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DfE issues new code of practice for special educational needs and disabilities

The Department for Education has published a new code of practice for organisations working with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The statutory guidance for the revised system, which covers individuals from 0 to 25 years and can be viewed here, includes:

  • Principles underpinning the code and in practice;
  • Impartial information, advice and support;
  • Working together across education, health and care for joint outcomes;
  • The Local Offer;
  • Early years providers;
  • Schools;
  • Further education;
  • Preparing for adulthood from the earliest years;
  • Education, Health and Care needs assessments and plans;
  • Children and young people in specific circumstances;
  • Resolving disagreements;
  • Annexes on mental capacity, and on improving practice and staff training in education settings.

The Department has also published a note on the transition to the new system and implementation guidance for local authorities and health partners.

The reforms – part of the Children and Families Act – will replace statements and learning disability assessments with a new 0-to-25 education, health and care plan, require better co-operation between councils and health services for jointly planned and commissioned care and give parents and young people a personal budget.

Councils must publish a ‘local offer’ showing the support available to disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs, and introduce mediation for disputes with a right to appeal for those unhappy with their support.

There is also a new legal right to express a preference for state academies, free schools and further education colleges.

The DfE said councils would receive £45m of new funding to help prepare for the new system. The money is intended to support work to give young people and their parents greater influence over their care.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said: “It’s more important than ever that councils put the pedal to the floor and redouble their efforts to make sure all families can benefit from this comprehensive support from September.

“Over 2,000 families have been testing our reforms, with many saying that the new rules are already giving them a greater say and more control over how and where they access support.”

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