All counties in the UK provide education and support for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities in slightly different ways. This is an outline of the procedures that education departments in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland use to deliver education and support to those with special educational needs and disabilities.
In England the system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is changing from September 2014. The new system is intended to put families at the heart of things, giving parents and carers a key role in decisions made regarding education, health and social care provided. The changes are set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 under the Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years.
This is the biggest change in SEN procedures in the last 30 years! Although the new system is in place not everything will change immediately, there is a transition period of three years for all the changes to be implemented and for children and young people currently with statements or LDAs to move to EHCs.
Each local authority must issue a transition plan showing when they will be transferring children and young people with statements and LDAs (Learning Difficult Assesment) to EHCs (Education, Health and Care Plan). Any assessments of SEN requested now will be conducted under the new legislation and those who need a statutory plan will be issued with an EHC.
It is important to note that no one with a statement should lose it or the support specified in it, just because the system is changing. The system is so new, most of the people who are putting it into practice will be new to it too and are not yet expert in how everything should work! A great many guides and leaflets are being produced by the government and voluntary organisations to help parents and professionals understand the procedures and their roles. Some are listed below:
Special educational needs and disability. A guide for parents and carers. Published by the Department for Education.
The Special Needs Jungle New SEND system flow charts take the reader through each stage of the new system.
11 things you need to know about Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms.
For information on the changes happening in the rest of the UK, please select a country below.