Safeguarding Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
The Children Act 1989 provides the legislative framework for child protection in England for all children, including those with SEND. Key principles established by the Act include:
- the paramount nature of the child’s welfare
- the expectations and requirements around duties of care to children.
The specific legislation relating to the safeguarding of d/Deaf and disabled children in England is the Children and Families Act 2014. Part 3 establishes help for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including a single assessment process and personal budgets.
Under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, local authorities in England must also safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need. A child in need is a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or have the opportunity to achieve or maintain, a reasonable standard of health and development without any support provided by a public authority. This may include having a disability.
The Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011 embeds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Welsh law, including giving disabled children the right to protection, participation and service provision.
The government’s SEND Code Of Practice provides guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25, from 1 September 2014.
This statutory code contains:
- details of legal requirements that you must follow without exception
- statutory guidance that you must follow by law unless there’s a good reason not to
It explains the duties of local authorities, health bodies, schools and colleges to provide for those with special educational needs under part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
The code, which applies to England, is for:
- headteachers and principals
- governing bodies
- school and college staff
- special educational needs (SEN) coordinators
- early education providers
- local authorities
- health and social services staff
Mental Capacity Act (MCA)
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 has been in force since 2007 and applies to England and Wales. It applies to young people over the age of 16 and adults. The primary purpose of the MCA 2005 is to promote and safeguard decision-making within a legal framework. Everyone working with (or caring for) any young person from the age of 16 who may lack capacity must comply with the Act.
The MCA sets out 5 core principles: