special Educational Needs (SEN): code of practice"  which became obsolete with the 2014 Code [2] [3].  "Inclusive Schooling" (2001) and "Section 139A Learning Difficulty Assessments Statutory Guidance" (2013) also became obsolete [3].  This is because the Children and Families Act 2014 changed and it was necessary for the Code of Practice to reflect these changes [3].  The Children and Families Act 2014 therefore underpins The 0-25 Code of Practice.

A main change though with 2014's code was the removal of School Action and School Action Plus systems for SEND children.  School Action was "used when a child" was "not making progress at school and there" was "a need for action to be taken" [4].  School Action involved in many cases providing extra teachers, different learning materials, special equipment and different teaching strategies for SEND [4].  School Action Plus was used when School Action was not effectively helping an SEND child to "make adequate progress" [4].  With School Action Plus extra services (therapists, advisory services, educational psychologists etc.) may have got more involved and one-to-one support was available [4].  With the 2014 changes these were both abolished.  As the SEN magazine pointed out, this seems to be moving away from differentiation in the classroom and pushing the Governments perspective of inclusion and "Achievement for All" [4].  See my post on dyslexia for some further thoughts on this.  Also replaced by the 2014 changes were statements, Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) [3] [4].  Instead the 0-25 Education, Health and Care Plan (aka. EHC plan or EHCP) were put into place [3]. 

However, "the 2001 code still applies" in part.  For  example, for those who have a SEN statement under part 4 of the Education Act 1996, rather than an EHC plan under the Children and Families Act 2014" [2].  This enabled a smooth transition to ensure all SEND people 0-25 were protected.
  1. Definition of SEND

In the 0-25 SEN Code of Practice, the definition of SEN (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is further defined [1].  Someone with SEND is covered by the Code of Practice if they are 0-16 as a student that must receive compulsory education and 16-25 as a young person in receipt of education. 

SEN is defined as "a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her".  Someone who is SEN may also be classified as disabled.  A disability under the Equality Act 2010 is "…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities" [3]. 

Therefore a person can be SEN and not necessarily disabled or they can be both.  This article tackles SEN children and young people 0-25 years old however some of what is written here will apply to disabled children and young people also.
  1. Who has a duty of Care

The code also defines "the duties of local authorities, health bodies, schools and colleges" linked into "part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014" to SEND children and young people [2] [3].  It is applicable to "headteachers and principals, governing bodies, school and college staff, special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), early education providers, local authorities, health and social services staff" [2].  For a full list of who it applies to please visit the SEND Code of Practice itself.  It should be noted it is also applicable at a First-tier Tribunal on SEND whereby a parent of young person is appealing [3].

All above organisations should be aware of:
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)  which is "Statutory guidance from the Department for Education".  It "sets out what is expected of organisations and individuals to safeguard and promote the welfare of children" [3].
  • 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) [3].  These provide guidance for "setting out the responsibilities of local authorities towards looked after children and care leavers" [3].
  • The Equality Act (2010) which provides non-statutory advice for schools from the Department for Education.  It was "produced to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act" [3].
  • Reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils (2012) which provides technical guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission [3].
  • Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (2014) which provides statutory guidance from the Department for Education [3].
  • The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice: Protecting the vulnerable (2005) [3].

Additionally all organisations should work together when trying to support SEND children and young people [3].  This includes special schools and colleges working with mainstream education providers "to develop and share expertise" [3].
  1. SEND rights

  1. General

Importantly for parents, carers and SEND people, the 0-25 SEN Code of Practice includes a reminder to people in or involved in education of an SEND's persons rights under the Equality Act (2010) [3].  These are below as follows:

  1. SEND people "must not directly or indirectly" be discriminated against, harassed or victimised [3]
  2. SEND people must not be discriminated because of a disability [3]
  3. Adjustments in advance should be made to support SEND people so they are not disadvantaged compared to peers [3]
  4. Public bodies (including Further Education institutes, Local Authorities, Schools etc.) must actively eliminate discrimination promoting equality and evidence this [3].

  1. Local Authorities

Local Authorities should/must:

