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Guide to school support for children with special educational needs (SEN)

Guide to school support for children with special educational needs (SEN)

1. What schools should have in place for pupils with SEN

Special educational provision for children and young people is called SEN Support. It makes sure:

  • education settings do everything they can to meet pupils' special educational needs alongside children of a similar age
  • children and young people with SEND can take part in school activities with pupils who don’t have SEND
  • class or subject teachers work closely with the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) to identify a child or young person’s needs and put in place the provision that’s additional to and different from that usually available in mainstream education settings to meet those needs
  • parents or carers meet with the school at least three times a year, or termly, to review their child's progress and the impact of the provision 
     

2. School SEN policy and information report

All schools should have a SEND and inclusion policy, which will tell you how they: 

  • identify children’s needs
  • support children with SEN 

Your child’s school must publish these details on their website, along with:

  • a SEN Information report, which tells you about the SEN provision that they make
  • their arrangements for the admission of disabled children
  • the steps they’re taking to stop children being treated less favourably than others
  • the facilities they provide so that disabled children can access the school
  • an accessibility plan, showing how they intend to improve access over time
     

3. SEN Support and the graduated approach

Every child who has special educational needs should have SEN Support to help them achieve their learning outcomes.

How SEN support is paid for in schools

To assess your child’s needs, the school should use a graduated approach based on four steps. 
They:

  • assess your child’s needs
  • plan the SEN support your child needs
  • do, which means working with your child to meet the outcomes
  • review your child’s progress at least three time a year with you

This is sometimes called the ‘Assess, plan, do, review’ cycle. 

Assess 

Your child’s teacher assesses your child’s needs. They agree with you and, where possible, your child, what outcomes to set. 

Plan

The school will tell what help they’ll provide and agree review dates to look at the impact of the special educational provision.

A SEN Support Plan describes the provision that a school will make to meet a child’s special educational needs and agreed outcomes. It sets out:

  • your child’s needs
  • what support they need (what provision, when, how long for, how often, who will deliver the provision and why)
  • what progress the school expects your child to make
  • a date for to review progress

How much support your child will get and in what form it’s delivered depends on his or her specific needs. School staff will work with you to draw up the plan to support your child’s learning before any changes are made to his or her provision.

Do

Your child’s class or subject teacher works with your child and any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved. This may include professionals from education services, health and social care practitioners.

Review

The school review your child’s progress with you and your child at least once a term to look at:

  • what difference the help they’ve been given has made
  • next steps or any changes to provision

Ask for an updated copy of your child’s support plan. This should clarify:

  • your child’s needs 
  • provision to meet your child’s needs
  • outcomes
     

4. Who is responsible for SEN support

Your child’s class or subject teacher is responsible and accountable for your child’s progress and development. 
The SENCO will work with your child’s class or subject teacher to:

  • carry out a clear analysis of your child’s needs
  • agree any additional professional advice needed to identify or support your child’s needs
  • make sure records of all SEND support are up to date and evaluated

Matching the development provision to your child’s needs

The support your child gets can take many forms. This could include:

  • specialist IT equipment, such as specialist keyboards
  • assistive technology, such as text to speech software
  • seating plans in classrooms that improve attention, such as exercise balls, standing desks and beanbags
  • therapeutic work, delivered by specialists, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, or speech and language therapy
  • small group sessions to help your child with positive behaviour and social development 
  • physical therapy, delivered by specialists, to improve motor skills
  • Schools evaluate how effective their SEN provision is by checking pupils’ progress to see if they’re reaching goals and outcomes. 

The SENCO will observe the quality of teaching and learning for pupils with SEND with other members of the school’s senior leadership team. 
 

5. If you’re concerned about your child’s SEN Support

Your child’s key person, class teacher, tutor or pastoral support worker should tell you if they have concerns before putting any special educational provision in place.
Sometimes the SEN support they’ve put in place may not help your child make progress because:

  • the wrong intervention was recommended for your child’s need
  • there were too many targets or they were too challenging
  • the planned actions haven’t translated clearly into practice
  • your child has experienced exceptional circumstances, such as illness, which has the stopped the school being able to carry out the plan
  • your child’s needs have increased despite the extra support that has been put in place

It’s important to discuss with the school what will happen next. Meet with your child’s key person, class teacher, tutor or pastoral support worker if you’re concerned about your child’s learning. 

Ask for a copy of your child’s SEN support plan to clarify needs, provision to meet needs and outcomes and agree with the school: 

  • any additional professional advice needed to identify and support your child’s special educational needs and ask for copies of any referral paperwork.
  • outcomes and special educational provision for the next 6 to 12 weeks.
  • review dates so that you can discuss the impact of the special educational provision.
  • next steps or any changes to special educational provision in an updated copy of your child’s support plan 

If you and your child’s school or college feel that everything has been done that’s possible through SEN Support, you can ask for an education, health and care needs assessment
 

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