SEN and Disability Reforms

In March 2014, the Children and Families Bill successfully completed its passage through both Houses of Parliament and it received Royal Assent becoming the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014).

Part 3 of CFA 2014 is entitled Children and Young People
In England with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Part 3 places duties on local authorities and other services in relation to both disabled children and young people and those with SEN, although not all the sections of the Act apply to both groups.

To read our guide to the new legislation, click here.

Commencement of the Act

The vast majority of Part 3 of CFA 2014 commences on 1 September. The only exceptions to this are the sections which apply to children and young people with
SEN in youth custody and the new duties on parent carer assessments. Both of these were brought into the scope of the Act at a late stage in the Parliamentary process.
The Government has therefore given local areas until April 2015 to prepare for these additional changes.

From 1 September, local authorities have a number of new legal duties they are required
to meet, including:

  • Having regard to the principles in section 19 of the Act, including that children, young people and their parents should fully participate in the decisions that affect them;
  • Publishing an initial local offer on their website; 
  • Having joint commissioning arrangements in place with their partner clinical commissioning groups;
  • Having processes in place for conducting Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessments andrawing up EHC plans

Transition to the new system

The final tranisational arrangements are available and are aimed at supporting key stakeholders in delivering the changes set out in the Childrens and Families Act 2014, such as local authorities, schools, early years settings, further education, and organisations involved in statutory assessments of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.

Download a copy of the tranistional arrangements here.


The Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years

The Code of Practice was approved by Parliament in July 2014. The Code of Practice is statutory guidance meaning that local authorities, school governing bodies, colleges, clinical commissioning groups, and a range of other bodies must have regard to it.
This means they must consider what the Code says, and have legitimate reasons for departing from the guidance. The Code describes how those with legal duties in the Act should meet those duties in practice.

Download a copy of the Code of Practice here.



Resources on SEN and disability policy

View our information sheet listing the free resources on SEN and disability policy.