SEND and the Local Offer?

What is SEND and the changes introduced by the SEND Reforms 

From 1 September 2014, changes have been introduced to the way children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are supported. 

The SEND reforms are set out in part 3 of a new law called the Children and Families Act 2014. It applies to England only. There is also a new Code of Practice, the Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years, which is aimed at local authorities, schools and others regarding their duties under the new law. 

The Knowsley Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Strategy 2018-2021 has been developed with all partners. It aims to ensure that children and young people with SEND have the best start in life, aim high, achieve their potential and live happy and fulfilled lives.

Children and young people with SEND, as well as their families and carers, are at the heart of this strategy and have played an important part in helping to shape the key priorities and actions that the strategy aims to address and achieve. We will continue to work in partnership with our children and young people and their families to deliver the strategy, ensuring that the actions carried out are child-centred, outcome-focused and inclusive.

Key principles

The new law aims to improve the system by taking into account the views, wishes and feelings of children and young people and their families. It is based on these principles: 

Local authorities and health partners must work with parent carers and young people to improve services in their area, for example through their local parent carer forum.  How to get involved in developing the Local Offer.

Local authorities must offer support in a way that enables children and young people with SEND to achieve the best possible educational progress, and helps them do what they want in their lives as they grow up.

Joint decisions
Local authorities must make sure that young people and their families get the right information and support to help make decisions which affect them.

Introduction of Education, Health and Care Plans
Special Educational Needs and Learning Disability Assessments (s139a) will be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). However, no child or young person should lose their statement and have it replaced with an EHC plan simply because the system is changing.

Joint working
Education, health and social care services must work more closely together when they are deciding on the support available for children and young people with SEN and disabilities in their area.

Parent carers and young people may be able to receive a personal budget to fund educational, health or social care provision set out in an EHCP.

  • Once a child is over 16 years of age they will have a right to make decisions about the support made for them unless they lack the capacity to do so.
  • Each local authority must publish a Local Offer  – a directory of the support available for the children and young people with SEN and disabilities in the local area.
  • In mainstream schools, SEN Support will replace School Action and School Action Plus.
  • Local authorities must ensure there is a source of independent information and advice available to parent carers and children and young people with SEN and disabilities.

What are the main changes?

  • Education, Heath and Care Plans (EHCP) will replace statements of special educational need. The EHCP is a legal document specifying a child or young person’s special educational needs, the special educational provision they will get, and the school, college or other educational place they will attend.
  • The EHCP could begin at birth and continue until a young person is 25 years of age, if they still need the extra support to complete their education or training. The EHCP will replace Learning Difficulty Assessments for young people over 16 years in further education.
  • The EHCP will have more parts to it than the statement. It will describe:
    • the child or young person’s views and future goals
    • the outcomes the child or young person is expected to achieve
    • health needs linked to the child or young person’s special educational needs (SEN)
    • health provision the child or young person needs because of their SEN
    • social care needs and provision linked to the child or young person’s SEN there is a separate law
    • covering social care assessments and provision - the details must be included in the EHCP.
  • Most EHCP's will be started at the child's school or nursery but parents can also self refer.  To begin they should first speak to the Knowsley SENDIASS team who will advise on how to proceed.
  • The SEN Assessment & Commissioning page explains the main functions.
  • Knowsley’s EHC Plan Pathway Protocol explains the pathway that requests for an EHC Plan follow.

Appeal a special educational needs (SEN) statement decision

Right of appeal for the Health and Care aspects of the Educational Health Care (EHC) Plan

SEND Personal Budgets in Knowsley Policy

Knowsley Special School Partnership Booklet

Special Educational Needs & Disability Guide for Parents & Carers

The SEND Reforms: A guide to Education, Health & Care Plans

When Will the Changes Happen?

From 1 September 2014, parents will need to make a request for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

Ongoing statutory assessments and appeals will continue according to the current law. Existing statements will remain in force until the local authority carry out a ‘transfer review’ and transfer your child’s statement to an EHCP. This will be done at a time that is best for your child and should not disrupt their education.

The process of transferring children and young people from statements to EHCPs will continue over the next three years. No statements will remain in place after April 2018.

Knowsley's Transition Plan

What is the Local Offer?

Every council is required to publish a detailed directory of what local support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities (SEND).  This is called the Local Offer (LO).

The LO provides information on a range of local agencies, including education, health and social care. As well as giving you more choice, it provides you with control over what support is right for your child.

The LO provides information on a number of things, including:

  • special educational provision
  • health provision
  • social care provision
  • other educational provision;
  • training provision
  • travel arrangements for children and young people to schools, colleges and early years education
  • preparing for adulthood, including housing, employment and leisure opportunities

As well as finding out about services in your area, the LO will include eligibility criteria, how decisions are made, who makes them and it will also encourage feedback on the services provided and how you can become involved in service planning.  It will also help to support parents, carers and young people who have requested a personal budget. 

What is the Local Offer Factsheet