The new SEN regime for children and young persons in detention

September 8th, 2015

The SEN reforms which came into force on 1 September 2014 are well-known.  However, this regime does not apply to anyone who is detained in the criminal justice system.  Instead, parallel but separate provision is made for “detained persons”, i.e. those aged 18 or under (but not those aged 19-25) who are subject to a detention order and detained in relevant youth accommodation.

That regime, which came into force on 1 April 2015, is set out in sections 70-75 of the Children and Families Act 2014, the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Detained Persons) Regulations 2015 and the revised version of the Code of Practice.

The importance of these new provisions is clear.  The Explanatory Memorandum to the 2015 Regulations refers to 2010 research which showed that 18% of detained persons had a statement of special educational needs (compared to approximately 3% of under-19s overall) and over 60% had speech, language and communication needs.

The Explanatory Memorandum also acknowledged that these needs have frequently gone unmet due to the lack of awareness and lack of clearly defined responsibilities, and the stated aim is to provide a new approach to remedy this.

However, the way the relevant provisions are spread over the Act, the regulations and the Code of Practice does not always make it easy to understand them.  To try and help with this I have drafted a note which attempts to summarise this new regime.  It can be viewed or downloaded here.

I hope the note is of use and interest and would welcome any comments or feedback.

Paul Greatorex

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