The Children and Families Act
The Cornerstone of the Coalition Government SEN Reforms
The Children and Families Act became law on the 13th March 2014 and came into force on the 1st September 2014. ALLFIE of course welcomes:
- The extension of the SEN framework to include disabled children and young people from 0 to 25 years;
- A Local Offer of services for disabled children and young people without SEN;
- The integration of education, health and social care support into a unified Education Health and Care Plan.
We are also relieved that the ‘presumption for mainstream education’ principle remains at the heart of the new Act , but ALLFIE remains deeply concerned that a number of the changes set out in the Children & Families Act will erode the current rights of disabled children and young people with SEN in relation to their inclusion in mainstream education.
The struggle for Inclusive Education continues!
Because there were no helpful amendments in support of inclusive education in the Children & Families Act, we believe that over one million disabled children and young people with SEN, but without a Statement, soon to be Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), could now lose their right to mainstream education - despite the Government saying the law will remain the same.
So what now?… There is still an opportunity to influence the new regulations and the SEN Code of Practice. The SEN Code of Practice is currently being revised to reflect the changes set out in the new Act. See ALLFIE’s latest briefing on the Code HERE
From now and after the 1st September 2014 when the Act comes into force ALLFIE will be gearing up to collect evidence of the real impact that the new Act is having on disabled children and young people with SEN and their families. This will help us create a really strong evidence base of what is changing for families and young people with SEN who want to be included in mainstream education. ALLFIE wants to act as an independent monitor of inclusion as the changes set out in the Children & Families Act start to take hold.
So look out for ALLFIE’s regular Briefings and Calls for Action which will give you lots of ideas for how you can get involved in our vital campaigning work.
ALLFIE lobbied hard at every stage of the Bill’s progress through the House of Parliament. We made some good relationships with MPs and Peers along the way, but we have been very disappointed by how little the Government has listened to disabled people and our allies about some parts of the law that will make it more difficult for families and young disabled learners to exercise their rights to be included in mainstream education.
But despite our disappointment we still managed to achieve some important victories:
- Retaining presumption of mainstream education for disabled learners in primary legislation.
- Through our campaigning ALLFIE achieved widespread support from the SEN sector about the Government myth that there is ‘bias towards inclusive education’ – the sector supports ALLFIE’s view that NO BIAS EXISTS!
- 2100 signatories to a Change.org petition asking the Government to include the Inclusive Schooling Guidance into the SEN Code of Practice – see Petition HERE
Image by Simone Aspis