Find out about support that schools provide for children with special educational needs, and about our specialist inclusion service.

Most children's needs can be met in their local mainstream school. Some children need extra help to enable them to remain in their chosen school, and there are lots of ways in which we can help to make this work.

Strategic plan for SEND education provision 0-25, 2018 to 2023

We are responsible for reviewing how special education is provided in North Yorkshire, and for making sure there are enough places in education for children and young people with SEND. During 2017 and 2018 we worked closely with parents, carers, children, young people and professionals to gather their views on how special education is provided. We held a public consultation on our strategic plan during May and June 2018.

The strategic plan was approved by the executive in September 2018. It has recently been updated to include phase 2 of the plan.  You can read the updated plan here. (pdf / 5 MB) You can also read a Strategic plan summary document in plain English or Strategic plan in easy read format.

We have been delivering the actions in the plan and reviewed progress in autumn 2019. We have produced an  annual review of the plan (pdf / 682 KB). An easy read version of the annual review is also available. We are really pleased with the progress made in implementing the plan, but there is still a lot to do, and we will continue to work on the actions.

In your child's school

You do not need a diagnosis to get extra help for your child's needs. You should ask your child's teacher first if you have any concerns about your child's progress, and they will also consult you if they have concerns. Schools can support children with SEND by providing, for instance, extra help or adapting the curriculum. All schools have an amount of funding to enable them to provide extra help. The special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) works to identify children with SEND and to support staff to meet their needs. You can also see the school's SEN information report which is found on each school's website.

Special educational needs support works as a four part cycle: assess, plan, do and review. During the cycle, actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the child or young person's needs and what supports them in making good progress and securing good outcomes. This cycle is reviewed three times per year.

After a period of time, usually two cycles, if schools are concerned that not enough progress is being made they can consider making a request for an education, health and care plan. Parents or carers can also request a statutory assessment independently of the school if they wish.

The school will:

  • Assess his or her needs
  • Plan what additional and different support or intervention is necessary
  • Do - deliver this additional support and/or intervention
  • Review - decide on the impact of this and what needs to happen next

Questions you might want to ask:

  • Why do you think my child has SEN or a disability?
  • How do you know that my child doesn’t have SEN or a disability?
  • What happens now?
  • What extra support is available to support my child?
  • How can we help as a family?
  • When and how will we review progress and SEN provision?
  • Who can support me?

The SENCo at your child’s school or setting should usually be your main point of contact for discussions about their special educational needs, the additional support they need and the progress this leads to.

You can also contact the SEND information and advice service (SENDIASS) for impartial information, advice and support.

Charities and other organisations also offer advice and support.

Often children with SEND benefit from a longer and slower start to school than other children. You can find out more about the age children start school here as well as the possibility of a deferred start.

Sometimes a part-time timetable could offer a gentler start to school. You may agree with school that a part time placement is a good thing initially, but when your child is statutory school age they have a right to a full time place. We therefore recommend that any arrangements like this have a clear aim and an agreement as to when it will end and the child will start full time.

Similarly, for a child with a medical condition, recovering from illness, or who is exhausted by anxiety or autism related meltdowns, you may agree that part time provision or a session at home to recuperate is appropriate. Again this must be done with your consent and with clear objectives.

In many cases like this, or where the child is so overwhelmed by school that they cannot cope full time without becoming upset or showing challenging behaviour, what may work better is full time attendance at school, but with significantly reduced demands. For example being allowed to work on the computer or play outside most of the day, with only a very gradual increase in more formal activities.  This kind of provision must also be short term, regularly reviewed, with clear measures of progress in their wellbeing evident.

All schools must publish an accessibility plan to improve the physical environment of the school to enable disabled students to take advantage of education and benefits which they provide.

The plan also must improve the way disabled students access information that is already available to those students who are not disabled.

A school's accessibility plan should be shown on its website.

You can read our schools accessibility strategy here.

Children with SEND can be excluded for all the same reasons as children without SEND, either for a fixed term, or permanently. However schools may not exclude a child because they cannot meet their needs, or for other reason related to their disability.  For example it is not legal to do the following, unless they are formally recorded as exclusions, or occur with the agreement of the family that it is in the child’s best interests in the short term:

  • only offer a part time placement to a child with SEND;
  • send a child home to cool off after a meltdown;
  • exclude from a school trip; or
  • ask a child to go home if their teaching assistant is absent.

