Birmingham City Council

SEN Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for special educational needs

The Government issued a new Code of Practice on 1 January 2002. It gives practical guidance to Local Authorities and schools on their duties in special education.

Those with statutory responsibilities under the Education Act "must have regard to" the Code of Practice.

The Code sets out guidance on policies and procedures aimed at enabling pupils with special educational needs to:

  • reach their full potential;

  • be fully included in their school communities;and

  • make a successful transition to adulthood.

The Code explains the way that local authorities are to operate policies and procedures, in line with the legislation covering special educational needs. There is a clear commitment to:

  • the right of children with special educational needs to be educated at a mainstream school;

  • arranging for parents to be provided with advice and information, and a means of resolving disputes; and

  • ensure that schools and nursery education providers inform parents of any special educational provision.

The involvement of parents, pupils and voluntary agencies is seen as essential to the identification of, assessment of, and provision for, children with special educational needs.

The Code of Practice gives guidance to those involved in special education, but it does not tell them what to do in every case. Professional staff involved in assessment and provision are expected to use their judgement as to how best to support children with special educational needs.

In addition, the Guide for Parents and Carers may be particularly helpful.