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SENCO Legal Requirements: Understanding the Law and Policy

by | Apr 8, 2023

SENCO Legal Requirements: Understanding the Law and Policy

SENCOs play a critical role in coordinating provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in schools. But what exactly are the legal requirements that SENCOs need to be aware of?

Key Legal Requirements

Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 outlines the legal requirements for the provision of support for children and young people with SEND in schools. SENCOs are required to be familiar with this legislation and to take steps to meet the requirements outlined in it. The Children and Families Act 2014 is a statute law, which means that local authorities and schools must comply with its provisions or risk acting unlawfully.

The SEND Code of Practice

The SEND Code of Practice is a statutory guidance document that provides additional information and guidance on the legal requirements outlined in Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. It is considered the “SENCo’s bible” and outlines best practices and guidance for coordinating provision for children and young people with SEND. The SEND Code of Practice provides SENCOs with detailed guidance on the provision of SEND support in schools, including identifying and assessing the needs of children and young people with SEND, making appropriate provision to meet those needs, and reviewing and monitoring progress.

Understanding the Difference between the CAFA and SEND Code of Practice

It’s important for SENCOs to understand the difference between the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice. The Children and Families Act 2014 is a statute law, which means that local authorities and schools must comply with its provisions. Failure to comply with this law can lead to legal consequences. In contrast, the SEND Code of Practice is a statutory guidance document, which means that while local authorities and schools are required to have regard for it, failure to comply with it does not constitute a breach of the law.

The Equality Act 2010

In addition to the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice, SENCOs must also be aware of the Equality Act 2010. This act ensures that children and young people with disabilities are not discriminated against and that reasonable adjustments are made to accommodate their needs in schools. As a result, SENCOs are required to ensure that their schools are fully compliant with the Equality Act 2010 and that they provide an inclusive learning environment for all children and young people with SEND.

In conclusion, SENCOs play a crucial role in coordinating provision for children and young people with SEND in schools. To meet their legal obligations, SENCOs must be familiar with the Children and Families Act 2014, the SEND Code of Practice, and the Equality Act 2010. By following the requirements outlined in these legal documents and following the best practices outlined in the SEND Code of Practice, SENCOs can ensure that their schools are providing the best possible support for all children and young people with SEND.

 

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Director of SENDCO Solutions

Abigail Hawkins was a SENCO for over 25 years and has worked with pupils with all types of needs.  Abigail has worked with Ed-Tech companies on developing their software and also been chair of governors for a multi-academy trust. Abigail now runs SENsible SENCO and SENDCO Solutions, with the aim of working with SENCOs and inclusion leaders across the UK to improve their support for SEND pupils. See our school services for more information.

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