For Families and Carers : SEN and the Law

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The information on this page applies to children and young people in England only. If you live in Wales, please go to our pages on statements of special educational needs

All children with Down’s syndrome will take longer to learn things than other children and will need extra help to do so. They come under the category of children who have ‘special educational needs’. The assessment and provision for children with SEN is governed by law. This system can seem complex at first. These pages will help you take the right steps to ensure that your child with Down’s syndrome gets the help they need.

Your local authority must publish a ‘local offer’ of services that they expect to be available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in their area. The LA must also make impartial information, advice and support available to parents, children and young people.

All schools and nurseries will be able to provide some extra help from their own budget. Children with significant or complex needs including most children with Down’s syndrome are likely to require a statutory assessment of their needs co-ordinated by the local authority, leading to a statement of special educational needs or from September 2014, an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The new system brought in by the Children and Families Act will be introduced gradually over a number of years. In the interim the old system will continue to apply for children with existing statements.

Education Rights – factsheets


Our Education Rights series covers five key issues:

  • Young People over 16 with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)
  • School transport
  • Transport reviews
  • Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments
  • Education health and care plans

Find out more and download the factsheets here

The new law – Education, Health and Care Plans


Go to the section on Extra help under the Children and Families Act if:

  • you have a young child and are completely new to the system
  • your child is in school but does not have a statement,
  • your child has a statement and is due for a transfer review before moving to an Education, Health and Care Plan

Transitional arrangements


Go to the page on Moving to the new system to find out about when the changes will be introduced

Statements of special educational needs


Go to our existing information on statements if:

  • your child already has a statement and is not yet due to change