Special Educational Needs
What are special education needs?
Many children and young people have special educational needs (SEN) at some time during their education. A child or young person with SEN may find it harder to learn than other children of the same age.Special educational needs may include:
- behavioural or social, for example difficulty making friends
- reading and writing, for example dyslexia
- concentrating, for example attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- a medical condition which affects learning
- a sensory or physical need which affects them in school, for example being blind or deaf.
By law, nurseries, schools and colleges must provide an education to all pupils or students whatever their abilities or special needs
Why it is important to identify SEN
The earlier that SEN are identified the better your child’s chances of reaching his or her full potential. We pay for training for those who provide early education to help them to identify SEN early so that a plan can be made to support a child’s development from the start.
Identifying SEN and disabilities in children and young people
NHS services regularly check the health and development of all children from birth through to school age. It is these services which will most likely identify any SEN or disability your child may have:
- your maternity team when your child is born
- your GP
- a health visitor
- a child development centre
- nursery/school/educational setting
You can talk to your GP or health visitor if you are worried about your child’s development, behaviour or other needs. And if your child is in a nursery, you can talk to the nursery staff. If your son or daughter is at school or in an educational setting you can talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).
What happens next?
If your child is found to have special educational needs, your health team or school SENCo will tell you about the support your child may need. This support will depend on your and your child’s individual needs.
Support for Special Educational Needs
Where a child/young person is identified as having SEND, schools and colleges should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.
This SEN support replaces the categories of School Action, School Action Plus, Early Years Action or Early Years Action Plus. It can be accessed for children and young people with varying levels of need, not just those who are undergoing an Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment or have an EHC plan.
SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle assess, plan, do review, through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the child/young person’s needs and of what supports them in making good progress and securing good outcomes. It should remove the need for families having to repeat their stories and having to go through duplicate assessments.
In determining whether SEN Support is appropriate for a child/young person it will be necessary to clarify what they require that is additional to or different from that which is normally provided by the setting as part of its Local Offer.
A support plan sets out:
- your child’s needs
- what support is needed to meet those needs
- what progress the nursery or school expects your child to make once the plan is in place.
Your child’s progress will be measured against the goals set out in the plan.
How much support your child will get will depend on his or her individual needs. Schools/settings can support children with a wide range of needs, using a variety of techniques. The nursery or school/setting will use a step-by-step approach to support. If your child does not make progress then the support plan will be changed and the school will gradually increase support.
Mainstream schools get around £10,000 per child per year in their budgets to support children with SEN and disabilities.
If your child has very complex needs the school can ask us for extra money. It may use the money to buy equipment or specialist services. This will be a request for an Education Health and Care plan.
At least once a year school staff will meet you to talk about your child’s progress and support plan. This meeting is called a review. At the review, you will:
- look at your child’s progress
- set targets for the coming year
- check to see if he or she still needs the same plan or whether changes are needed.
Your child’s school or college will arrange the meeting.
Who goes to the review meeting
Your child’s headteacher will invite:
- you (you can also bring along a friend or relative)
- your child
- a teacher who knows your child well
- any other professional who is involved with your child, for example a health professional or educational psychologist.
What happens at the review meeting
The headteacher will ask everyone, including you, to prepare a short statement. When you write your statement, you need to include:
- what progress you think your child has made in the past year or term
- whether there are any major changes that may or have affected your child’s progress
- what you hope your child will achieve in the coming year or term.
You can include photos, videos and anything else that helps tell ‘My story’.
What happens after the review
The school writes a report and will send you a copy with enough time for you to comment on it before the end of term. The report will set out:
- any targets for the next year
- any changes to the support plan
- whether any support plan should continue.
When your child is in Nursery, Year 5 and Year 9, there will be a review to manage his or her change of school. The special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) from your child’s current and new schools will meet to plan for the change.
If your child changes school mid-term things are slightly different. If the move is planned, we suggest the schools have a meeting to talk about your child’s support. If the move is not planned then your child’s school will need to send the new school all the information about your child, which the new school will talk about at an admissions meeting.
Teachers at your child’s school will help you with any questions you may have. But you can also get advice from the Special Education Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice, and Support Service, 11 Dudley Street, Grimsby, DN31 2AW
Telephone: 01472 355 365
Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Team (SENART), Civic Offices, Knoll Street, Cleethorpes, DN35 8LN
Opening times: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm and Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm except bank holidays
If you disagree with a nursery’s or school’s decision, talk to your child’s teacher or the school SENCO, or to the headteacher.
If you wish to take things further, your child’s school will have a complaints procedure, which it must publish on its website.