The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Evie Prysor-Jones

The New Send Framework: Legal Obligations and Practical Solutions

There was a very serious atmosphere at the SEND conference on Tuesday 11th November, with many people muttering in hushed voices and an obvious impatience to get started. The aim of the conference was to calm worries and answer questions that the new SEND Code of Practice 2014 has given rise to, so perhaps a stern mood was to be expected. As it was my second day with Optimus Education, as the new Content Lead with a focus on SEN and Safeguarding, I had a very similar aim and strode with determination into the entrance hall to learn all I could.

Complicated Code

Looking back at my notes, the fourth comment I made during the introductory speech from Christopher Robertson, lecturer in inclusive and special education at The University of Birmingham, was “Code changes - so much detail! Must find a way of making this simple!” Not that Christopher’s explanations were unnecessarily complicated, but the detail involved in the code changes is enough to confuse even the smartest of Sencos and certainly me. However, the introduction and keynote speeches from Christopher, Mark Blois, from Browne Jacobson, and Gareth Morewood, Director of Curriculum Support & Specialist Leader in Education, Priestnall School, whilst looking at the code from different angles, all agreed on the same key points:

‘Yes, things have changed, but don’t panic, they can be worked through’.

Particularly, Gareth pointedly reminded the audience that these changes are to be implemented FROM September 2014, so schools do have time to get their heads round what needs to be done, and none will roll if everything isn’t completed immediately.

Throughout the day the breakout sessions enabled attendees to discuss and better understand the following topics.
  • EHC Plans: Legal Update and EHC Plans: Practical Update
  • Partnership Working
  • Disputes
  • Transition
  • Equality Act
  • Personal Budgets: Legal Update and Personal Budgets: Practical Update
  • Preparation for Adulthood
  • Classroom Practice
  • Local Offer
  • Role of the Senco

What did I learn?

For me personally, the conference allowed me to fully grasp the scale and seriousness of the area of SEN and just how much there is to understand and implement. This has in no way dampened my determination to learn all I can and, if anything, has increased the importance for me of making sure all support possible is given to teachers and Sencos. For those of you who could not attend, the presentation slides for the keynote speeches are useful resources for understanding those key topics and what to explore more thoroughly. You can download them here:


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