The rights of children with SEND and their families

Some families find it useful to familiarise themselves with the law about special educational needs and the rights of children, young people and their families.

Equality Act 2010

Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010 states that a child or young person with a learning disability must not be discriminated against.  In education, there are also further rights that children and young people with a learning disability have. Namely:

  • the right to have ‘reasonable adjustments’ made to ensure that they are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers
  • the right to have discrimination eliminated, equality of opportunity promoted and good relations fostered between themselves and children and young people without a disability. This should be enabled by, for example, a school or college.

Children and Families Act 2014

Section 19 of the Children and Families Act states that a local authority in England must take into account the views, wishes and feelings of children, young people and families.  They must allow them to participate as fully as possible when decisions are being made.  They must also support them to enable this participation and provide them with information.

Section 22 of the Children and Families Act 2014 states every local authority must identify all children and young people in its area who have or may have special educational needs or disabilities.

SEND Code of Practice

The SEND Code of Practice is an important document for children and young people with SEND and their families.  The SEND Code of Practice is the document that professionals must refer to.

It explains what support you can expect your child to receive, and who is accountable for delivering it.  Any child or young person with special educational needs and/or a learning disability has a right to receive special educational provision.  Special education provision is “educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for others of the same age.”  They may also receive some health care provision and social care provision to help them with their learning and development.

Read more

The Department for Education have published a guide for parents and carers on the SEND Code of Practice.

Next step

For a useful next step, read the ‘Right support at the right time.’