The Children and Families Act 2014 came into law on 13 March 2014 and has reformed the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs.

The main changes brought about for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities were:

  • A new Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan based on a single assessment process replaced special education statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments. This plan provides statutory protections comparable to those currently associated with a statement of SEN up to the age of 25.
  • In line with this the rights of appeal to the SEND Tribunals has been extended to further education
  • The commissioning and planning of services for children, young people and families is run jointly by health services and the local authorities.
  • The rights to a personal budget to support children, young people and families were extended.
  • Schools and Local authorities must now make the Local services available to children and families with SEND  in the form of a Local Offer. This must be provided in a clear, easy to read manner.
  • Local authorities now have a duty to involve families and children in discussions and decisions relating to their care and education; and provide impartial advice, support and mediation services.


For more information about the Children and Families Act, and to keep up to date with the proposed changes to SEN, please visit the IPSEA website