SEND Code of Practice

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Position statement
01 March 2017
In September 2014 the SEND Code of Practice came into force.

These SEND reforms are built around the following principles:

  • Involving children, parents and young people in decision making. Children, young people and their families are given sufficient information and have a say around their SEN provision (including opportunities for a personal budget).
  • Collaboration across education, health and social care, led and co-ordinated by the Local Authority.
  • Supporting transition to adulthood. The SEND code now extends to 25 for those remaining in education or training.

Here are some of the changes included in the SEND reforms:

  • A duty is placed on schools to engage with the Local Authority (LA) in the development of the local offer.
  • The reforms require schools to publish information on their approach to identifying and supporting children and young people with SEN.
  • Schools are required to have regard to the new 0 to 25 SEN Code of Practice. This means that whenever they are taking decisions they must give consideration to what the Code says.
  • Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) replace statements for children and young people with more complex needs.
  • SEN Support - a four part 'graduated' cycle of assessment, planning, implementation and review - replaces School Action and School Action Plus.
  • Teachers have a direct responsibility for the achievement of children with SEND in their classes.
  • Schools must make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions.
  • Schools must take steps to ensure that parents and/or young people are actively supported in contributing to assessments, planning and reviewing EHC plans.
  • Academies will be covered by the same statutory requirements as maintained schools.
  • Since April 2013 schools are expected to meet the first £6,000 of additional costs for each child from their delegated budget. The LA will provide high needs top-up funding for pupils, whose needs will exceed this limit. ATL has contributed to the March 2016 High Needs funding consultation.
  • Personal budgets have been introduced.
  • In May 2016 a new Local Area SEND inspection framework was introduced, ATL responded to the consultation.

You can find out more information in ATL's schools and FE policy briefing documents:

You can also find out more about ATL's key policy concerns around SEND reforms in these documents:

As a member, your views and experience provide vital evidence to inform ATL's policy and enable ATL to raise your concerns at national and local levels. If you wish to join ATL's SEND and/or Special School member networks, please email your request to Monique Lowe. You may also wish to talk to other members locally about it. Have a chat with your rep or branch secretary and ask about local learning opportunities.

Some SEND can manifest in challenging behaviour. For support and guidance around SEND and behaviour, ATL have a number of training courses, publications and policy documents. Some publications and briefings that may be of use:

Survey results

Almost 600 members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) working in state-funded schools in England responded to a survey on SEND provision in schools which helped inform ATL's response to the Labour Party Review of SEND. Below are the key findings.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? I believe that the current system in England enables all children with special educational needs to be identified in a timely fashion.

Answer options Response Percent Response Count
Agree 17.5% 101
Disagree 70.7% 407
Don't know/Unsure 11.8% 68

Answered questions: 576

Skipped question: 9

I believe that the current system in England enables all children with special educational needs to be supported appropriately.

Answer options Response Percent Response Count
Agree 9.2% 53
Disagree 82.5% 477
Don't know/Unsure 8.3% 48

Answered questions: 578

Skipped question: 7

I have been able to access support and training to help me meet the needs of my pupils with SEND (i.e. my responsibilities under the SEND Code of Practice 2014) if I have needed to.

Answer options Response Percent Response Count
Agree 51.4% 293
Disagree 48.6% 277

Answered questions: 570

Skipped question: 15

If you were involved in access arrangements this year, did you find that the process per application took more, less or the same time to complete compared to last year?

Answer options Response Percent Response Count
Less 3.7% 7
More 44.4% 83
The same 51.9% 97

Answered questions: 187

Skipped question: 398

Are there learners within your setting, with additional needs, who are not eligible for official SEND recognition?

Answer options Response Percent Response Count
Yes 42.7% 195
No 15.8% 72
Not sure 41.6% 190

Answered questions: 457

Skipped question: 128

Do you feel that the children and young people that you work with, identified as having SEN at SEN Support, are receiving the support that they need to reach their potential?

Answer options Response Percent Response Count
Yes 26.6% 126
No 58.4% 277
Not sure 15.0% 71

Answered questions: 474

Skipped question: 111

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