Special educational needs - help in primary and secondary schools
All children deserve a fair start in life and we are committed to giving every child the opportunity to reach their full potential.
What does special educational needs mean?
The term encompasses a wide range of types of need and is defined in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 Years [1Mb]. The Code of Practice also describes special educational needs and disabilities within 4 broad areas of need:
- Communication and interaction;
- Cognition and learning;
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties; and
- Sensory and/or physical needs.
The Equality Act 2010 defines a person with a disability as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The definition of disability encompasses a broader range of impairments than might be commonly assumed, including children with autism, those with Tourette's syndrome and those with communication difficulties.
The help available
The special needs of most children can be met effectively through action taken by their mainstream school. More information on this is available in the leaflets on 'supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools [3Mb]' and on 'provision for vulnerable learners in schools' [249kb].
High-quality provision in mainstream lessons is the most important factor in helping pupils with SEND make good progress alongside their peers. Many schools have developed whole school provision maps which list the approaches to be used by teachers to help overcome some of the barriers to learning faced by some pupils. North Yorkshire County Council has also developed whole school provision maps for:
The Council has also developed a document that shows how schools are held to account for their SEN provision, which is available here [91kb].
We also provide specialist support through placement in special schools, some of which are residential, and through enhanced mainstream schools. Enhanced mainstream schools have specialist expertise so they can support class teachers and SENCos to meet the needs of children in all mainstream schools. If your child continues to be educated in a mainstream school, specialist advice is available to the staff from an enhanced mainstream school or from one of our special schools. Specific help might also include specialist equipment, such as an adapted computer or software, a modified lesson plan, a hearing loop or an adjustable desk, input from specialist support services, such as educational psychologists, speech and language therapists or mental health services, teachers with specialist knowledge, skilled job coaches, advice on mobility and getting around, or training for children and young people on managing their own behaviour and improving their social skills and understanding.
Information on the work of the Specialist Support Service is available on the 'special educational needs - specialist support in North Yorkshire' page.
A very small number of children with severe and complex needs may require SEN provision through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). More information about this is available on the statutory assessments page.
North Yorkshire schools
We try to educate children and young people in mainstream schools wherever possible. The majority of pupils with a special educational need attend one of these schools. Each school has a special educational needs coordinator who can guide you through the support available for you or your child in that school.
We also provide a number of 'enhanced mainstream schools'. These specialise in the areas of
- specific learning difficulties,
- speech, language and communication; and
- behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.
Enhanced mainstream schools are mainstream schools which also have a team of specialist staff. These staff work on an outreach basis with children and young people in other mainstream schools across North Yorkshire. They may support a child or young person through visiting them in their regular school to work directly with them, or by supporting staff at that school to develop the school's ability to meet the needs of that pupil.
Some enhanced mainstream schools also have a small number of in-reach places where the pupil attends the school as their regular school, and receives support in this way.
There is also a specialist support outreach service for children and young people with severe or complex needs who are educated in mainstream schools. The team is made up of experienced staff from our special schools who support an outreach caseload.