For New Parents : Moving to a new system

Moving to the new SEND system in England

A gradual change

Part 3 of the Children and Families Act on special educational needs and disabilities came into force on 1st September 2014. However to help local authorities manage the change, the new provisions will be brought in gradually over the next few years.

Local authorities have until April 2018 to move all children with statements over to the new system.. For example, if your child is going into year 1 in September 2014, the latest the LA could transfer him would be the spring term of year 4. There will be a shorter, 2 year timetable for young people with learning difficulty assessments (LDAs) in college.

LAs must publish their own transitional plans and timetables by 1st September and there are certain groups that must be transferred as a priority. Some LAs may want to move faster than others. Transfers will happen via a specific transfer review that will take the place of the normal annual review.

For any child with a statement who is not in a transfer group, it will be business as usual. Legal rights relating to the statement remain unchanged. Reviews and appeals will happen according to the old system and code of practice.

Who will be affected in 2014/5

  • Anyone who is entering the system for the first time e.g. children in  nursery where you haven’t yet asked for a statutory assessment
  • Young people leaving school and moving to further education or training
  • Anyone who has been given a non-statutory EHCP as part of a Pathfinder area
  • Priority groups according to your LA’s transitional plan – these are likely to be children moving to a different phase of education or a different type of school and young people coming up to a transition review in year 9

Can I ask for my child to be transferred earlier than the timetable?

There is no specific right to do this.  If your child is in school with a statement you will generally have to wait. However young people already in college can ask for an education health and care assessment from September. They are a priority group as they currently have fewer rights than school pupils.

Will my child lose her statement because of the changes?

No. Existing statements must be maintained. When it comes to transfer, the legal threshold for an EHCP is the same as for a statement so no child should lose out.

What should I be doing now?

Take action

  • Parents of young children entering the system for the first time
  • 2015 school leavers

Get accurate information and advice – you will be definitely be affected this year (2014/15)

Be alert

If your child has a statement and is

  • in nursery moving to reception in 2015
  • in Year 6 moving to secondary school in 2015
  • in Year 9
  • moving from mainstream to special school or vice versa

check your LA’s timetable. If your child is in a transfer group, take action!

If you are a young person already in college, you may want to ask for an Education, Health and Care Assessment straight away, particularly if you are not happy with the help you are getting.

Be informed

Check the LA’s timetable for when your child will be transferred. If your child is not in a priority transfer group, use the extra time to become well informed and hope that any teething problems will be ironed out.

More information

From the Down’s Syndrome Association

For information on the new SEND system, see our page on Getting extra help under the Children and Families Act

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get updates

From other organisations
If you need information about the transfer timetable in your area, your local Parent Partnership service should be able to help

Council for Disabled Children Follow link to Children and Families Act – SEND reforms


Contact a Family

Transitional guidance from the Department for Education

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