Unusually, I am doing this first ‘SEN Update’ for the new academic year 2014/15 a few days before the start of the new term, rather than after as I usually do in the first week or so. This is because I know that many people need to know about changes to the SEN framework as quickly as possible.
In this update you will find sections entitled:
As I always say, I know how busy everyone is, so please feel free to read just the sections that are of interest to you or read everything; the choice is always yours.
However, if you are personally/professionally involved with children/young people with SEN/Disability, this time you should read this update in full (and share it with others as well), as it contains a lot of important information that you need to know.
(Don't forget that to ensure you never miss out on one you can get my updates personally by email by completing your details or by using our Social Media links below)
“I’VE JUST MADE YOUR LIFE EASIER!”
(SEN CODE OF PRACTICE)
So it’s finally here after we have been waiting so long!
We are now entering a new era for special educational needs, as Part 3 of the Children & Families Act 2014 (and associated regulations), together with a new SEN Code of Practice, comes into force from Monday 1 September 2014.
It has been called ‘the biggest shake-up to SEN for 30 years’ and makes some fundamental changes to the SEN framework, for example:
There are also other things that are new such as ‘Local Offers’, ‘Personal Budgets’, etc. Most importantly, it calls for children and (for the first time) young people with SEN or disability and their parents/families, to be put at the heart of the process.
“So what do I need to know or do?” many of you are probably thinking...
Well, if you know me or have read my updates previously, you should have realised by now that I have always tried to help people.
So, I have tried to make people’s lives easier again by writing an eBook over the summer entitled ‘A Guide To The SEN Code of Practice’ that you can download now and read immediately.
I have published it as an eBook only as it contains links throughout it to all the relevant legislation, regulations and guidance that you will need. It even includes a copy of the full SEN Code of Practice, Part 3 of the Children & Families Act 2014, the SEND Regulations 2014 and the Transitional guidance, as well as a list of all Local Authorities with links to their ‘Local Offer’.
As an eBook, it can also be easily carried around on a mobile device (such as an eBook reader/Tablet/Smartphone) and then be used to make searchable highlights/notes/bookmarks on.
It should become an invaluable resource for anyone involved with children/young people with SEN/Disability, such as:
In fact, most people don’t realise that there are also reading Apps for both the PC/Mac as well as for other mobile devices, such as phones/tablets. This means that you can buy one copy of the guide for one device, but then have it on your computer to make annotations on and all your notes/highlights/bookmarks will be available to you immediately on your mobile device (provided it is synced) and vice-versa.
How good is that!
But don’t worry, I know that not everyone will know how to use the technology in this guide to its full potential at first, so I have also produced it as a PDF document which you can either use on screen (all the linking still works) or simply print out as a hard copy to use traditionally.
And, if you do print it out, it will then save you from having to print out a copy of the Code of Practice, Part 3 of the Children & Families Act, the SEND Regulations and the Transitional guidance themselves, as this guide contains all of these things and everything that you will need!
The Guide is easy to get hold off by going to www.AGuideToTheSENCodeOfPractice.co.uk where you can buy it once directly and then download all versions for all devices, which includes the free PDF version (I have also offered bulk discounts to people buying directly and made it easy to ‘gift it’ to a relative or friend who you think may need it).
You will also be able to purchase it soon on the Amazon Kindle, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo and Google Play online bookstores (I’m afraid that you may need to wait a week or so if you want to buy it this way as some stores take a while to ‘approve’ things, so you are probably best to buy it directly, especially as you will also get other things thrown in, like the PDF version, for free.)
I truly hope that by writing this guide, I have helped more people. As one person put it to me whilst I was writing the guide “this is the guide that the Government should have written, but didn’t!”
‘TURNING THEORY INTO PRACTICE’
This leads me nicely onto this next section.
I am conscious that people also need to know about what they should do practically. Therefore, I am going to be providing dedicated training days entitled ‘Turning Theory Into Practice’ (CPD accredited for all professionals) from Autumn 2014. I am already booked to do this for a number of different organisations (e.g. Schools, Colleges, Local Authorities, Parent Carer Forums, Mediators, etc.)
There will be three main sessions entitled:
which will cover things like:
and my favourite:
(There is also a fourth session at the end of each day for questions & answers where people can ask me anything that is on their minds).
I am additionally providing the same training for individuals at my offices (for a maximum of 15 delegates per day) which are aimed at:
I am afraid that I have already been asked to go around the country this Autumn to a number of organisations and a number of individuals have already signed up to come on my courses so, if this is something that you wish to arrange for your organisation or to attend yourself, then please call my offices as soon as possible to book something/your place on 020 8349 7700 or email me directly.
You can download a flyer by clicking on the picture above.
I’VE HAD A BUSY SUMMER
I guess that you would think that writing a guide and a training course, would be enough for me to do over the summer!
But in addition, I have created a new page called 'LAs/'Local Offers' (which is under ‘Schools/Local Authorities’) which now lists all the local authorities in England/Wales with links to their websites and ’Local Offers’ and have also taken the opportunity to extensively update the ‘SEN/Education Info’ section with information about new terminology that we now need to use/understand.
You will see that these pages now also include helpful links to other websites or organisations that can provide further assistance (if you work for an organisation which you feel should be there but is not, then please email me directly to let me know).
I hope that this is also helpful.
UPCOMING SEN EVENTS
In terms of SEN events coming up in the next few months, the only things that I have noticed are the TES SEN Show on 10/11 October 2014 in London and the Optimus conference entitled ‘The New SEND Framework: Legal Obligations and Practical Solutions’ (which is aimed at SENCOs) on 11 November 2014, also in London.
“AND THEY SAY THAT LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES THE SAME PLACE TWICE!”
As usual, I like to end my update to share something more personal and like to use it also as an opportunity to share my good news.
If you have read my updates during the past few years, you may recall that in 2011 I was shortlisted by the Law Society for its prestigious ‘Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice)’ Award at its annual Excellence Awards. I didn’t win!
Since then I have received a few awards both professionally, including the first ‘Outstanding Achievement’ Award at the Modern Law Awards and also personally, such as being named an ‘Unsung Hero’ by the charity ‘Jewish Care’ in 2012.
I am delighted now to be able to tell you that I found out a few weeks ago that I have been shortlisted again, for the second time in four years, by the Law Society for its ‘Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice)’ Award, which will be announced in October 2014.
And they say that lightening never strikes the same place twice!
With good wishes
by Douglas Silas, specialist SEN Solicitor