SEN Code of Practice NEW 2015

Legal references on this page apply to England.

New SEN Code of Practice 2015

A new SEN and Disability Code of Practice was introduced in September 2014 to coincide with the commencement of the Children and Families Act 2014. Within a few months it was necessary to update and amend it. The revised new SEND Code of Practice came into force on April 1st 2015 and can be read here.

All new assessments from September 2014 will be for Education Health and Care Plans under the new law. Read about home education in the 2001 and 2015 SEN Codes here + Transfer statements to EHCPs

Direct Payments and Personal Budgets

If the local authority "agrees to" a Personal Budget or "offers" a Personal Budget, this does NOT mean that money will be made available to the family. Some people may think that a "Personal Budget" equals money for the family to spend, but this is not true. The only time money is released to the family is via what is called "Direct Payments."More. See also new page April 2016, section J.

Statutory Guidance Transition

Appendix A at the back of the Transition Guidance sets out in table form the statutory requirements (R) and non-statutory expectations (E) relating to the transfer of different groups of children and young people to the new SEN system.

For more information about timescales and deadlines within the 20 week EHCP transfer process click here

EHC Plan Format

A common labelling system has been introduced in the SEN Regulations and followed by the Code of Practice meaning that every EHC plan must contain specified sections that must be labelled with the same letter. See

A: The views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents or young person;
B: The child or young person’s special educational needs;
C: The child or young person’s health needs which are related to their special educational needs;
D: The child or young person’s social care needs which are related to their special educational needs;
E: The outcomes sought for the child or the young person, including outcomes for adult life. The EHC plan should also identify the arrangements for setting shorter term targets by the early years provider, school, college or other education or training provider;
F: The special educational provision required by the child or the young person;
G: Any health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties and disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN, and where an Individual Health Care Plan is made for them, that plan;
H1: Any social care provision which must be made for a child or young person under 18 resulting from section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970;
H2: Any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties and disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN. This will include any adult social care provision being provided to meet a young person’s eligible needs (through a statutory care and support plan) under the Care Act 2014;
I: The name and type of the school, maintained nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution, or the type of school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person where no such institution is named;
J: Where there is a personal budget, the details of how the personal budget will support particular outcomes, the provision it will be used for including any flexibility in its usage and the details of any agreement for a direct payment for education, health and social care as set out in respective regulations;
K: The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment (in appendices).


EHC plans must specify the outcomes sought for the child or young person [9.64 SEND Code Practice]

"An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention...Outcomes are not a description of the service being provided – for example the provision of three hours of speech and language therapy is not an outcome. In this case, the outcome is what it is intended that the speech and language therapy will help the individual to do that they cannot do now and by when this will be achieved." [9.66 Code of Practice 2015 paragraphs 9.61 to 9.69. EHC plans must specify the outcomes sought for the child or young person [9.64 SEND Code Practice 2015]

Outcomes will usually set out what needs to be achieved by the end of a phase or stage of education in order to enable the child or young person to progress successfully to the next phase or stage. The provision should enable the outcomes to be achieved. [9.68 SEN Code Practice 2015]

The EHC plan should also specify the arrangements for setting shorter term targets at the level of the school or other institution where the child or young person is placed. [9.69 SEND Code Practice]

Graduated Approach

Schools are expected to put SEN support in place before considering an EHCP. It is described as 'a four-part cycle (assess, plan, do, review)'. For more information see Chapter 6 SEND Code of Practice paragraphs 6.45 to 6.56. It is still not clear how this will operate for families requesting an EHCP assessment while the child is still home educated.

Comments Home Education 2015 SEND Code of Practice

Comment: Although the new SEN Code came into force in September 2014, it will not apply to existing statements. Statements will continue to be reviewed just as they have been in the past, until the statement becomes due for a re-assessment under the new rules.

The new SEN Code envisages two different types of "home education." One option - set out in 10.32 - is where parents take responsibility for making provision, with no help from the LA, which is what home educators would usually understand as "home education". The other possibility - set out in 10.31- is where the local authority agrees the arrangements and takes responsibility for funding the provision. (See Direct Payments)

The new code focuses on "outcomes" but there is an important distinction in the new Code between "outcomes" and "targets". EHCP "outcomes" are medium to long term, whereas targets are more short term, and - crucially for home educators - targets are set "at the level of the school or other institution where the child is placed". In other words targets are not applicable in the home setting (new SENCoP 9.6)

Home Education in 2015 SEN Code of Practice

SEND Code Practice 2015

Home education in the final SEN Code of Practice June 2014 is the same as in the revised April 2014 draft

10.30 Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 parents have the right to educate children, including children with SEN, at home. Home education must be suitable to the child’s age, ability, aptitude and SEN. Local authorities should work in partnership with, and support, parents to ensure that the special educational needs of these children are met where the local authority already knows the children have SEN or the parents have drawn the children’s special needs to the authority’s attention. Local authorities do not have a duty under section 22 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to assess every home educated child to see whether or not they have SEN. The high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant is intended to fund provision for all relevant children and young people in the authority’s area, including home educated children. Local authorities should fund the SEN needs of home educated children where it is appropriate to do so. Guidance is available to local authorities from the Department for Education on funding provision for home educated children.

