The SEN Code of Practice provides practical advice to Local Education Authorities,maintained schools, early education settings and others on carrying out their statutoryduties to identify, assess and make provision for children’s special educational needs.
The Education Act 1993 placed a duty on the Secretary of State to issue a Code of Practice and the power to revise it from time to time. The first Code of Practice came intoeffect in 1994. Since then, the rights and duties contained in the 1993 Act have beenconsolidated into Part IV of the 1996 Education Act. This Code of Practice replaces the1994 Code in England. It follows consultation in January 1999 on proposals for changesto the Code of Practice and subsequent consultation between July and October 2000with LEAs, schools, SEN voluntary bodies, the health and social services, and others onadraft of a revised Code. The draft was then revised in the light of comments from allinterested parties, and subsequently laid before and approved by Parliament.
This Code, like its predecessor, will help schools and LEAs obtain the best value fromtheconsiderable resources and expertise they invest in helping children with specialeducational needs. It retains much of the guidance from the original Code. But it takesaccount of the experiences of schools and LEAs in using the original Code anddevelopments in education since 1994. It includes new rights and duties introduced bythe SEN and Disability Act 2001 and Regulations.
This foreword explains the status of this Code of Practice, highlights relateddevelopments and summarises the main differences from the 1994 Code. It is not formallypart of the Code itself.
The Status of the SEN Code of Practice
This Code of Practice is effective from 1 January 2002. From that date LEAs, schools,early education settings and those who help them – including health and social services –must have regard to it. They must not ignore it. That means that whenever settings,schools and LEAs decide how to exercise their functions relating to children with specialeducational needs, and whenever thehealth and social services provide help to settings,schools and LEAs in this, those bodies must consider what this Code says. These bodiesmust fulfil their statutory duties towards children with special educational needs but it is upto them to decide how to do so – in the light of the guidance in this Code of Practice. TheCode is designed to help them to make effective decisionsbut it does not – and could not –tell them what to do in each individual case. The duty to have regard to this Code willcontinue for its lifetime.
New statutory duties on LEAs, schools and early education settings introduced by theSpecial Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 and revised Regulations come intoforce on 1 January 2002. Key statutory duties are paraphrased in boxes throughoutthetext. The Regulations set out transitional provisions dealing with assessments,statements and reviews commenced under the old system. During the transitional period,whilst schools and LEAs must have regard to this Code, they will need to do so in thelight of those transitional arrangements. It would be unrealistic to expect them to have in