Children and Families Act 2014

Legal references on this page apply to England.

Children and Families Act 2014

The Children and Families Bill became law in March 2014 and is now the Children and Families Act 2014. The first Commencement Order covers family proceedings. The second Commencement Order variously 1st April, 22nd April, 13th May, 25th July and 1st September 2014, and covering SEN and disability (but excluding young offenders), duty to support pupils with medical needs, childminder agencies, adoption, single family court, and free school lunches.

Ofsted Role for SEN

Lord Low July 2014: On Report, the Minister announced the Government had asked Ofsted to review the need for an inspection framework to drive improvements in local SEN provision and the local offer. The Minister indicated that Ofsted would publish its findings in summer 2014 but to date we have heard very little about Ofsted’s progress.

Minister July 2014: Ofsted is now completing its survey of how local areas are working on the reforms and will make recommendations soon about the possible role of inspection in monitoring and accountability. I will...ensure quickly that I check precisely where Ofsted is. If Ofsted is not where we think it might be, we might give it a bit of a chaser. More More

Minister January 2014: The Ofsted study will focus on the extent to which local areas ensure that children and young people with SEN and those who are disabled are identified and their needs met. It will look for improved outcomes, and at the satisfaction of parents and young people. It will establish a baseline from which to evaluate progress in implementing the reforms; provide guidance to local authorities about the development of effective practice and advice about aspects requiring further development; and consider how, if required, effective accountability could take place. The study will consider how local authorities identify and assess social care needs and will ensure that those needs are met. It will look at how local authorities work with clinical commissioning groups to identify and commission the range and sufficiency of specialist services required to support the needs of children with and without EHC plans, and will evaluate the effectiveness of these services. It will also consider arrangements for personal budgets, transition to EHC plans, and how school and college inspection and other inspection activity could provide ongoing information about the effectiveness of the local area’s arrangements. This will be a comprehensive study. Should Ofsted recommend that an inspection framework is needed we would, of course, take that very seriously. If it does not make such a recommendation, we will consider what further action is necessary. More

See also Ofsted SEN Presentation to LGA December 2013

New SEN Links August 2014

For a quick and very readable summary of the main concerns regarding the new SEN legislation click here

Very useful all-on-one page SEN and disability links from lawyer Steve Broach, June 2014 here

DfE response to SEN Code of Practice consultation published June 11th 2014. 103 page pdf setting out what Government plans to do next.
Approved SEN Code of Practice July 2014
Transitional Arrangements published July 2014
Draft Guidance for LAs June 2014 (transition to the new 0 to 25 SEND system from 1 September 2014) via DfE web page on implementing the new 0 to 25 SEN system, updated July 22nd 2014.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 Parents Guide to new SEN system published August 2014.

EHC Plans

Regulations covering the form of EHC plans will come into force on September 1st 2014. In its response to the consultation on the SEN Code of Practice published the same day, DfE explained that it had chosen not to introduce a single national template, but will share further best practice examples of completed EHC plans. A common labelling system has been introduced in the Code of Practice meaning that every EHC plan must contain specified sections that must be labelled with the same letter. see page 31 Government response and final Code of Practice 2014 paragraphs 9.61 to 9.69

How soon will statements be replaced by EHC Plans? Click here for a brief guide

Direct Payments and Personal Budgets for SEN

More including Direct Payment FOIs

Home Education

Home education and special needs website

Home education was discussed in the Lords on January 7th 2014 October 30th 2013 and October 23rd 2013

Pathfinders and the Local Offer

To learn more about the proposed new Local Offer for children and young people with special needs, click here Read about Pathfinders here

Changes to Family Law from April 2014

As of April 22nd 2014 the new Family Court will deal with family proceedings which would previously have been heard in magistrates' courts. Contact and residence orders are replaced by child arrangements orders. This link explains how cases are split between the Family Court and the High Court. You can find a summary of the main changes here Read more about the changes here Legal references all on one page here. More about Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings NB as explained here "the much debated provisions in the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014), s11 providing that 'unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of that parent in the life of the child concerned will further the child’s welfare' doesn't yet have a commencement date.. See also Jordans family law update


Useful Links

Children and Families Act 2014

Ipsea webchat on SEN changes
Briefing on the SEN changes
Briefing on SEN Reforms
Funding home educating families 2014-15
Local Offer
Independent SEN Champions 2014
SEN Tribunal Statistics 3600 SEN appeals, 30% conceded by LAs
Archived page as pdf March 13th 2014 when Children and Families Bill became law.

Link Reference

This article is The following links to other websites are contained in the article, displayed as citations to aid you in printing the document.

  1. Changes to SEN law will be introduced between 2014 and 2018
  2. New SEN Code of Practice 2014
  3. The second Commencement Order
  4. On Report
  5. More
  6. More
  7. Ofsted SEN Presentation to LGA December 2013
  8. here
  9. Parents Guide to new SEN system
  10. Regulations
  11. here
  12. More
  13. Home education and special needs website
  14. October 23rd 2013
  15. here
  16. Jordans family law update
  17. Children and Families Act 2014
  18. Ipsea webchat on SEN changes
  19. Briefing on the SEN changes
  20. Briefing on SEN Reforms
  21. Funding home educating families 2014-15
  22. Local Offer
  23. Independent SEN Champions 2014
  24. Archived page as pdf March 13th 2014