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Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Reforms

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Reforms: The Children and Families Act 2014

Change is coming...

Special educational needs legislation is being reformed by the Government with new approaches coming in to place from 1 September 2014. This is to improve outcomes for children and young people with complex needs and the experience of parents and carers.

The changes form Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 which received Royal Assent on 13 March 2014.

The three key changes are as follows:

  • Production of a ‘Hampshire Local Offer’: Placing a duty on local authorities to set out clear and searchable information on services available to parents and carers, children and young people
  • Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) for children and young people with special educational needs from birth to age 25: Replacing Statements of Special Educational Needs, and Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessments for post 16 education
  • Personal Budgets: For some families and young people with an EHCP to give greater independence, choice and control over their support.

The Act also includes:

  • The need to involve children and young people and parents and carers at the heart of the process in a more person centred way
  • Places a requirement on local authorities and health services to jointly commission services for young people and families
  • Provides statutory protection for young people who are in education or training up to the age of 25
  • That SEND duties will apply equally to all schools including Academies and Free Schools.

Hampshire have been working closely with the Hampshire Parent/Carer Network, the voluntary sector and schools, colleges and early years services to develop these requirements. You can find more information on the following pages.

Background to SE7 SEND Pathfinder programme

Hampshire has worked for the past two and a half years with the South East 7 Pathfinder testing the proposals set out within the Green Paper published March 2011.

Who were the SE7 Local Authorities?

Hampshire was chosen, as part of a successful regional bid with six other south east areas (called the South East 7 or SE7), to develop and trial these new approaches.

The SE7 authorities were:

  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • East Sussex County Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Medway Council
  • Surrey County Council
  • West Sussex County Council

The SE7 also included 4 PCT Clusters:

  • NHS Kent and Medway
  • NHS Sussex – covering Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex
  • Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth PCT Cluster
  • NHS Surrey
Project Initiation Document (PID) Microsoft Word

April 2014 onwards

The Pathfinder work concluded on 31 March 2014. Hampshire County Council is continuing to work with all of their key partners, parent/carers, education providers, health etc, as the work now focusses on the implementation programme for the SEND Reforms go-live from 1 September 2014.


SEND Reforms in Hampshire - what are we doing?

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Implementation programme will run from April 2014 to March 2015 in line with the one off grant from the Department for Education. The initial focus is on readiness for go-live from 1 September 2014.

There are three key workstreams that are being co-produced and developed with a whole range of people involved in the process across education, health and social care, including parent carers and the voluntary sector. The overall structure of the Implementation programme is is shown in the SEND Reforms Implementation structure chart diagram  Download Adobe Reader to view this PDF 51kB. The workstreams are:

The final Code of Practice, which sets out in plain English the requirements, is due to be published Spring 2014 by the Government.

Transitioning from statements and s139a Move-On plans in to EHCPs

The Code of Practice will also include the 'Transition' arrangements setting out how, who and over what time frame Hampshire County Council have to move existing statements of special educational needs and section 139a Move-On plans (learning difficulty assessments) in to the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) format.

Parents, carers, children and young people will continue to be at the heart of these changes through the Hampshire Parent Carer Network (HPCN). We are also working with a range of people, including schools, colleges, children’s and adult’s social care, the NHS, and the voluntary and community sector.


SEND Reforms Implementation Board

The multi-disciplinary advisory group has a changed purpose as the focus of activity moves to implementation of the SEND Reforms from 1 September 2014. This Board is now called the SEND Reforms Implementation Board.

The terms of reference have been revised to reflect the change of focus.


The SEND Pathfinder Change Board is an influential multi-agency mechanism to drive activity in a local area as part of the national Special Educational Needs and Disability Pathfinder programme.

The Local Change Board meets bi-monthly and reports, via the Hampshire Lead Officer (Fliss Dickinson, County Service Manager (SEN and Specialist Teacher Advisory Service), to the SE7 Pathfinder Regional Steering Group which also meets bi-monthly. This Steering Group is responsible for reporting the progress and outcomes of the Pathfinder programme regionally to the SE7 Directors of Children's Services and Leaders and to the Department of Education and Department of Health.

Delegated accountability for the programme of work within the Hampshire Pathfinder areas rests with the Deputy Director of Children’s Services (Children and Families), Steve Crocker, who is also the Chair of the Hampshire Change Board.  The Vice Chair is Sharon Smith, Chair of the Hampshire Parent/Carer Network. Accountability for local decisions within the programme rests with the Pathfinder Change Board. The Terms of Reference set out the remit and membership of the group.

Change Board Meeting Papers

How are parents and carers involved in influencing the Special Educational Needs (SEN) reforms and shaping implementation?

