The Children and Families Act 2014

It has been a very long and arduous journey from February 2011, when the DfE published its Green Paper: “Support and Aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability” to March 2014 when the Children and Families Bill finally received Royal Assent. Not all of the aspiration of that original Green Paper is evident  in the final Act but there is a great deal that will support children and young people with SEND as we begin to work towards  the Act being implemented across the sector.

However, three years on the SEND journey continues for at least another three years. Until we have sight of the SEND Code of Practice we will not know the final detail of what the Act means and how we need to implement the new law on a day-to-day basis.

The announcement of the Children and Families Act indicated that the Code of Practice would be available shortly ahead of reforms coming into force in September.  The new Code still has to pass through both Houses of Parliament by “Affirmative Resolution” after a debate and a vote in each House. It may still be rejected by either House and if this was to be the case then the Bill’s implementation could be delayed while the Code’s issues are sorted out.

This really concerns me as schools are beginning to prepare for these changes and they desperately need to have the guidance to ensure a smooth transition.

While schools are waiting there are a number of things they could be doing to prepare for September:

  • Think about the School’s Offer – what does your school offer children and young people with SEND on a daily basis?
  • Ensure that all staff and governors understand the new legislation and their role in implementing it
  • Review your SEN Policy in light of the changes
  • Develop a whole school policy on Quality First Teaching – what does this look like in our school?
  • Offer CPD opportunities to support staff in identifying individual needs and support them with personalising their teaching and learning to support these needs
  • Develop a school strategy for managing the single category – SEN Support and the graduated response – Plan, Assess, Do, Review

For more information about the Children and Families Act visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/landmark-children-and-families-act-2014-gains-royal-assent