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Roles and responsibilities - pupils with SEND

This article explains more about the roles of settings (early years, education and skills) and the different responsible bodies (governors and Local Authorities) who have a duty to ensure the needs of pupils identified as having special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEN/D) are met.

Parents /carers and young people need to feel confident that settings have appropriate processes in place that offer a flexible range of support and provision to meet the additional identified need of each individual pupil or student.

Parents/carers, pupils and students want and should be listened to and treated with respect and their views and wishes taken into account.

Where advice from outside agencies or professionals is required, parents and young people want to be fully involved and confident that settings are able to refer to and use the advice provided. 

Each local authority is required to publish arrangements stating how the needs of children and young people with SEN/D are met.

Maintained settings (those funded by the local authority) receive funding from within their notional and delegated budgets. This allows settings to make support arrangements using existing staffing or to seek external professional advice and support to make provision for children/young people with SEN/D.

Where a child/young person has SEN/D, the responsible body is required to fulfil the following statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014:

Page last updated 27/04/17

Settings and Governors, Proprietors or Management Committees

Settings and Governors, Proprietors or Management Committees must ensure:

• That to the best of their endeavours, the necessary provision is made for any pupil/student who has SEN.

• That where the headteacher or a nominated governor has been informed by a Local Authority that a pupil has SEN, those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach or support that pupil.

• That teachers are aware of the importance of identifying and providing for pupils who have SEN.

• That a pupil with SEN and/or a disability joins in the activities of the school together with other pupils, so far as is reasonably practical and compatible with the child receiving the special educational provision their learning needs call for, the efficient education of the pupils with whom they are educated and the efficient use of resources.

• That they report to parents on the implementation of the school's policy for pupils with SEN.

• That they, have due regard to the statutory guidance within the current SEN Code of Practice when carrying out its duties toward all pupils with SEN.

• The school must ensure that parents are notified of a decision by the school that SEN provision is being made for their child.

Under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015, , the local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs and prepare an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person through an EHC Plan.

This is likely to be where the special educational provision required to meet the child or young person’s needs cannot be reasonably provided from resources available within mainstream early years providers, schools or post 16 institutions.

The Education, Health and Care needs assessment should not be the first step in the process but should follow on from planning and provision already undertaken with parents and young people at an early stage with early years providers, schools, post 16 providers and other providers such as the health authority and social care services.

Respective Responsibilities of the LA, Settings, Governing Bodies and Proprietor or Management Committees

Respective Responsibilities of the LA, Settings, Governing Bodies and Proprietor or Management Committees:

It is the responsibility of all settings to provide for pupils/students with SEN/D from within their own resources including core and delegated budgets.

It is not expected that these resources will usually be delivered on a 1:1 basis with an individual pupil/student but rather there will be effective and flexible use of resources.

Decisions on how best to support children/young people will always take into account the context within which the child/young person is educated.

School's resposibilities...

Schools must:

• Publish a School SEN Information report

•  Identify children with SEN and ensure provision is made in accordance with the SEN/D Code of Practice(2015)

•  Appoint a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)

•  Invest in whole school and targeted training for staff

•  Ensure inclusive teaching and support practice is embedded throughout the school and that all teachers understand that they are ‘Teachers of SEN’

• Provide information on school arrangements for SEN to parents and governors

•  Consider pre-emptive arrangements for pupils present and future with a disability

Responsibilities for school governing bodies...

Governors must:

• Appoint an SEN Governor to have oversight of the arrangements for SEN

• Know how many pupils in the school have SEN

• Know how much money the school gets for SEN and ensure an appropriate budget arrangement is in place to discharge its duties to arrange provision for pupils with SEN and/or disabilities

• Review and approve the SEN policy and any other relevant policies

• Monitor the expenditure on SEN

• Monitor the progress of SEN and ensure that the provisions specified in statements of SEN or Education, Health and Care plans are made

• Ensure that SEN provision is integrated into the school improvement plan

• Publish on a school website the school SEN policy and The SEN Information Report which provides a description of the arrangements and specialist provisions made for children with SEN

Responsibilities for Local Authorities...

The Local Authority must:

  • Ensure a sufficiency of provision for pupils with SEN and review it annually
  • Make arrangements for the Education, Health and Care Needs assessments of pupils/students and maintain and review Statements of SEN and EHC Plans
  • Publish information on SEN funding and provision
  • Monitor the progress of children with SEN
  • Provide a statutory information, advice and support (IAS) service to parents of pupils/students with SEN/D (Hackney’s IAS service - SENDIAGS)
  • Provide an Mediation Service to parents of pupils/students with SEN/D (Hackney’s mediation service - KIDS)


If a parent/carer or young person feels that the responsible body (a setting, governors, proprietor or management committee or a local authority) has failed in it’s duty to make provisions,


if the parent/carer or young person disagrees with a decision or considers that there is discriminatory practice they can escalate their concern/s through the following processes:

• The setting or local authority complaints procedure

• An appeal to Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Service (SENDIST)

• A claim against the responsible body (Chair of Governors, proprietor or management committee or local authority) for disability discrimination to the SENDIST

• A complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman against both the setting and the local authority 

Further related information…

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