If you are asked to collect your child at lunchtime

There may be times when the school will ask you to collect your child at lunchtime. As a 'one off' this may resolve a specific incident. However, if you are being asked to do this on a regular basis, it should only be as part of an agreed arrangement to provide support for your child. The head teacher should tell you how many days they want your child to go home for lunch and what arrangements they intend to put in place to enable your child to stay for lunch in future.

If this is not provided then this means your child has been excluded from school at lunchtime, which should be recorded as a half day exclusion.

What happens next?

If the number of days adds up to five days exclusion (ten lunchtimes) or more then you can ask to meet the governors.

If you or your school are concerned about your child's behaviour, the school should arrange a meeting to draw up a plan that will detail the support your child needs to help them. This plan might be an individual education plan or a pastoral support plan.

The Ladder of Intervention provides a structured step by step guide for schools to support individual pupils who have social and emotional needs which may result in behaviour that challenges them which in turn can trigger exclusions.  It provides guidance on a graduated response to ensure early help is in place to support children and young people at with social, emotional and mental health needs including those that are at risk of exclusion. Ask your school SENCO or Inclusion Manager about this.

Some students may require Alternative Provision to enhance and support what the school can offer. A directory of Alternative Provision has been developed to help schools and commissioners find suitable provision that meets the need of children and young people who are unable to access mainstream education. It has a locality based focus which will help schools to identify providers who are available in their area. SEND education provision in North Yorkshire.

The plan should include details of how your child will be helped to achieve targets that are agreed at the meeting. It should list people who will be involved and explain what everyone, including you and your child, will do. It should also include a date for reviewing the plan.

Complain or appeal about the school's decision

You can find full information here about what to do if you are not happy with the way the school is dealing with your child's needs.

More information

Specialist support

Some children with more complex and significant difficulties may require specialist services to support what the school can offer. Our inclusive education service specialist support staff work together to provide advice and support to schools and educational settings to help them to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND. Some staff are centrally based and some are based in enhanced mainstream schools. The service consists of specialists in the areas of:

  • educational psychology;
  • early years SEND;
  • communication and interaction (autism and speech, language and communication needs);
  • cognition and learning (such as specific learning difficulties, dyslexia or dyscalculia);
  • sensory and physical (hearing impairment, visual impairment, physical and medical needs); and
  • social, emotional and mental health.

 You can download a document here providing more detailed information about our SEND inclusive education service offer (pdf / 1 MB).

Enhanced mainstream and special schools

There are a number of enhanced mainstream schools in North Yorkshire, which provide specialist help so that children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities can make progress within a mainstream environment. These are schools and not ‘units’ or ‘bases’, and have withdrawal areas for use at specific times. They also work on an outreach basis to support local schools in their area. You can speak to the SENCO at your school for more information. Alternatively, you can find more information about our schools, enhanced mainstream schools and other education options by contacting

If a child or young person's need cannot be met in a mainstream school or setting with the involvement of the inclusive education service, they may require a special school place. Except in very rare circumstances, special schools take pupils with a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan.

There are nine maintained special schools and one special academy in North Yorkshire. You can search for schools near you here. You can also view details of independent schools for students with special educational needs here, including those approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act.

Request for involvement documents

Request for involvement documents and other useful information for practitioners can now be found on the special educational needs and disabilities page of CYPSinfo, our website for early years, schools and children's services professionals in North Yorkshire.

Special provision capital funding

We are allocated money from the Department for Education (DfE) called the Special Provision Capital fund (SPCF). This is a standalone pot of money which has to be spent to improve existing facilities, develop new facilities, or create additional places for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) education provision.

The money can only be used in provision judged as good or outstanding by OFSTED to benefit children and young people with SEND who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The total amount of special provision capital funding is £848,837 which has been allocated to North Yorkshire over three years. There are specific guidelines about how we can use the funding.

We updated our plan for using the funding in March 2020 and we have   published the plan (pdf / 511 KB) (pdf / 413 KB). We have developed a covering report to provide further information.