For New Parents : Extra help under the Children and Families Act

September 2014 has seen the introduction of a new legal framework for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in England.

Main features of the new SEND system

Some of the main changes included in the Children and Families Act include:

  • A single system covering ages 0 – 25. This aims to avoid a gap in support when young people leave school.
  • Statements will go and be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). These will be triggered by educational need but may also include health and social care provision
  • A single category of SEN support for children without EHCPs
  • Parents and young people will be given the option of a personal budget for special educational provision. In some cases direct payments may be available.
  • Each LA must publish a ‘local offer’ detailing what provision and support is expected to be available for children and young people with SEN or disabilities

The new system aims to put parents and young people at the heart of decision making so that they are working with schools and local authorities rather than having things done to them. There is a new emphasis on person centred planning.

Educations Rights Series

The DSA is producing a series of factsheets on rights and procedures under the Children and Families Act to include:

Available now:

  • Factsheet 1: Young people over 16 with SEND
  • Factsheet 2: School Transport
  • Factsheet 3: Transfer Reviews
  • Factsheet 4: Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments


To follow later in 2015:

  • Education, Health and Care Plans – getting the plan right
  • Information and help from your local authority
  • Annual reviews

Educations Rights Series page

If you need more detailed information, please ring the DSA helpline on 0333 1212 300 or email Our Education Officer is available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 10am – 1pm.

Further information from other organisations

There is useful information on the new SEND system from a number of organisations

IPSEA – comprehensive information on the new SEND system from IPSEA

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – a guide for parents and carers  Information from the Department for Education

Summary flowcharts from Special Needs Jungle

Education, Health and Care Plan checklist from IPSEA

Information for young people from the Council for Disabled Children

What's New