The Children and Families Act received Royal Assent in March 2014. The outcomes of the Act are a combination of the views of parents, carers and professionals about the current SEND system over the last few years. 

The reforms will see a system introduced which is designed around the needs of children and young people up to the age of 25.

The Act specifically makes changes to the law concerning:

  • Adoption
  • Family Justice
  • Children and Young People in England with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities
  • Childcare
  • Welfare of Children
  • Children's Commissioner
  • Statutory Right to Leave and Pay
  • Time off Work; ante-natal
  • Right to Request Flexible Working

Chapter three of the Act, Children and Young People in England with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, takes forward the reform programme set out in ‘Support and Aspirations: A New Approach to Special Educational and Disabilities: Next Steps’ including by:

  • Replacing SEN statements with a single coordinated birth-to-25 Educational, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.
  • Improving cooperation between all the services that support individuals and their families, particularly requiring local authorities, educational providers and health authorities to work collaboratively.
  • The introduction of the ‘local offer’, including centralised information, advice and guidance.

Young people will now be able to request a placement at a specialist college in their Educational, Health and Care Plans.


The Children and Families Act (2014) is the first stage in a series of reforms which will improve the quality of provision, coordinated services and person centred planning. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice will be released later this year, along with the revised Care Act (2014).

Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, has also released a letter directed at parents outlining these changes which can be accessed here.

The full Children and Families Act 2014 can also be accessed here