10.31 In cases where local authorities and parents agree that home education is the right provision for a child or young person with an EHC plan, the plan should make clear that the child or young person will be educated at home. If it does then the local authority, under Section 42(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014, must arrange the special educational provision set out in the plan, working with the parents. Under Section 19 of the Act, a local authority must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parents, or the young person.

10.32 In cases where the EHC plan gives the name of a school or type of school where the child will be educated and the parents decide to educate at home, the local authority is not under a duty to make the special educational provision set out in the plan provided it is satisfied that the arrangements made by the parents are suitable. The local authority must review the plan annually to assure itself that the provision set out in it continues to be appropriate and that the child's SEN continue to be met (see Chapter 9). Where the local authority has decided that the provision is appropriate, it should amend the plan to name the type of school that would be suitable but state that parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

10.33 Where a child or young person is a registered pupil and the parent decides to home educate, the parent must notify the school in writing that the child or young person is receiving education otherwise than at school and the school must then remove the pupil's name from the admission register. If the school is a special school, the local authority must give consent for the child's name to be removed, but this should not be a lengthy or complex process. There is no provision in law for a ‘trial period’ of home education.

10.34 Local authorities do not have the right of entry to the family home to check that the provision being made by the parents is appropriate and may only enter the home at the invitation of the parents. Parents should be encouraged to see this process as part of the authority’s overall approach to home education of pupils with SEN, including the provision of appropriate support, rather than an attempt to undermine the parents' right to home educate.

10.35 Local authorities should not assume that because the provision being made by parents is different from that which was being made or would have been made in school that the provision is necessarily unsuitable. Local authorities should also consider using their power to help parents make suitable provision.

10.36 In some cases a local authority will conclude that, even after considering its power to provide support to home educating parents, the provision that is or could be made for a child or young person with an EHC plan does not meet the child or young person's needs. The local authority is required to intervene through the school attendance order framework 'if it appears...that a child of compulsory school age is not receiving suitable education'. The serving of a school attendance order is a last resort if all attempts to improve provision are unsuccessful. 'Suitable education' means efficient full-time education suitable to the child or young person's age, ability and aptitude and to any SEN he or she may have.

10.37 Parents may also home educate children who have SEN but do not have EHC plans. As with children and young people with EHC plans, local authorities should work with parents and consider whether to provide support in the home to help the parents make suitable provision. Information about the right to request an EHC assessment and the right to appeal should be available to all parents including those who are considering home education because they feel that the special educational support being provided in the school is insufficient to meet the child or young person's needs.

10.38 Young people may also be educated at home in order to meet the requirement to participate in education and training until the age of 18. Local authorities should involve parents, as appropriate, in the reviews of EHC plans of home-educated young people who are over compulsory school age.

Annual Review

Information about Annual Reviews of EHCPs can be found in Chapter 9 of the 2015 SEND Code of Practice Parents and children/young people must be invited to the review but are not obliged to attend.

Direct Payments

Read what SEN lawyer Steve Broach has to say about direct payments for special educational provision in the Children and Families Act here

More about direct payments and personal budgets here


For more on the Pathfinders, click here

Facts and Figures

FOI responses in 2013 indicated that approximately a thousand home educated children had a statement of SEN. The percentage of home educated children who had a statement of SEN varied among local authorities between zero and 20%, averaging around 5%.

In 2012, 28% of home educated children with a statement were primary age, while 68% were secondary age. 14% had moderate learning difficulties; 6% had physical disabilities; 14% had speech communication and language needs; 32% were on the autistic spectrum; 11% had severe or complex learning difficulties; 20% were previously educated in a special school; 34% had begun home education during the past year; 42% had been home educated for more than 2 years; 17% had been home educated for more than 5 years; while 18% ceased to be home educated last year and went into school.

Special Needs Code of Practice 2001 Home Education

8:95 Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 recognises parents' right to choose to educate their child at home. Such arrangements are described as 'education otherwise than at school'. In such cases, if the child has a statement of special educational needs, it remains the LEA's duty to ensure that the child's needs are met. The statement must remain in force and the LEA must ensure that parents can make suitable, provision, including provision for the child's special educational needs. If the parent's arrangements are suitable the LEA are relieved of their duty to arrange the provision specified in the statement. If, however, the parents' attempt to educate the child at home results in provision which falls short of meeting the child's needs, then the parents are not making 'suitable arrangements' and the LEA could not conclude that they were absolved of their responsibility to arrange the provision in the statement. Even if the LEA is satisfied, the LEA remains under a duty to maintain the child’s statement and to review it annually, following the procedures set out in Chapter Nine.

8:96 In such situations section 324 (4A) of the Education Act 1996 does not require the name of a school to be specified in part 4 of the statement. Part 4 should state the type of school the LEA consider appropriate but go on to say that: "parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996." The statement can also specify any provision that the LEA have agreed to make under section 319 to help parents provide suitable education for their child at home.
SEN Code Practice 2001

Consolidated SEN regulations 2001 for 1996 Act, and as web pages

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

archived page as pdf, December 9th 2013 including consultation walkthrough.

2013 Consultation Response

SEN Code consultation response December 2013

2014 Consultation Response

SEN Code consultation response May 2014

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.

  3. the SEN Regulations
  5. Direct Payments
  6. not obliged to attend.
  7. here
  8. here
  9. here
  10. FOI responses in 2013
  11. Consolidated SEN regulations 2001
  12. web pages
  16. Home Education Funding
  17. archived page as pdf, December 9th 2013
  18. consultation response
  19. consultation response