How are special educational needs identified?
Teachers regularly assess the progress of all pupils. If your child is falling behind or not making the progress expected, you should be told as soon as possible and be involved in discussions about any help your child may need and how their progress will be reviewed. All schools should have a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEN. Identifying need as early as possible and then making effective provision improves long-term outcomes for the child or young person. You should be involved in helping to draw up an action plan for your child and reviewing the progress your child makes.
Not all children and young people who are falling behind or not making the expected progress will have special educational needs (SEN). It may be that they didn’t learn some of the basic information that they needed later on and just need some further work to help their understanding. A process of assessment, planning and putting in some help for your child and reviewing their progress will enable the class teacher to see if your child can make the expected progress or if they need some further input from the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) in the school. The identification of SEN should be built into the overall approach to monitoring the progress and development of all pupils.
If your child has been identified as having SEN, their school or college must use their best endeavours to put appropriate support in place, this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN. This is known as SEN Support which has replaced School Action and School Action Plus.
The purpose of SEN Support is to help children and young people to achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school together with you and your child and ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN.
SEN Support has a clear cycle of assessment of progress, planning and putting in place the appropriate support and reviewing your child’s progress. This is known as “Assess, Plan, Do, Review”. You should be fully involved in the discussions about your child’s needs and the support that is put in place.
The support for your child will vary depending on their needs. For example, it may include:
- a special learning programme for your child
- extra help from a teacher or a learning support assistant
- making or changing materials and equipment
- working with your child in a small group
- helping other children work with your child, or play with them at break time
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The role of the SENCo
All schools have a SENCo. The SENCo is responsible for making sure that your child has received the appropriate support in their class and advises the class teacher on other strategies and programmes to use with your child. With your permission the SENCo may also raise your child for discussion with an outside agency such as a specialist teacher or educational psychologist from our SEND Specialist Services.
School SEN Policy and Information Report
All schools should have an SEN policy which outlines how children’s needs are identified, including any assessments they carry out and the support for children with SEN. These details must be published on their website, alongside their SEN Information Report outlining how they support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
We have produced a toolkit for schools to explain what should be included in their Information Report and how it should be produced with parents, carers and young people.
Depending on your child’s needs, their school may request help from a range of other professionals from the local authority and health services. They could ask for help from:
- Specialist teacher or educational psychologist from our SEND Specialist Services
- Speech and language therapist
- Occupational therapist
Depending on your child's and family needs, an assessment called an Early Help Assessment (EHA) may be completed with you. This helps to begin to identify the support your family needs and other professionals who need to be involved. They may request help from a range of services from the local authority or health services.
What funding is available to schools to support children with special educational needs?
Mainstream schools, academies and further education colleges have funding to support children with SEND. Details on the funding for schools and colleges is available in our schools and learning section.
Requesting an assessment of your child’s needs
If your child has complex special educational needs that are not met by the support their school or college puts in place, an Education, Health and Care needs assessment can be requested from the local authority, where the school or setting make it clear what has already been put in place, and the effect that this has had on the child’s learning and progress.
Who to contact for help
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) provided by The Parent Partnership Service offers impartial information and advice on special educational needs to parents, carers and young people.