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Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0-25 years

The 'Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years' is statutory guidance which came into force on 1 September 2014 and replaces the ‘Special educational needs (SEN): code of practice’ 2001.

It applies to England and provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to:

The Code is for head teachers and principals, governing bodies, school and college staff, SEN coordinators (SENCOs), early education providers, health and social services staff and local authorities. It applies to maintained schools, pupil referral units (PRUs), academies, free schools, colleges and non-maintained special schools.

The Code also explains the duties of schools and colleges to provide:

  • Reasonable adjustments for disabled children and young people
  • Auxiliary aids and services to disabled children and young people

The basic principles within the Code make it clear that all children have a right to an education that enables them to make progress so that they:

  • Achieve their best
  • Become confident individuals and live fulfilling lives
  • Make a successful transition into becoming an adult

When making any decisions about SEN or disabilities, local authorities must have regard to:

  • the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person, and the child's parents
  • the importance of the child or young person, and the child's parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions which affect them
  • the need to support the child or young person, and the child's parents, so that the child or young person can achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, and can prepare properly for adulthood.

The Code is divided into the following chapters:

  • Principles
  • Impartial information, advice and support
  • Working together across education, health and care for joint outcomes
  • The Local Offer
  • Early years providers
  • Schools
  • Further education
  • Preparing for adulthood from the earliest years
  • Education, Health and Care needs assessments and plans
  • Children and young people in specific circumstances (including Looked after children, children of Service personnel and children and young people educated 'out of area'.)
  • Resolving disagreements

As well as having sight of the Code, parents, carers and young people can also access a separate document: ‘Special educational needs and disability; a guide for parents and carers’ August 2014 which has been jointly produced by the Department for Education, Contact a Family, The National Network of Parent Carer Forums, The National Network of Parent Partnership Services and Special Needs Jungle. This guide explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities works. It covers the law and statutory guidance on which the system is based, places to go for help and further information and details about changes to the system from 1 September 2014.

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