The new SEND Code of Practice refers to a number of documents that have to be produced and made available from September 2014.
The Local Offer must be published by each local authority. It sets out in one place information about provision that the local authority expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan.
The Local Offer should be:
• Collaborative – involving parents, children and young people and service providers in developing and reviewing the Local Offer
• Accessible – easy to understand, factual and jargon free. It should also be well signposted and well publicised
• Comprehensive – all support that parents and young people can expect to be available across education, health and social care from age 0 to 25 and how to access it
• Up–to-date – all information should be as up-to-date as possible
• Transparent – clear about how decisions are made and who is accountable and responsible for them
Schools must co-operate with the local authority in the development and review of the Local Offer to ensure that it there is an authority-wide description of the special educational and training provision it expects to be available in schools in the future. There is no statutory duty on a school to provide a “school offer”. What a school must produce is a SEN Information Report.
All local authorities should have produced the Local Offer and have available on their website from September 2014.
Information about The Local Offer and links to each local authority can be found here
The SEN Information Report is a document that every governing body (or equivalent) must publish on their school website. This report contains information about the governing body’s (or equivalent) implementation of their policy for pupils with SEN. This report should be updated annually and any changes to the information should be amended as soon as possible. In line with all aspects of the SEND Code of Practice schools should involve parents, children and young people in the development and subsequent review of this information report.
Schools should have had this Information Report published by September 2014 (Implementing a new 0-25 special needs system: LAs and partners – July 2014) however, if schools are to involve parents, children and young people in this process it will obviously take some time to get finalised and ratified by the governing body.
At the same time the new School Inspection Handbook published by Ofsted in July 2014 (coming into force from September) very clearly states that inspectors will expect to see certain pieces of information on the school’s website including the SEN Information Report.
More information about what should be included in the report can be found on my website.
THE SEND Policy is the document that a school will develop to outline how they will meet the special educational needs of their pupils. It will not only reflect the statutory requirements but the actual practice of the school. The policy is very personal to the school and will include approaches, staff expertise and deployment and the interventions and support that are available to pupils.
The policy must be reviewed annually and it is good practice to involve parents, children and young people in its development and review. All current SEN Polices (prior to September 2014) will be out of date due to terminology changes (SA and SA+, statements etc.) so will need to be reviewed as soon as possible. Review and amendments to other policies (Teaching and Learning, Equality, Children with
Medical Conditions) must also be taken into account when reviewing and revising the SEN Policy. There is a very helpful SEND Policy fact sheet available from nasen.