SEND and the law
The UK law provides protection to people with disabilities and promotes their rights and welfare. Leeds Mencap are not legal experts, this page has been created to assemble key SEND legislation but we cannot offer legal advice.
Explore relevant legislation below.
Equality Act (2010)
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various aspects of their life, including employment, education, and access to goods and services.
In education, the act requires that schools and universities make reasonable adjustments to ensure that students with disabilities are not at a disadvantage compared to their peers.
The Children and Families Act (2014)
The Children and Families Act 2014 sets out a number of key provisions for children and young people with SEND, including:
- The right to an education that is appropriate to their needs, and that promotes their well-being and development
- The requirement for local authorities to carry out assessments of children’s needs and to prepare education, health, and care plans (EHCPs) for those with the most complex needs
- The right to appeal against decisions made by local authorities regarding support and provision for children with SEND
- The requirement for schools to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that children with disabilities are not at a disadvantage compared to their peers
- The requirement for schools to designate a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to coordinate support for children with SEND.
SEND Code of Practice (2015)
The SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Code of Practice is a guidance document issued by the UK government that provides practical advice for schools, local authorities, and other organizations on how to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (aged 0-25).
The SEND Code of Practice sets out the legal framework for how schools and local authorities should work together to identify and support children with special educational needs and disabilities, and it also provides guidance on how to involve parents and carers in the decision-making process.
The SEND Code of Practice covers a wide range of topics, including:
- The definition of special educational needs and disabilities
- The process for identifying and assessing children’s needs
- The provision of support and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities
- The role of parents, carers, and young people in decision-making
- The responsibilities of schools and local authorities in meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities
- The transition process from early years to adulthood.
Some of the key principles of the SEND Code of Practice include:
- The importance of early identification and intervention for children with SEND
- The need for a person-centred approach that focuses on the individual needs of each child
- The importance of involving parents, carers, and young people in decision-making
- The requirement for schools and local authorities to work together to provide coordinated support and services
- The need for regular reviews and evaluations of progress and support.