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The Children and Families Act 2014 and SEN code of practice

The Children and Families Act 2014 and the proposed new SEN code of practice will bring substantial changes for schools. These changes will start to be implemented from September 2014. School leaders will need to be aware of their responsibilities under the Children and Families Act 2014, and the ‘anticipated’ new SEN code of practice, laid before parliament 12 June 2014 and expected to be approved without change.

The legislation covers those children and young people with SEN from 0-25. There will be enhanced responsibilities for local authorities and the DfE recently arranged additional funding for LAs. Importantly, funding needs to be aligned to the requirements of this new framework despite current budgetary restraints. The DfE is expecting a more effectively run SEN system, but this will necessitate proportionate levels of resources for schools to be able to implement their statutory duties.

The DfE also published in April 2014 statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies in England that underpin the duty on schools. This will also come into force from 1 September 2014. NAHT, therefore, strongly recommends that school leaders convene meetings with their governors to discuss the implications of their statutory obligations.

Key points:

  • Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly supported so that they have full access to education, including school trips and physical education
  • Governing bodies must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions
  • Governing bodies should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents, to ensure that the needs of children with medical conditions are effectively supported.

Early years settings should continue to apply the Statutory Framework for the Early Years foundation stage.

Schools need to be aware that governing bodies should ensure that the appropriate level of insurance is in place that appropriately reflects the level of risk. The school policy sets out the details of the school’s insurance arrangements which cover staff providing support to pupils with medical conditions. Insurances policies should provide liability cover relating to the administration of medication, but individual cover may need to be arranged for any health care procedures. The level and ambit of cover required must be ascertained directly from the relevant insurers. This will involve staff being trained to the necessary level by the relevant health care professional.

NAHT will shortly be providing detailed guidance on the website covering:

  • The New SEN code of practice
  • A template to support schools in producing a publication on their SEN information report The Children and Families Act 2014: Regulation – Section 65 (3)
  • Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions.

The DfE is going to provide for all schools a power-point to support schools which will include information on the right for parents to ask for a personal budget if their child has an EHC Plan. The local authority should set out with the school how personal budgets would be used. It is also the DfE’s intention to produce materials to support schools – a DfE website link will be provided. The DfE are currently looking at how schools are preparing for the New SEN Framework coming into force from 1st September 2014. Implementation will start in the new academic year, the DfE anticipated transitional period is three years. We are informed that discussions are also taking place between the DfE and Ofsted (working on these transitional arrangements).

NAHT are also offering three courses for school leaders on what these changes mean for schools covering, the new SEN framework, the new code of practice, and SEN income streams.

Schools need to be ready and NAHT are focused on supporting you; further information - NAHT Advice Documents will be on the website shortly.

Page Published: 17/06/2014