School SEND Support

The Children & Families Act 2014 came into force on 1 September 2014. This section aims to answer some queries you may have concerning the arrangements for supporting Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in schools. The law includes new statutory guidance in the form of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 Years.

How can school help my child?

Each child is an individual and may require help to support their individual needs. All schools provide planning, teaching and assessment which takes into account the wide range of abilities and interests of their children. Most children will benefit from these different approaches and will make progress, whilst other children may need more specific support.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Schools ‘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 children and young people’s SEND’ (6.2)

What if my child needs more support?

If you or the school are concerned that your child is not making progress it is possible that they may have special educational needs. If so, your child may need support which is additional to, or different from, that given to other children in their class. All schools receive funding to provide such support and they should follow the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice to identify what support is required to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them.

What is this support called?

From 1 September 2014, the terms School Action and School Action Plus were replaced by the single term School SEND Support. This means that a child will be receiving additional or different support in school to meet his/her needs. Schools have a duty to tell parents if their child needs SEND Support and they must involve you and your child as fully as possible in any planning or decision making.

Whether your child has a statutory or non-statutory plan in place, they should follow person centred principles. More information can be found on the One Planning pages.

What can my child expect from SEN support?

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice say that where a pupil is identified as having SEND, schools should ‘take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place’ (6.44). This should happen through ongoing cycle of assessment, planning, doing and reviewing to provide your child with effective strategies and support to help them progress. This cycle is known as the graduated approach.

The Code of Practice identifies four broad areas of need:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

One or more of these may be relevant to your child’s needs and a plan is put in place to support them.

How can the SENCo help?

Mainstream schools (unless they are 16-19 academies) must have a member of staff who is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and this person must be a qualified teacher.

The SENCo will work with you and your child’s class teacher to:

  • help to decide if your child has SEND
  • help to assess your child’s strengths and areas of need
  • arrange for other relevant professionals to assess your child’s needs
  • coordinate and plan SEND support for your child
  • make sure that records are kept of your child’s progress
  • make sure that the appropriate member of the school staff talk to you and other professionals working with your child
  • advise and support other members of staff and governors in the school about SEND
  • write the One Plan
  • request statutory assessment if your child has complex needs that meet the threshold for a statutory Education, Health & Care Plan

Mainstream schools 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 children and young people’s SEND
  • Ensure that children and young people with SEND engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEND
  • Designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEND provision (the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCo)
  • Inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • Prepare a report on the implementation of their SEND policy and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time

Information about individual schools:

Every school has to publish a SEN Information Report, which details the school’s arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEND. It must also include information about the arrangements for the admission of disabled pupils, facilities provided to assist access and the schools accessibility plan. This should be updated annually. Schools should try to publish this information on their website. To help you locate this information, there are links in the Education section to take you to individual school websites.

The Department for Education supported by Mencap have published 2 easy to read guides (one for parents and another for children/young people) that detail the changes to SEND support. Both of these can be found by clicking on the links below;

Easy Read guide for Children and Young People

Easy Read guide for Parents

Information about SEN Support in Early Years Settings