  • Consider SEN children, SEN young people and parent/carer's "views, wishes and feelings" [3].
  • Ensure SEN children/young people and parent/carers are involved in decisions and are provided with the relevant information to make informed decisions [3].  This includes Local Offers and making sure the information is readily available [3].  The 2014 changes have meant that SEN people older than 16 are encouraged to have more decision making rights and be involved in EHC decisions [3].  They should also be involved in health and social care decisions and management of Personal Budgets [3].
  • Support SEN children and young people and the parents/carers in aiding the SEN person's development [3].  The 0-25 Code of Practice points out that "early providers, schools and colleges" should "take steps to ensure that young people and parents are actively supported in contributing to needs assessments, developing and reviewing EHC plans" [3].  Local authorities should take into account assessments made and suggested health provision for someone with SEN when creating decisions such as local offers [3].
  • Identify SEN (and anyone can bring SEN to the attention of local authorities) [3].
  • Ensure all organisations are working together in the best wishes of the SEN person, ensuring head teachers, proprietors, principals of schools and post-16 institutions etc. in the area know about information and advice services available [3].  Local Authorities must have set up information and advice, information and support services which consider SEN children, young people and parent/carer wishes [3].  These services must provide a parent/carer and/or SEN young person with "the local policy and practice, their Local Offer, personalisation and Personal Budgets" (including reviews and access to additional services such as support services, treatment and therapies), "the law on SEN and disability, health and social care, through suitably independently trained staff, advice for children, young people and parents on gathering, understanding and interpreting information and applying it to their own situation and information on the local authority’s processes for resolving disagreements, its complaints procedures and means of redress" [3].
  • Create arrangements for agreeing "education, health and social care" for a SEN child or young person aged 0-25 [3] including EHCs, personal budgets etc.

  1. Health Bodies

"Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS Trusts or NHS Foundation Trusts who are of the opinion that a child under compulsory school age has or probably has SEN or a disability must give the child’s parents the opportunity to discuss their opinion with them before informing their local authority (see paragraph 1.16)" [3].  However CCGs, NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts have to inform local authorities if SEN is found in a child of compulsory school age [3].

Due to confines of this article if you wish to find out more about a health bodies duties please read the Code of Practice in full.
  1. Schools, Colleges and Early Year Providers

The 0-25 Code of Practice also points out the following:

  1. SEN people cannot be discriminated against when being admitted or excluded from educational settings and must make adequate adjustments to the SEN person including physical adjustments.  "Schools must publish more detailed information about their arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN" and disabilities [3].  However schools and local authorities do not have to make changes to the physical environment straight away but show plans to increase accessibility for SEN people [3].
  2. Policies for admitting SEN people must be published by school governing bodies and proprietors concerning:
    • "The arrangements for the admission of disabled children" [3].
    • "The steps taken to prevent disabled children being treated less favourably than others" [3].
    • "The facilities provided to assist access of disabled children, and their accessibility plans" [3].
  1. "The school must set out its SEN policy and information on its approach to supporting children and young people with SEN. The school’s governing body must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions and should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to make sure that the needs of children with medical conditions are effectively supported" [3].  School policies must be published on the schools website.
  2. SEN people aged 0-25 covered by SEN legislation must have reasonable adjustments and access arrangements made for them and this should be considered when SEN planning and reviews are made [3].
  3. A parent/carer, young person, school and colleges "have specific rights to request a needs assessment for an EHC plan and children and their parents and young people should feel able to tell their school or college" of suspected SEN.
  4. A parent/carer and young person have the "right to ask for a particular educational institution to be named in" an EHC plan and Personal Budget.
  5. Schools and colleges must provide provisions (including additional educational provisions) to support SEN children and young people in attendance under Section 21 of the Children and Families Act 2014 [3].  The support given to SEN children should both be individual and inclusive (as under the 2010 Equality Act - see above) [3].
  6. Schools and colleges and early year providers should know exactly where all children and young people are "in their learning and development" indiscriminate of SEN.  All children should have set targets for them that stretch their needs, tracking their progress through goals and reviewing as necessary [3].  This includes that schools must provide an annual progress report for each child's progress [3].  Development includes preparing  children and young people for higher education or employment, independent living, healthy living including living in society and making them aware of supports available [3].
  7. Schools and colleges and early year providers should make informed decisions that take into account the insights of parents and the SEN child and young person themselves [3].
  8. An SEN child without an EHC must be educated in a mainstream setting [3].  However, a SEN child can be admitted to a special school and special post-16 institute without EHC if there is an agreement they will be assessed for an EHC when admitted or if coming from hospital or if the school does not have EHCs.
  9. All children and young people, including SEN, should be safeguarded [3].
  10. Schools and Early Year Providers must have a SEN Coordinator or designated teacher in control of SEN [3].

Further Reading

  • I would read Code of Practice 0-25 for full details [3] and relevant Acts.
  • The Department for Education also released a document called "Special educational needs and disability : A guide for parents and carers" [1].


  1. Department for Education (2014, Aug).  Special educational needs and disability : A guide for parents and carers (pdf).  Retrieved 16th January 2018 from
  2. (2014, 11th June).  Statutory guidance : SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years.  Retrieved 16th January 2018 from
  3. Department for Education (2015, Jan).  Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years : Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities (pdf).  Retrieved 16th January 2018 from
  1. SEN Magazine (2018).  Farewell to School Action.  Retrieved 16th January 2018 from


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