Find out about the help available throughout school when a child or young person has special education needs and disabilities.
Schools are responsible for meeting the needs of a range of children and young people by providing high quality teaching and support, adapted to individual children so they can progress and achieve.
The school must provide a 'SEN information report' on their website which explains how they will meet the needs of children with SEND.
Schools must also employ a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) who works to identify children with SEND and to support staff to meet their needs.
When the school identifies a child or young person as having SEND, they must provide help which is additional to or different to support generally given to children of the same age, to ensure the needs of the child are being met.
Some children and young people with more complex and significant difficulties may require specialist services to support what their school does. This will be provided via our inclusive education service. Input from the inclusive education service can be used for individual children and young people but its aim is always to enhance what schools do themselves.
The school will work with parents and carers to talk about the needs of their child and how these can be met. This information is used to develop an SEN support plan which will be reviewed on a termly basis to check progress.
SEN support is part of a four stage cycle ('Assess', 'Plan', 'Do' and 'Review') during which 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.
After a period of time, if schools are concerned the child is not making good enough progress despite the support being provided, they may consider making a request for an 'education, health and care plan' statutory assessment from us. Parents or carers can also request a statutory assessment from us independently of the school if they wish.
If a child already has a statement of SEN, then we will consider undertaking a 'transfer review' to change the statement into an education, health and care plan by April 2018.
- The SEND mainstream guidance (pdf / 833 KB) document outlines what support is available in mainstream schools and settings.
- The specialist support and provision (pdf / 661 KB) document outlines what is available from the inclusive education service.
Schools and professionals, with the involvement of children, young people and parents, can make a request for involvement to the inclusive education service.
More information about education, health and care plans is available on the education, health and care plans page.
Frequently asked questions
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 how 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.
There are different routes for you to take depending on whether your child is pre-school or has started school.
If your child is pre-school
If you think your child is slow in developing or is not hearing or seeing properly, speak to your family doctor, health visitor, your nursery or pre-school setting leader or someone at your local children's centre. They may give advice to enable you to support and help your child or refer you to a specialist for an assessment.
If your child is at school
Your child's teachers will consult you if they have concerns about his or her progress. If you notice any difficulties with your child's learning you should ask your child's teacher about them first. Schools are able to support children who have special educational needs by providing, for example, extra help from their teachers or adapting the curriculum so it is more accessible for the child.
Also, all schools also have a special educational needs coordinator who may meet you if your child has SEND.
Asking for an assessment for an education, health and care plan (EHCP)
Alternative provision settings are places that provide education for children who can’t go to a mainstream school.
We believe all children, including those in alternative provision settings, deserve a high-quality state education. Alternative provision is for pupils who can’t attend mainstream school for a variety of reasons, such as school exclusion, behaviour issues, short- or long-term illness, school refusal or teenage pregnancy.
If your child has special educational needs and disabilities and alternative provision needs to be considered, you can speak to your child’s assessment and review officer.