Education Act 1981

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1981 c. 60


Education Act 1981

1981 CHAPTER 60

An Act to make provision with respect to children with special educational needs.

[30th October 1981]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Preliminary

Preliminary

S-1 Meaning of ‘special educational needs’ and ‘special educational provision’.

1 Meaning of ‘special educational needs’ and ‘special educational provision’.

(1) For the purposes of this Act a child has ‘special educational needs’ if he has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him.

(2) Subject to subsection (4) below, a child has a ‘learning difficulty’ if—

( a ) he has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of his age; or

( b ) he has a disability which either prevents or hinders him from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided in schools, within the area of the local authority concerned, for children of his age; or

( c ) he is under the age of five years and is, or would be if special educational provision were not made for him, likely to fall within paragraph ( a ) or ( b ) when over that age.

(3) ‘Special educational provision’ means—

( a ) in relation to a child who has attained the age of two years, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of his age in schools maintained by the local education authority concerned; and

( b ) in relation to any child under that age, educational provision of any kind.

(4) A child is not to be taken as having a learning difficulty solely because the language (or form of the language) in which he is, or will be, taught is different from a language (or form of a language) which has at any time been spoken in his home.

Provision of special education

Provision of special education

S-2 Provision of special education: duties of local education authorities etc.

2 Provision of special education: duties of local education authorities etc.

(1) In section 8(2) of the principal Act (which requires local education authorities to have regard to certain matters in fulfilling their duty to secure provision of primary and secondary schools) for paragraph ( c ) there is substituted the following paragraph—

‘( c ) to the need for securing that special educational provision is made for pupils who have special educational needs; and’.

(2) Where a local education authority arrange special educational provision for a child for whom they maintain a statement under section 7 of this Act it shall be the duty of the authority, if the conditions mentioned in subsection (3) below are satisfied, to secure that he is educated in an ordinary school.

(3) The conditions are that account has been taken, in accordance with section 7, of the views of the child's parent and that educating the child in an ordinary school is compatible with—

( a ) his receiving the special educational provision that he requires;

( b ) the provision of efficient education for the children with whom he will be educated; and

( c ) the efficient use of resources.

(4) It shall be the duty of every local education authority to keep under review the arrangements made by them for special educational provision.

(5) It shall be the duty of the governors, in the case of a county or voluntary school, and of the local education authority by whom the school is maintained, in the case of a maintained nursery school—

( a ) to use their best endeavours, in exercising their functions in relation to the school, to secure that if any registered pupil has special educational needs the special educational provision that is required for him is made;

( b ) to secure that, where the responsible person has been informed by the local education authority that a registered pupil has special educational needs, those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach him; and

( c ) to secure that the teachers in the school are aware of the importance of identifying, and providing for, those registered pupils who have special educational needs.

(6) In subsection (5)( b ) above ‘responsible person’ means—

( a ) in the case of a county or voluntary school, the head teacher or the appropriate governor (that is to say the chairman of the governors or, where the governors have designated another governor for the purposes of this paragraph, that other governor); and

( b ) in the case of a nursery school, the head teacher.

(7) Where a child who has special educational needs is being educated in an ordinary school maintained by a local education authority it shall be the duty of those concerned with making special educational provision for that child to secure, so far as is both compatible with the objectives mentioned in paragraphs ( a ) to ( c ) of subsection (3) above and reasonably practicable, that the child engages in the activities of the school together with children who do not have special educational needs.

S-3 Provision of special education otherwise than in schools.

3 Provision of special education otherwise than in schools.

If, in relation to any child in their area who has special educational needs, a local education authority are satisfied that it would be inappropriate for the special educational provision required for that child, or for any part of that provision, to be made in a school, they may after consulting the child's parent arrange for it or, as the case may be, for that part of it, to be made otherwise than in a school.

Identification and assessment of children with special educational needs

Identification and assessment of children with special educational needs

S-4 General duty of local education authority towards children for whom they are responsible.

4 General duty of local education authority towards children for whom they are responsible.

(1) It shall be the duty of every local education authority to exercise their powers under this Act with a view to securing that, of the children for whom they are responsible, those with special educational needs which call for the local education authority to determine the special educational provision that should be made for them are identified by the authority.

(2) For the purposes of this Act a local education authority are responsible for a child if he is in their area and—

( a ) he is registered as a pupil at a school maintained by them or is registered as a pupil in pursuance of arrangements made by them by virtue of section 6 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953 at a school which is not maintained by them or another local education authority; or

( b ) he has been brought to their attention as having, or as probably having, special educational needs and—

(i)is registered as a pupil at a school but does not fall within paragraph (a ) above; or

(ii) is not registered as a pupil at a school and is not under the age of two years or over compulsory school age.

S-5 Assessment of special educational needs.

5 Assessment of special educational needs.

(1) Where, in the case of a child for whom a local education authority are responsible, the authority are of the opinion—

( a ) that he has special educational needs which call for the authority to determine the special educational provision that should be made for him; or

( b ) that he probably has such special educational needs;

they shall make an assessment of his educational needs under this section.

(2) Assessments under this section shall be made in accordance with the following provisions of this Act.

(3) If a local education authority propose to make an assessment of the educational needs of a child under this section they shall, before doing so, serve notice on the child's parent informing him—

( a ) that they propose to make an assessment;

( b ) of the procedure to be followed in making it;

( c ) of the name of the officer of the authority from whom further information may be obtained; and

( d ) of his right to make representations, and submit written evidence, to the authority within such period (which shall not be less than 29 days beginning with the date on which the notice is served) as may be specified in the notice.

(4) When a local education authority have served a notice under subsection (3) above and the period specified in the notice in accordance with paragraph ( d ) has expired, the authority shall, if they consider it appropriate after taking into account any representations made and any evidence submitted to them in response to the notice, assess the educational needs of the child concerned.

(5) Where a local education authority decide to make an assessment under this section they shall notify the child's parent in writing of their decision and of their reasons for making it.

(6) If, after making an assessment of the educational needs of a child under this section, the local education authority decide that they are not required to determine the special educational provision that should be made for him the parent may appeal in writing to the Secretary of State.

(7) In a case falling within subsection (6) above the local education authority shall notify the parent in writing of his right of appeal under that subsection.

(8) On an...

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