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The world of special educational needs is changing.  Are you prepared?

The Children and Families Act 2014, which will come into force this September, will be the most significant change in special educational needs law in the past 18 years. If you have a child with special educational needs, these changes will affect them.

Statements of Special Educational Needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments will be replaced with ‘Education, Health and Care Plans’, which can last until a young person is 25 years old. This is a holistic approach involving the evaluation of a young person’s educational, social and healthcare needs; to include a requirement that these needs are met.

Parents will also be able to request a ‘Personal Budget’. The educational element of these Plans will still be appealable to a Tribunal. However, a new duty will be placed on parents to consider mediation as part of the process. A new pilot will also allow children to appeal to the Tribunal.

Additionally, local authorities will be required to set out the special educational provision provided in their area, in a document called a ‘Local Offer’. Schools will also have to publish their own 'SEN Plan', outlining how they will identify, assess and monitor needs – as School Action, School Action Plus and Individual Education Plans will be abolished. 

It is hoped that these changes will have a positive effect; however, in the short term, they will lead to a lot of uncertainty. This could result in pupils’ needs not being identified or met and provision being removed by local authorities. A child only gets one education; parents must ensure their child’s support is appropriate and legally protected. Please call or email Sinclairslaw today; our leading education law team can help you provide your child with the best opportunity to fulfil their potential. 

 


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