New guidelines published in preparation for SEND system changes

New guidelines published in preparation for SEND system changes

As the system for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) is due to change on September 1st 2014, the government has published new guidelines to help parents and carers understand what this means for them.

The guidelines aim to breakdown the meaning of special educational needs and/or disability so that parents or carers may see if their children qualify for additional help and support with their educational provisions.

Parliamentary under-secretary of state for children and families, Edward Timpson, supports the changes being made, saying: “For far too long, many families have had to fight for the support they need. That has to stop. I want to see a system where families are at the heart of things. A system where decisions taken by those who provide support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities really do put those children and young people first.”

The new guidelines state that parents should have “access to impartial information, advice and support” with the ability to “challenge decisions they disagree with”.

A further document has been published to support local authorities and health partners in their change over to the new SEND system.

With the implementation of the new system, local authorities have been requested to identify all education, health and social care services in their local area where they provide for children, young people and families who have SEN or disabilities. This information must then be included in a directory called the Local Offer.

Those with an interest in the SEND system, including parents, schools and health services, are encouraged to comment and contribute to the Local Offer so that local authorities may see where there are any gaps in provision. The guidelines also state that young people aged 16 to 25 will be fully involved in designing their own SEN support and provision.

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