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What is a "Local Offer" and why do we need one?

What is a "Local Offer" and why do we need one?

Local Offer is the term that the Department for Education (DfE) have chosen to describe the collection of information about the support that local authorities must make available to help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. The purpose of the local offer is to enable parents, carers, children and young people with SEND to see clearly, from a single and regularly updated source, the services available to local families and how to access them. The offer covers services from birth to 25, across education, health and social care. It describes state-funded, charitable and private services, and includes services outside the local area (e.g. schools) which are used by local families. Put simply, information on "Local" services and support on "Offer" is gathered together and made easy to find in a "Local Offer”.

The Local Offer is part of several key changes introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014.

You may find the following guides useful:

Young Person’s Guide to the Children and Families Act

​​Special Educational Needs and Disability: A guide for parents and carers

Changes to educational needs and disability support – easy read guide for parents ​

The Local Offer includes information about:

  • education services from pre-school to further education
  • health services which are universal, targeted and specialist
  • social care services including short breaks
  • preparing for adulthood for young people aged 19 to 25
  • training opportunities for young people
  • transport arrangements including the local authority’s transport policy
  • arrangements for assessing children and young people
  • how to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • transferring from a Statement of SEN to an Education, Health & Care Plan 
  • the option of personal budgets
  • making complaints, appeals and tribunals
  • information, advice and guidance on funding, financial support and support available from local voluntary organisations
What does SEND mean?

If your new to the subject of Special Educational Needs or you are a parent whose child has just been diagnosed with a special educational need or a disabiity, you may not be familiar with some of the terms.

When we talk about SEND, The SEN part stands for Special Educational Needs and the D stands for disabilities.

Children with special educational needs or disabilities may need extra help at school because of a range of needs, including thinking and understanding, physical or sensory difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to and behave with other people.  

Many children will have special educational needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome their difficulties quickly and easily. But a few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.

It is the fact that some form of additional support is needed which defines SEND. The Local Offer provides information for all families including children or young people with SEND, including those who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Defining family in Local Offer terms

Children and young people are at the heart of the SEND reforms. The Local Offer is there to support them and their families.  On the website and in our publicity leaflets we may refer to services being for families including children and young people with special educational needs or a disability. We use the term families to be a fully inclusive term meaning the whole family including the child, young person, their parents, carers and wider family.