Special educational needs (SEN) reforms in England
- Summary guide to SEN reforms
- FAQ about the SEN reforms
- Statements and Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans
- Local Offer
- Personal Budgets
- Equality Act and education
- Special educational needs (SEN) support
- Frequently asked questions in BSL
- Information for deaf young people
- SEN reform in Wales and Northern Ireland and support in Scotland
- Resources for professionals
Significant changes to how support for children and young people with
special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities is provided in England
started to come into force on 1 September 2014.
Reforms are also taking place in Wales and Northern Ireland to a different timescale. Please contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline (0808 800 8880 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like more information about proposals in these nations.
This page provides links to resources available to you to help you understand how the reforms will affect deaf children and young people.
All children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress so that they: achieve their best; become confident individuals living fulfilling lives, and make a successful transition into adulthood
Summary guide to SEN reforms
Our booklet provides a summary of the key changes.
FAQ about the SEN reforms
Our Frequently Asked Questions resource aims to answer the most common questions we receive about the reforms and what they mean for you and your child.
Statements and Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans
SEN statements will be phased out and replaced by Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Our website has more information about statements, EHC plans, the statutory assessment process and what you can do if you're not happy.
The law now means that all local authorities in England must produce a ‘Local Offer’. This is intended to bring together in one place information about education, health and social care services for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Your local authority must ensure
you can feedback on their Local Offer. If there is information missing or if
the ‘offer’ isn’t good enough, they must
consider your feedback and think about how to improve their offer.
Download our Local Offer factsheet to find out more:
Local Offers and Special Educational Needs (SEN) (591 kb)
Find the Local Offer for where you live using our easy-to-use table:
Local Offer spreadsheet for parents (31 kb)
A report by the I-Sign project considers how you can use the Local Offer to find information on sign language support.
Families of children with EHC plans will now have the option of requesting a Personal Budget.
Equality Act and education
One thing that isn't changing are the rights that deaf children have under the Equality Act 2010. Our factsheet explains how you can use these rights to make sure that your child gets the support they need.
Special educational needs (SEN) support
Where deaf children in England need extra support in a nursery, school, college or another education setting because of their deafness, they may be described as needing ‘Special educational needs (SEN) support’. If this applies to your child, the education setting must take a number of steps to make sure the needs of your child are being met. Our factsheet explains what this means in practice and the rights that it gives your child.
Please note, the term ‘SEN support’ replaces what used to be known as ‘School Action’ and ‘School Action Plus’ in schools in England.
Frequently asked questions in BSL
Information for deaf young people
Our website, the Buzz, for deaf young people provides a summary of the changes for deaf young people.
SEN reform in Wales and Northern Ireland and support in Scotland
Changes will also be taking place in Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Find out more about SEN reform in Wales >
- Find out more about SEN reform in Northern Ireland >
- Scotland already has a different system of support, called Additional Support for Learning. Download: A guide to additional support for learning (Scotland) (78 kb)
Resources for professionals
We've produced a range of resources for professionals to make sure that deaf children and young people benefit from these changes. Please share our resources with any professionals working with your child.
"I think the EHC plans have the potential to provide a better assessment of a child with significant sensory impairment or other needs, but that it will take longer for professionals to make that assessment and support parents to get the best from this new system" Parent of a deaf child