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The context of text production

An overview of three key codes of practice
© The Open University

In the context of text production, three key Acts heralded a ‘Code of Practice’.

The original Code stemmed from the Education Act 1993. It was replaced by the revised version (Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, 2001) in parallel with the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001. The most recent Code of Practice (DfE/DoH, 2015) reflects the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014.

All schools and educational settings were required to adapt their practices to the guidance these documents and could not ignore them. While legislation and the associated codes varied across the UK, the messages were similar in nature.

It was the Education Act 1993 that first placed a duty on the Secretary of State to issue a Code of Practice, as well as the power to revise it from time to time. This original Code of Practice came into effect in 1994. The rights and duties contained in the 1993 Act were consolidated into Part IV of the Education Act 1996.

The second Code of Practice, like its predecessor, was intended to help schools and local education authorities (LEAs) obtain the best value from the considerable resources and expertise they invested in helping children with special educational needs. It retained much of the guidance from the original Code but took account of the experiences of schools and LEAs and developments in education since 1994. It included new rights and duties introduced by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001.

The third Code strengthened the guidance from the previous versions and introduced education, health and care plans (EHCPs).

These texts provide examples with useful links, and, although not completely prescriptive, tend to leave little room for major changes. You can find some of these in ‘See also’ as optional reading.

Your task: Create a mind-map

Estimated study time: 15 minutes

In this task, you will create a mind-map. We have provided a video about mind-mapping and some examples of online tools in the See also section, but you could use your journal or pen and paper instead.

Create a mind-map that illustrates how the legislation and associated policy texts described here relate to your context and your experience.

Did the mind-mapping process highlight any specific thoughts or points of interest? Share these thoughts or points with your co-learners.


Children and Families Act 2014, c. 6.

Department for Education (DfE) (1994) Special educational needs code of practice [Online].

Department for Education (DfE) (2001) Special educational needs code of practice [Online].

Department for Education (DfE) and Department of Health (DoH) (2015) Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years [Online].

Education Act 1993, c. 35.

Education Act 1996, c. 56.

Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act (Scotland) 2004 (asp 4).

Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, c. 10.

© The Open University
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