SEND support in schools and pre-schools

Always speak to your child’s teacher or pre-school leader first if you are worried about your child's learning.

Schools and pre-schools have a designated part of their funding budget to support children with special educational needs and disabilities. If a school needs additional funding for an individual particular child over and above what they are allocated their allocation for SEND, they can apply for high needs funding support.

What will the school or pre-school do?

All schools and academies are required to identify and address the special educational needs of the pupils that they support.

They must:

  • use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEND gets the support they need - this means doing everything they can to meet the child or young person's special educational needs 
  • ensure that children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have special educational needs or disabilities
  • prepare and publish an SEND information report

All education staff, including early years settings and colleges, expect to support children and young people with a variety of needs, defined in 4 broad areas as laid out in the SEND code of practice:

  • Communication and interaction
    Speech, language and communication needs – this may include children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Cognition and learning
    Including moderate learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties. Specific learning difficulties encompass a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
    May manifest in many ways including being withdrawn, or displaying challenging behaviour. Other children may have disorders such as ADHD or attachment disorders.
  • Sensory and physical needs
    Children with a sensory impairment that affects their hearing or their sight, or both will require specialist support to access their learning. Some children with a physical disability require ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

Every school must designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEND provision. This is the SENCO. If your child doesn’t progress despite well-targeted teaching, you or the teacher should speak to the SENCO.

The SENCO will work with your child's teacher to assess whether your child has special educational needs or a disability that will affect their learning (SEND). They will do this by talking to you and your child and looking at your child’s work, progress and behaviour.

If they think your child has a special educational need or a disability:

  • the school or nursery must tell you if they think your child has special needs and about what action they plan on taking
  • they will put in place support and closely monitor progress

What support is provided in school?

SEN support in school has 4 stages:

Assess

Identifying a child as needing SEND support after carrying out clear analysis of the pupil's needs

Plan

Parents must be notified when their child is to receive SEND support although parents should have already been involved in the assessment stage. The school in consultation with parents and the pupil should agree the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place as well as the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour along with a clear date for review.

Do

The class or subject teacher remains responsible for the pupil on a day to day basis with the support of the SENCO if required. Any intervention delivered by other school staff should be closely monitored by the responsible teacher.

Review

The effectiveness of the support and interventions and their impact on the pupil's progress should be reviewed in line with the agreed date. This evaluation will include the views of the pupil and their parents and feed back into the analysis of the pupil's needs and the next steps.

Children with medical conditions

If your child has a medical problem that affects their learning or access to education, discuss these issues with the school or pre-school. They will work with you and any relevant health professionals to implement an effective health plan. A medical condition such as diabetes is not considered to be a special educational need.

What happens if I am unhappy with the support my child is receiving?

If you do not believe that the educational establishment is working effectively to support your child's progress, you should:

  • In the first instance speak with the class teacher or SENCO to discuss your concerns
  • You can contact the Information Advice and Support Service (IASS) for impartial advice and support
  • If this does not resolve your concerns you can follow the school's complaints policy and contact the head teacher, the SEND governor, or chair of governors depending on the school's policy.

What if the school or pre-school cannot support my child's complex needs?

If a child or young person has significant or complex needs, a parent, education provider or the young person over the age of 16 can request support from the Specialist Support Service or can make a request for a statutory assessment.

 Related pages

Specialist Support Service -  Early intervention service, identifying a child's needs and the support they need

Local Offer - Search for SEND related support services for children and young people aged 0-25

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