Our legal duty to support children with additional needs

Local authorities (“LAs”) have legal duties to identify and assess the special educational needs and disabilites (“SEND”) of children and young people for whom they are responsible. LAs become responsible for a child or young person in their area when they become aware that the child or young person has or may have SEND.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, the LA must always think about how the child or young person can be supported to facilitate their development and to help them achieve the “best possible educational and other outcomes”.

If a child or young person needs, or may need, more support than their school or other setting can give them, then the LA must carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. This assessment may lead to an Education, Health and Care plan (“EHC plan”) being produced for them. An EHC plan will set out the additional support the child or young person needs and the school or other institution they will go to.

Once special educational provision has been specified in an EHC plan, the LA has a legal duty to provide it. This cannot be overruled by the LA’s SEND funding policy or other internal funding arrangements.

Making a complaint

If you feel  that The London Borough of Sutton is not complying with its legal duties, there are a number of ways in which you can challenge this. Please follow the link to IPSEA for more information.

See IPSEA's FAQs on how local authorities should help.