The Hampshire Parent/Carer Network (HPCN)

Parents are involved in all aspects of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) reform program in Hampshire, in a variety of capacities. Parent carer engagement has been co-ordinated and managed through the Hampshire Parent Carer Network (HPCN), who are part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF). HPCN is an independent organisation made up of volunteer parent carers who are keen to improve outcomes for children with additional needs and disabilities in Hampshire (0-25 years).

“The Hampshire Parent/Carer Network welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the Health Authority on this important agenda. By working together, we believe there is a real opportunity to shape services which will effectively meet the needs of disabled children and young people, and their future” - [Parent Voice and the Hampshire Parent/Carer Network]

HPCN has been involved with the SEN reforms since we first submitted a response on behalf of Hampshire parent carers to the Green Paper in 2011. We have had parent representatives involved with both Hampshire ‘pathfinder’ trials and SE7 Pathfinder regional work (see for more information). As we now enter into the implementation phase we continue to be involved and hope to shape the implementation of the Children & Families Act to ensure it meets the needs of families locally.

Parent representatives have been involved with all boards, groups and workstreams related to the SEN reforms in Hampshire, and continue to be involved as the date for implementation draws closer. HPCN supports parents by providing information, training, mentoring and central co-ordination of participation activities. We want to ensure that our representatives are fully informed and supported when attending meetings. A remuneration policy is also in place to ensure that parent carer contributions are recognised and all expenses are paid.

We try to ensure that our representatives do represent a wider view than their own, and will often seek views from a wider audience before attending meetings. We use surveys, emails out to members, and on occasion focus groups too. In addition to this, we also have a monthly open ‘parent participation’ meeting where we discuss the Pathfinder from a parental point of view and again, this allows us the opportunity to share information and ideas.

In April 2012, Hampshire Parent Carer Network (HPCN) and Parent Voice undertook a parental confidence survey to help inform the work taking place in Hampshire on the ‘pathfinder’ trials. 470 parents/carers responded. The results of the survey have been shared widely and are being used to inform current work and projects taking place.

In November, 2012 HPCN and Parent Voice submitted a joint response to the Education Select Committee who were scrutinising the draft Legislation. As a result of this, two parent reps were invited to the Select Committee hearing on 6 November to give verbal evidence on behalf of parents and carers. Our response is available online through the HPCN website.

HPCN have also responded to all consultations relating to the Draft Children & Families Bill and both the indicative and draft SEN Code of Practice. We attend meetings with the DfE and the Government’s appointed delivery partners (Mott Macdonald, Council for Disabled Children etc) to ensure that Hampshire parent carers’ concerns are fed directly into the decision makers.

We post updates on our Facebook page page about national developments and local activities taking place. 'Like' our page to be kept informed.

For further information, or to get involved with the Hampshire Parent/Carer Network:

Telephone: 01962 832580



All SE7 Pathfinder work has been co-produced with parents, the voluntary and community sector and a range of other people involved in the process like schools, Adult Services for Transition, Colleges, Health. This booklet  Download Adobe Reader to view this PDF 524kB is from parent carer representatives on what co-production means and has meant during the SE7 Pathfinder work.

What do we mean by co-production?  Download Adobe Reader to view this PDF 524kB

Parent Voice: Parent Journeys Research Findings

As part of the development of the Hampshire Local Offer, research has been undertaken following a suggestion by HPCN, and led by Parent Voice (with HPCN involvement), to understand how parents have been able to find information at different stages of their child’s development (eg diagnosis, starting school and transition), what works well and what information is particularly hard to find. The research also aims to understand the emotional impact information can have on a family and whether good quality, timely and accurate information can help. The findings can be found in a full report, or four page summary document.


Children and Families Bill

The Children and Families Act received Royal Assent 13 March 2014. There are seven key principles within the SEND Act:

  • Involvement of children and young people and parents/carers at the heart of the legislation
  • More co-ordinated assessment process: new 0-25 Education, Health and Care Plan
  • Education, Health and Care services to commission services jointly regarding SEN and disability (SEND)
  • Local Authorities to publish a clear, transparent Local Offer of services
  • New statutory protections for young people aged 16-25 years; stronger focus on preparing for adulthood
  • Offer of a personal budget for families and young people with a Plan and extending choice and control over their support
  • All SEND duties to apply equally to all schools including Academies and Free Schools.

The final Regulations and Code of Practice are due to be published 'Spring 2014'. These will provide the final details of what 'must' (statutory requirement) and 'should' (guidance, but not a statutory requirement) be provided with the local authority, schools and health services.

The DfE has produced:



A monthly 'Factsheet' of figures and progress for the Hampshire area pathfinder was reported to Mott MacDonald and the DfE. This includes test cohorts, numbers of families recruited, testing with completed EHC plans as shown within the attached factsheets. From March to September the Implementation Programme will be reviewing and evaluating the family trials of the EHCP in Hampshire, along with the final Code of Practice and Regulations to refine the requirements for go-live from September 2014 in Hampshire.