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implementation time for SEN reforms

29 August 2014

Recent reports suggest that local authorities and health bodies are leaving themselves open to legal challenge as they do not have the necessary policies and procedures in place to implement the new SEN framework established by the Children & Families Act 2014. The framework comes into force on 1 September 2014 and requires local authorities and health bodies to work collaboratively to ensure the needs of children with SEN and disabilities are met appropriately. The report suggests many authorities are not ready to meet these requirements, particularly in relation to health care services. Despite guidance been made available recently, the government claim that 90% of authorities are ready.

The legal obligations around SEN bite on 1 September and all education institutions must be ready to act in accordance with them. However, it will take more than legal challenges to truly implement the framework – joint working will require a shift in culture and that change will need time, not legal action, to be effective.

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