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SEND Code Of Practice 2014 For The Early Years

SEND Code of Practice 2014

A Pre-school Learning Alliance mini guide

This mini guide aims to provide early years settings in the PVI sector with guidance on the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (DfE and DoH 2014).

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2014)

Part 3 of the Children and Families Act, published in 2014, relates to provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities. These provisions were outlined in a new SEND Code of Practice which came into effect on 1 September 2014.

The main changes arising from the legislation are as follows:

  • A new SEND framework for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to age twenty five.
  • A clearer focus on the participation of children and parents in decision making.
  • A stronger focus on higher aspirations and improving outcomes for children.
  • Guidance on the joint planning and commissioning of services to ensure cooperation between education, health and social care.
  • A ‘Local Offer’ of support for parents and young people.
  • Guidance on identifying and supporting children and young people with SEND through a revised graduated approach.
  • A new co-ordinated assessment process and Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to replace assessments and statements for children with more complex needs.
  • A greater focus on support that enables those with SEND to succeed in education.
  • Information on requirements of the Equality Act (GB 2010) and Mental Capacity Act (GB 2005).
  • Aspirational reform
  • At the heart of the reform is the aspiration for the equal participation of children, young people and their parentsin decisions being made about local services, and a focus on improving education and outcomes for children and young people. The Code (5.1) states that “all children are entitled to an education that enables them to: achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes”.

Early years provision

Early years providers must have regard for the revised Code of Practice (2014) and ensure that they also comply with associated duties in the:

  • Equality Act (GB 2010)
  • Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE 2014)
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2013)
  • Early years providers are advised to familiarise themselves with the new framework to not only ensure that they are meeting legislative requirements, but to understand how the changes affect local services, children, young people and families.

Local authorities

Local authorities should engage with all funded early years providers in the maintained, private, and voluntary and independent sectors, to ensure that they are aware of the requirements of the new Code. Local authorities must set out in their Local Offer, funding arrangements for early years education and what early years education providers are expected to make available.

Implementing changes to practice

Registered early years providers should be carefully considering the implications of the reforms on their practice, as by September 2015 all changes to practice should have been implemented, which include:

  • allocating time for the SENCO/manager to plan and implement changes into the setting;
  • training staff (and volunteers) on the new SEND framework and subsequent duties;
  • updating the setting’s procedures relating to SEND;
  • informing parents of the changes and local implications;
  • following the Code when identifying and supporting children with SEN and disabilities;
  • removing the two stage graduated approach of Early Years Action and Early Years Action plus (and Individual Education Plans), and applying a new single stage graduated approach of SEN support for identifying and meeting children’s SEN;
  • transferring all children on the graduated approach to SEN Support and the revised graduated approach;
  • ensuring that all revised approaches and intervention are evidenced based and focus on outcomes for children rather than processes;
  • bringing children identified with SEN to the attention of the local authority;
  • placing children and parents at the centre of any SEN provision and decision making;
  • understanding the revised ‘Local Offer’ and associated local strategies;
  • working in partnership with the local authority and other services on local reforms e.g. Local Offer, and when relevant, on Education, Health and Care assessments and plans;
  • signposting families to local mediation services and impartial sources of support such as Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS);
  • supporting the effective transitional planning and arrangements for children with SEN.

Further information

SEND Code of Practice 2014 for the Early Years (Preschool Learning Alliance 2014) provides a comprehensive guide

Disclaimer: The information contained within this mini guide is not an exhaustive list of issues on the subject matter covered and is available as a source of guidance only. It does not, and is not intended to, cover every eventuality. Settings are responsible for all decisions they take and should seek expert guidance on matters of uncertainty. A free 24/7 legal advisory helpline and aninformation helpline are available for Alliance members.