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A revision to the Special educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice was published at the end of January.

February 2015

There are changes to the Code around support for young offenders, and these will come into practice on 1st April 2015. Key pieces of information relating to the changes are:

  • An amendment to ensure that children and young people with SEND in custody have the same rights as those out of custody. The addition states that local authorities must make sure they are supporting children and young people’s development to “help them to achieve their best educational and other outcomes” regardless of if they are in custody or not.

This means that

  • young people with education, health and care(EHC) plans will still have them when they are in custody, and the right special education and health provision for the child or young person must be arranged while they are detained. So, not only will the EHC plan still exist but services that are described in it must still be provided.
  • there is the same type of support for children and young people with SEND both while they are detained and when in the community.
  • children and young people can request, be assessed for and receive an EHC plan whilst they are detained. This process can be started and finished whilst they are in custody, or can start there if the child or young person is due to be released before the assessment process would be finished.

A copy of the Code of Practice can be downloaded from here

A briefing about the SEND reforms for children and young people in custody has been written by the Council for Disabled Children. It can be downloaded from here

In November 2014, The Communication Trust hosted a round table event with key stakeholders from across the youth justice and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) sectors. During the event there was a discussion about the current policy and practice landscape and people who attended made recommendations about practical things they could do to make things better for children and young people with SLCN in the youth justice system. The Communication Trust used this information to give evidence about the SEND Code of Practice changes.

‘Doing justice to speech language and communication needs’ brings together the key messages and recommendations from this event The report is available as a free download on The Communication Trust website here.