Special Educational Needs


Special Educational Needs: Code of Practice 2001 (updated 2014)

The SEN Code of Practice outlines how schools and Local Education Authorities (LEA) must provide extra support to  children who have Special Educational Needs. 

The Code became effective in England and Wales on 1st January 2002. More information from official publications can be obtained from the DfE website or from the DfE Publications: 

  • Special Educational Needs: A Guide for Parents and carers

  • Disability Toolkit

  • Inclusion

    All children must receive an inclusive education, rather than being marginalised or excluded from the standard curriculum. Teachers are obliged to differentiate the curriculum for children of all abilities. 

    The process of inclusion involves a 3-tiered approach: 

    School Action 

    At this stage, any child with a learning difficulty should have been identified, either by the teacher or the SENCO. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be in place, in which learning targets will be identified. 

    Ususally the school discusses the SENCO’s recommendations with parents to agree on the child’s IEP or any additional help. This can range from extra tuition time in school to the provision of a Learning Support Assistant. 

    School Action Plus 

    This secondary stage is invoked when the measures or learning targets introduced with the School Action response do not appear to be benefiting to the child. 

    A professional outside the school, such as a specialist teacher, will address the child's needs. 

    Statutory Assessment 

    We strongly advise parents to seek guidance when considering this procedure. Some help and advice is available from the local Parent Partnership Schemes (eg Norfolk Send Partnership) or through other conciliation arrangements.

    If the School Action and Action Plus strategies have not benefited the child, you can begin the next stage by making a request to the Local Education Authority (LEA) for a formal assessment of the child’s educational needs. 

    Other Council agencies and probably an Educational Psychologist will carry out the assessment. 

    Based on the assessment, the LEA decides whether to issue an Education, Health & Care Plan. (EHC) It is not guaranteed that they will do so and you will need to be prepared to make lengthy representations to the LEA. 

    If the LEA decides that more specialised support is needed, the LEA usually issues a Proposed EHC and invites parents to comment on the document. When parents and the LEA have agreed on the Statement, the LEA is then responsible for its implementation, which may involve your child attending a different mainstream school or, subject to further criteria, a specialist school elsewhere. 

    Disputes between Parents and LEAs on Special Educational Needs provision can be referred to an independent tribunal under the provisions of the Special Needs and Disability Act 2001. OFSTED also monitor schools to ensure that requirements of the Act are being observed. 


    Back to About Dyslexia