Children and Families Bill 2013 - House of Lords Committee Stage

Briefing One - Parental leave

The Commission has examined the below parts of the Family and Children’s Bill in light of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Part 6: Statutory rights to leave and pay
Part 7: Time off work: ante-natal care etc
Part 8: Right to request flexible working


The Commission’ analysis concludes that the changes are in accordance with the above Acts but makes several recommendations to bring it further in line with the legislation.

For a more detailed analysis please see out full briefing.

Download the briefing (Word)

Briefing Two - Special Educational Needs

Part 3 of the Children and Families Bill 2012-13 (the Bill) introduces provisions to:

  • reform the statutory framework for identifying children and young people with special educational needs, assessing their needs and making provision for them;
  • require local authorities to keep local provision under review, to co-operate with their partners to plan and commission provision and publish clear information on services available;
  • replace statements of special educational need with new Education, Health and Care Plans;
  • set out in regulations the detailed requirements of particular provisions; and
  • develop a new statutory Code of Practice to provide guidance on the new framework for special educational needs, which requires the approval of Parliament.


The Commission’s analysis is that the following aims of this Bill are in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, the Human Rights Act 1998 and UNCRPD:

  • the overall aims of the Children and Families Bill to reform Special Educational Needs (SEN);
  • the intention to place children, young people and families at the centre of decision making, enable them to participate in a fully informed way, and with a focus on achieving the best possible outcomes.

However, the Bill proposals, as currently formulated, may lead to regression from the provisions already in place for pupils with SEN and disabilities. Under the Bill, statements of SEN are to be replaced by new Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans. More clarity is needed on the face of the Bill and in the Code about how the support needs of disabled pupils without an EHC plan, who currently receive support under School Action or School Action Plus, are to be met.

Recommendations and proposed amendments

It  is important to ensure that the new special educational provisions and the Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustments duties work together effectively to deliver the aims of the legislation in improving education outcomes for disabled young people. Regressing from the current level of support will very likely affect educational outcomes of disabled pupils. For this reason the Commission is recommending that the Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustment duties are stated on the face of the Bill, to make sure schools and FE institutions understand the obligations placed upon them by the Equality Act. We are also recommending that the Code of Practice includes the duties placed on schools by the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments.

To this end, the Commission suggests consideration is given to the amendments suggested in our briefing (link below) during the Committee Stage of the Bill in the House of Lords.

For a more detailed analysis please see our full briefing.

Download the briefing (Word)

Last updated: 05 May 2016