The SEND Code of Practice is the official guide for teachers who work with children who have Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and focuses on a family-centred system of care and education which spans four broad areas of special education needs and support:
The SEND Code of Practice contains details of the legal requirements that education professionals must follow without exception, and statutory guidance that must be followed unless there is a good reason not to.
The SEND Code of Practice is maintained and published by the Department for Education (DfE) and both mainstream and special schools must follow the Code. The current version of the Code does not distinguish between primary and secondary school environments.
The SEND Code of Practice is broken into:
Below, you will find a summary of the most relevant sections for Primary Schools from the Code of Practice.
The Code of Practice ensures that SEND provision takes into account the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person and their parents/carers. It stresses the importance of the child or young person participating as fully as possible in decisions, and the need for professionals to support the child or young person and their parents/carers to help them achieve the best possible outcomes. These principles help with the early identification of the child’s needs, facilitate effective early intervention and promote collaboration between education, health and social care services. By following these principles, education professionals ensure the most successful preparation for adulthood, including independent living and employment where possible.
This section of the Code covers the provisions that local authorities must arrange for children with special educational needs or disabilities for whom they are responsible. This includes information and advice about matters relating to their SEND, such as health or social care and management of personal budgets. Support services such as SENDIAS (Croydon Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are impartial, confidential and accessible. They offer a range of support to parents/carers and help you to work with education providers to ensure your child's needs are met. More information can be found here.
This chapter of the Code outlines the scope of joint commissioning arrangements and how local partners in health and care should work with schools to meet local needs and support better outcomes, covering services such as specialist support and therapies. This means that health care teams can work with schools to deliver medications, clinical treatments, speech and language therapy, assistive technology, mental health support, personal care, physiotherapy, specialist equipment, emergency provision, and whatever other care needs a child has while under a school's care.
This chapter explains the duties of local authorities to develop provisions for children or young people with SEND. This includes the need to provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about how to access the available provisions, and to directly involve disabled children and those with special needs in the development of these provisions. Local authorities have an obligation to include schools, colleges, health services and other institutions in their development of the Local Offer. More information can be found here.
All children and young people at school are entitled to an education which is appropriate to their needs and promotes high standards and the fulfilment of potential, enabling them to achieve their best and make a successful transition to adulthood. Every school is required to have a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who is responsible for identifying and addressing the needs of SEND pupils. There is also a member of the governing body with specific oversight of the school’s arrangements for SEND. The identification of special needs is built into the overall approach to monitoring the progress and development of all pupils. Schools may be required to involve specialists when deciding how to support children with special needs or disabilities. To do this quickly and effectively, they should work closely with the local authority and other providers.
High aspirations are crucial to the success of all pupils, and discussions about longer term goals should start as early as possible – focusing on the child’s strengths and capabilities and the outcomes they want to achieve as they transition to adult life. Supporting a young person with SEND to achieve greater independence and employability can be life transforming. All professionals working with the young person should share these high aspirations and have a good understanding of what support the young person will need – whether they’re transitioning to higher education, employment, and/or independent living.
The purpose of an EHCP is to make special educational provision to meet the needs of the child or young person, and to secure the best possible outcomes for them. The local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs when it considers that it is necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person.
Some children with SEND will also be accommodated or have been taken into care by a local authority. The local authority will act as a ‘corporate parent’ and must safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, including promoting their educational achievement. Schools will work with the local authority to create an education plan for the child which fits with their specific social care needs in this instance.