Special Educational Needs and Disability Law

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations and applies to England.

The code relates to children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabled children and young people aged 16 -25 and the following bodies must have regard to the code whenever they are taking decisions:

  • Local authorities (education, social care and relevant housing and employment and other services)
  • The governing bodies of schools, including non-maintained special schools
  • The governing bodies of further education colleges and sixth form colleges
  • The proprietors of academies (including free schools, University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools)
  • The management committees of pupil referral units 
  • Independent schools and independent specialist providers approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014
  • All early years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors that are funded by the local authority
  • The National Health Service Commissioning Board
  • Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
  • NHS Trusts 
  • NHS Foundation Trusts 
  • Local Health Boards
  • Youth Offending Teams and relevant youth custodial establishments
  • The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)

It is important to know that:

  • They cannot ignore it.
  • They must fulfil their statutory duties towards children and young people with SEN or disabilities in the light of the guidance set out in it.
  • They must be able to demonstrate in their arrangements for children and young people with SEN or disabilities that they are fulfilling their statutory duty to have regard to the Code.
  • Even where the text uses the word ‘should’ it means that the guidance contained in this Code must be considered and that those who must have regard to it will be expected to explain any departure from it.

The guidance in the code of practice refers to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations. The regulations associated with the Children and Families Act 2014 are:

  • The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014
  • The Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014
  • The Order setting out transitional arrangements.

You can access all the legislation using the links below.

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