Table of Contents
Children and Families Act 2014
The Children and Families Bill received royal assent on March 13th 2014 and is now the Children and Families Act. Some SEN provisions will come into force in September 2014.
First Commencement Order (Family Proceedings)
Ipsea sets out compelling reasons to delay implementation proposing a new consultation on revised SEN code with commencement postponed from September 2014 to January 2015
On January 7th 2014 the Government set out what should happen to the special educational provision and the health provision specified in the EHC plan when a child or young person is home educated.
Government amendment 38A to Clause 42, page 34, line 14, leave out "to the extent that" and insert "if", agreed House of Lords January 7th 2014
Government spokesperson, House of Lords 7 Jan 2014 : Column 1449: "In the current system, set out in the Education Act 1996, when a statement is maintained for a child or young person the local authority is under a duty to secure the special educational provision specified in it. The local authority is relieved of its duty to arrange the special educational provision in the statement, including securing a place in a school or college named in a statement of SEN, if the parents or the young person have made suitable alternative arrangements for special educational provision to be made, for example, in an independent school or college or at home."
"The Bill introduced to Parliament in February 2013 retained this provision, but when government amendments were introduced in Committee in the other place to place a duty on heath bodies to arrange the healthcare provision specified in an education, health and care plan, Clause 42 was amended so that, under Clause 42(5), local authorities’ and health bodies’ duties to secure and arrange specified provision would not apply "to the extent that the child’s parent or the young person has made suitable alternative arrangements"."
"We made this change with the intention of ensuring that, in cases where a parent or young person had made suitable alternative arrangements only for education provision, the duty on responsible health commissioners to arrange required health provision would remain in place. On reflection, that wording is problematic and could have unintended consequences, since it could be interpreted to mean that when a parent or young person makes alternative arrangements for only some of the provision the local authority or health body is only relieved from its duty to make that provision and must secure and arrange the remainder. This would not be sensible or fair."
"Amendment 38A would address this issue and ensure that local authorities have a clear duty to secure the special educational provision in a child or young person’s education, health and care plan; it would enable parents or young people to make alternative arrangements; it would require local authorities to satisfy themselves that those arrangements are suitable; and it would enable local authorities to assist parents in making their own arrangements suitable, if they consider it appropriate, without imposing any duty on them to do so. It has not been sufficiently clear that local authorities can assist parents in this way until now and I am pleased that this amendment gives me the opportunity to clarify the position."
"Where parents or a young person make alternative arrangements, the local authority must satisfy itself that those arrangements are suitable before it is relieved of its duty to secure the provision. It can only conclude that arrangements are suitable if there is a realistic possibility of them being funded for a reasonable period of time. If it is satisfied, the authority need not name its nominated school or college in the plan and may specify only the type of provision. This is to avoid the school having to keep a place free that the parents have no intention of taking up. If the local authority is not satisfied that the parent or young person’s alternative arrangements are suitable, it could either name another appropriate school or college in the EHC plan or assist parents in making their arrangements suitable, including, if they consider it appropriate, through a financial contribution, though it will be under no obligation to meet the costs of those arrangements."
"Where parents make suitable alternative arrangements for educational provision, the health commissioning body is still responsible for arranging the healthcare specified in the child or young person’s EHC plan. If parents make alternative arrangements for healthcare provision, then the health commissioning body would need to satisfy itself that those arrangements were suitable. If the arrangements were not suitable, they would arrange the provision specified in the plan or, if they felt it appropriate, assist the parents in making their own arrangements suitable. We will, of course, clarify this position in the SEN code of practice."
EHC PlansCan parents be involved after 16; direct payments; personal budget; do plans go up to 25?; has the code already changed?; will statement end as soon as law changes?; do EHC plans entail the same legal duties?; do you need EHC plan to get support?; what can you appeal in the EHC plan?; does LA have to carry out social care assessment as part of EHC plan? See Contact A Family Information Sheets http://www.cafamily.org.uk/advice-and-support/resource-library/guidance-on-the-top-children-and-families-bill-myths-part-2/ http://www.cafamily.org.uk/advice-and-support/resource-library/guidance-on-the-top-children-and-families-bill-myths-part-2/
Pathfinders and the Local Offer
To learn more about the proposed new Local Offer for children and young people with special needs, click here
Changes to Family Law from April 2014From 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), s 11 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."
Useful LinksChanges to funding for home educating families 2014-15
House of Commons Library Research Report May 31st 2013 (SEN pages 10-37)
Local Offer SEN
Ipsea on SEN changes
Human Rights Joint Committee Children and Families Bill
DfE web page on Children and Families Bill
Independent SEN Champions announced January 7th 2014
my memo to Bill Committee March 2013
Home Education Advisory Service Bill Committee memo March 2013.
Ipsea amendments including special academies, education otherwise + child/parent responsibility
Ipsea briefing March 2013
Every Disabled Child Matters memo to Bill Committee
Departmental response to the Education Committee Departmental response to the Education Committee
Home Education APPG on SEN and Disability November 2012
Memo to the Education Committee pre-legislative scrutiny of draft SEN Bill
Track the passage of the Children and Families Bill
Education Committee Pre-legislative Scrutiny of the draft SEN Bill
Steve Broach and Kate Whittaker Disability Rights Briefing Use Law to Fight Cuts
SEN Tribunal Statistics 3600 SEN appeals, 30% conceded by LAs.