Support for Children with SEN in Schools

What rights does a child or a young person with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities have to education and/or training?

A local authority must carry out all its duties to children and young people with SEN or disabilities in its area under Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 with a view to helping them “achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes” – section 19 (d).

A child is anyone from birth up to the end of compulsory school age (currently 16 years old) and a young person is anyone over compulsory school age (over 16 years old) and below 25. There are many different types of early years settings, schools or colleges which a child or young person can attend.

Schools should identify and support children with SEN and/or a disability. Children may be supported from within the school’s own resources under SEN Support or they may have an EHC plan. Schools should record what SEN they have identified a child as having, what outcomes they expect the child to achieve with special educational provision, and what provision is being put in place to reach those outcomes in an SEN Support record. They should trigger an EHC needs assessment where they cannot meet a child’s needs. They should do so if they don’t have the expertise or funding to identify those needs fully or to identify the provision/support the child requires. They should also do so when they know what the child’s needs are and what provision should be put in place, but they cannot make that provision.

Student in a Wheelchair Working in the Lab

The LA must agree to carry out an EHC needs assessment in these circumstances where the school has made them aware of the situation.

Colleges of Further Education should identify and support young people with SEN and/or a disability. Young people may be supported from within the college’s own existing resources under SEN Support or have an EHC plan. They must record what SEN they have identified a young person as having, what outcomes they expect to be achieved and what provision is being put in place to reach those outcomes in an SEN Support record. They should trigger an EHC needs assessment where they cannot meet a young person’s needs. They should do so if they don’t have the expertise or funding to identify those needs fully or to identify the provision/ support the young person requires. They should also do so when they know what the young person’s needs are and what provision should be put in place but they cannot make that provision. The LA must agree to carry out an EHC needs assessment in these circumstances where the college has made them aware of the situation.

Schools and other settings have clear duties under the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2014 and must “have regard” to its contents. This means that they should do what it says or be able to explain why they have not done so and the alternative that has been put into place instead

Some children or young people cannot be educated in a school or college and will require education otherwise than in an institution.

Parents may decide to Electively Home Educate (EHE) their child with SEN. This is a choice they make because they want to home school their child.

A child or young person has a right to an inclusive education in a mainstream school or college with their typically developing peers if they want it. This can only be refused by an LA in the most exceptional of circumstances. The right to a mainstream education does not prevent a parent/young person choosing a special school/college if that is the best choice for the child/young person.

The Children and Families Act 2014 brings in a new category of school, a “Section 41 school”. This is a new category of  independent school or post-16 institution, specially organised to make provision for pupils with SEN, which chooses this status. The effect is that parents or young people may request that such a school is named in an EHC Plan. It is therefore useful to know which schools have chosen to do so (not all have done so) and you can check by following this link to the Department for Education website

For more information and advice about this please contact us on 023 8055 7607 or 02380 582 110 or visit www.ipsea.org.uk