Southwark Parent Carers Council
speaking up for families with disabled children

SEND Reforms

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Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) Reforms

The Children and Families Act became law in March 2014 and is changing the way in which children and young people with disabilities will receive services. All local authorities had to start implementing these changes in September 2014.

We, as parent carer members of Southwark Parent Carer Council (PCC), have been involved in the changes by attending events and taking part in parent carer consultations by the Department for Education and Southwark Council.

We have also attended Pathfinder Council events to learn the best practice in other boroughs. Around 12 parent carers have also been parent reps on workstreams run by Southwark Council on how best to implement the new SEND reforms.

We continue to work with Southwark Council - both education and social services departments - on the SEND reforms and other issues. 

Please also check our News and Events pages for latest developments and events.

Read our latest newsletters - Parents' Voices, which have more information on the recent SEND reforms.

Click here to see Southwark Council's Local Offer website - this has just been launched and we're hoping to see a lot of improvements and more information on there in the future - please send any comments to the email address supplied there, as Southwark Council must develop the Local Offer in response to parents/carers and children/young people's views.

Click here for Southwark Council's new SEND Reform section on its website.

What are the SEND Reforms?

The SEND reforms are meant to bring a more family-friendly approach for our children and young people, and which should join up support across Education, Health and Care for those with disabilities from age 0 to 25 years. The reforms also put families at the centre of decision-making. Co-production is the word being used for a new person-centred approach of families and service providers 'working together'. The aspirations and outcomes of the child and young person are paramount.

The main changes are:

  • Statements of SEN are being replaced by Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and will available up to the age of 25.
  • The local authority must publish and provide a 'Local Offer' of all services for children and young people with disabilities.
  • Service providers and schools must also publish their 'SEN Information'.
  • Some families are entitled to a Personal Budget, which can be a combined social care, education, and health budget, and will also have more control over how the budget is spent.
  • Personalisation is about making EHC plans and any support plan focus on outcomes and aspirations of the child or young person. It should bring a positive, family-centred approach, and give families more control over decisions about their families.

We would really appreciate any parent/carer comments about their experience of the SEND reforms and changes to the way they are receiving services - good/bad. If you have received an EHC Plan and would like to give feedback on how you found the process, please email us at: info@southwarkpcc.org.uk

Read more about what the Local Offer is on the Council for Disabled Children website

Parents' say in the SEND Reforms: How has the PCC got involved?

Parent carer members of the PCC, as well as other parents, have been having their say on the new services.

There are around 12 parent carers who have attended Southwark Council's workstreams and Programme Board on the SEND reforms. The workstreams were:

  • Developing the Local Offer: with existing and new service providers and making it ready for those with Personal Budgets.
  • The Integrated Pathway: ensuring continuity of planning and support around services, with particular focus on children and young adults with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and a Learning Disability.
  • The new assessment process of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
  • Personalisation and Personal Budgets
  • Preparation for Adulthood (this workstream is ongoing)

The PCC has also held information events and attended parent carer consultations led by Southwark Council. You can have your say on the reforms at any upcoming parent carer consultations - check our Events pages.

You can also fill in Southwark Council's online survey: clink on the link to complete the survey on SEND Reforms parents' views. It is a short survey and will not take very long to complete, mainly tick boxes. https://forms.southwark.gov.uk/ShowForm.asp?fm_fid=1078

Useful Website Links about the SEND Reforms:

There is a huge amount of information on the SEND reforms.

Southwark Council's Local Offer is in development to list all services in the borough - Local Offer website

Southwark Council has a new area on its website for the SEND reforms southwark.gov.uk

Irwen Mitchell Solicitors has teamed up with deafblind charity Sense and Steve Broach, a barrister at Monckton Chambers, and have prepared a series of useful and supportive factsheets and template letters on Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. www.irwinmitchell.com

Some local authorities have been implementing the reforms 2 years earlier as 'pathfinder' councils and they have been reporting back on what they have learnt in the process so far. There is a lot of useful information on their website:
SEND Pathfinders:
www.sendpathfinders. co.uk
Some local authorities are 'Pathfinder Champions' work and you can find out more at: www.sendpathfinder.co.uk/pathfinderchampions



Preparing for Adulthood - www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk - this site has lots of useful information about the SEND reforms. They publish useful factsheets

Children and Families Act: The official information about the Children and Families Act and SEND Reforms can be read at the website of the Department for Education’s www.education.gov.uk/dfe/b00221161/children-families-bill

The SEND Code of Practice - the legal framework for the Children and Families Act can also be read here on the Department for Education's website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

Also on the Department for Education's website is a new SEND Guide for Parents and Carers - read the document here.

A letter from Edward Timpson MP from the Department for Education to parents and carers on the SEND reforms changes from 1 September 2014.

Also the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 can be read at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1530/contents/made


A number of organisations have been involved in the SEND reforms and/or campaigning for the rights of children and young people with disabilities. Many of these organisations have useful information on their websites on the SEND reforms, especially from our point of view!:

Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) is the national campaign fighting for rights and justice for disabled children: www.edcm.org.uk

Council for Disabled Children (CDC) - has been involved in the SEND reforms: www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk

SENDirect will be a national online service, that will provide tailored support for children with special educational needs and disabilities. SENDirect will allow parents to search for local services on behalf of their child. www.sendirect.org.uk

Ipsea (Independent Parental Special Education Advice)- www.ipsea.org.uk
IPSEA provides a general Advice Line (giving support with requesting statutory assessment, statements, Education, Health and Care plans, disability discrimination, transport and exclusion). It also provides a Tribunal Helpline (giving next step advice on SEN appeals and disability discrimination claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal).

Mencap (campaigns for people with learning disabilities) - www.mencap.org.uk

Contact a Family - www.cafamily.org.uk


National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) - www.nnpcf.org.uk
Contact a Family and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums publish regular updates with relation to parent carer participation:
www.cafamily.org.uk/what-we-do/parent-carer-participation/
Contact a Family, the National Network or Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) and South East Seven pathfinder made a video about 'co-production': service providers and families working together - watch the video here.

Southwark's SEND Information And Advice Service (IAS) has replaced Southwark Parent Partnership and is working with Southwark Council on the SEND Reforms. www.southwarkparentpartnership.co.uk

An excellent blog to follow is Steve Broach, solicitor specialising in SEN law: http://rightsinreality.wordpress.com - and also follow him on Twitter.

  • Keep looking on our website here - and you can also follow us - SouthwarkPCC on Twitter to keep up-to-date on developments.
  • Or sign up to receive our emails.