SEND support for learning

SEND support in educational settings

Most children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges, through a graduated response.

When a child or young person is identified as having a Special Educational Need (SEN), settings and schools will take actions to remove barriers to learning. It is also their responsibility to put effective special educational provision in place.

This SEN support should be based on ‘Assess-Plan-Do-Review’ with an understanding of the pupil’s needs, supports making good progress and securing good outcomes.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are based on four broad areas of need:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognitive and Learning
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Sensory and/or Physical.

Those involved in making special educational provision for the child/young person must ensure that the child/young person has the opportunity to be included in activities that the school provides to all within their setting.

Who to talk to:

The Keyworker, Class or Subject Teacher, SENCO, any Health and Care professional working with the family.

Resolution of concern at this stage will be by talking to the SENCO or Senior Leader of the setting or school.

Children and Families Act 2014 - Part 3

SEND Code of Practice 2014 Chapters 5, 6 & 7

Assess, Plan, Do, Review and Interventions

Where a pupil is identified as having special educational needs, schools and parents work together to take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place. This support should take the form of a four-part cycle - assess, plan, do, review.

The plan is revisited, refined and revised to understand the child’s needs and secure good outcomes.  This is known as the graduated approach.

In the first instance, interventions will be used, which will help the SENCo to measure the child or young person’s rate of progress in working towards their outcomes.

If there is good progress and the identified barrier to learning is resolved, no further cycles of assess, plan, do, review may be needed. Progress will be monitored alongside all other children.

Please see the Assess, Plan, Do, Review document in Related Images Section. 

Support for Children Under 5

Parents’ early observations of their child are crucial.

Children with more complex developmental and sensory needs may be identified at birth. Health assessments enable very early identification of a range of medical and physical difficulties.  The family’s General Practitioner, Health Visitor or Community Paediatrician will work with the family and support them to understand their child’s needs and help them to access early support.

Support for children under 5 includes:

  • A universal progress check at 2 years old by the Health Visitor which may identify SEND
  • A universal health check at 2 to 3 years old by the Health Visitor which may identify SEND.

Most younger children, attend some form of early years provision. Nurseries, playgroups and childminders registered with Ofsted follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The framework makes sure that there’s support in place for children with SEND.

Each setting has a graduated response through:

  • Keyworkers and a SENCO
  • Support from a Local Authority Adviser with a special interest in SEND.

Below are links to Early Years pages that provide information for parents, carers and professionals and Early Years services that can also assist in further identification of need:

You may also wish to talk to a doctor or health adviser if you think your child has SEND. They’ll tell you what support options are available.

Partnership with parents and professionals is crucial.

Support for children between 5 and 15

Whilst working together with the school or setting, your child will be identified as needing SEN Support, parent and pupil voice is essential at every stage. It may be decided to talk to professionals or specialists who can offer more assessment and advice to support strategies for learning. These professionals may be from Education, Health or Care.

When working together, you will be asked to give consent to share your child’s information with the relevant people. This is very important as it helps to ensure your child receives the right help and support at the right time.

SEN Support in a school setting may involve drawing up a Individual Education Plan (IEP). This is an opportunity for you, your child and the school to coproduce a passport for learning. An IEP will outline strengths and what works best to support learning. It may also include learning targets. This is a working document which alongside the cycles of assess-plan-do-review will enable improved assessment, the right provision and better outcomes. 

Schools allocate funding to support pupils with a broad range of special educational needs. Most children’s needs can be met by the school’s resources. Please read Assess, Plan, Do, Review.

Support for young people aged 16 or over in further education

Contact the college before you/your young person starts further education to make sure that they can meet you/your young person needs. The college and your local authority will talk to you/your young person about the support they need.

Where a student has a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision, the college must use its best endeavours to put appropriate support in place. Young people should be supported to participate in discussions about their aspirations, their needs, and the support that they think will help them best. Support should be aimed at promoting student independence and enabling the young person to make good progress towards employment and/or higher education, independent living, good health and participating in the community.

Where the college decides a student needs SEN support, the college should discuss with the student their ambitions, the nature of the support to be put in place, the expected impact on progress and a date for reviewing the support. Plans should be developed with the student. The support and intervention provided should be selected to meet the student’s aspirations, and should be based on reliable evidence of effectiveness and provided by practitioners with the relevant skills and knowledge.

Special educational support might include, for example:

  • Assistive technology
  • Personal care (or access to it)
  • Specialist tuition
  • Note takers
  • Interpreters
  • One-to-one and small group learning support
  • Habilitation/independent living training
  • Accessible information such as symbol-based materials
  • Access to therapies (for example, speech and language therapy).

Transition: Moving between Educational Settings

Introduction: What is Transition?

The term ‘transition’ is used to refer to the life changes that children and young people may go through.  There are many transitions that children and young people will go through but this page focuses on just one kind of transition.  This is moving into, between and out of educational settings.  These can be:

  • Early years education to school
  • Primary to secondary school
  • First to middle school
  • Infant to junior school
  • Middle to secondary school
  • Secondary to post-16 provision or to work.

The three main transition points for most children and young people are:

  • Early years education to primary school
  • Primary school to secondary school 
  • Secondary school to work, college or university.

How does this work for a child or young person with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan?

Parents can prepare for the move well in advance by visiting schools (or colleges).  Parents might find it helpful to keep notes of what they like and don’t like about these settings so that this can be part of a discussion with the Local Authority (LA).  The child’s next school should be discussed at their Annual Review preferably two years before the move.  This is to allow parents and teachers to discuss and prepare for the next placement in good time.  A Local Authority officer may attend the Annual Review, which can be useful.  The key years in deciding on future provision are Year 5 and Year 9 so that there is plenty of time to make the transition work.

Once the parent has named the preferred school, the Local Authority will consult with that school.  The Local Authority will take many factors into consideration, most importantly whether the school can meet a child’s needs and the cost of the placement.

The Local Authority will want to work with parents and carers so that they are happy with the child’s school and the LA is happy that the child’s needs will be met in an efficient way.  The LA could decide not to name a parent’s preferred school in a child’s EHC plan.  If parents disagree with the school named on the EHC plan, they have the right to appeal to the Special Education and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).

The EHC Plan should be amended by 15th February in the year of transfer when a child moves from Year 6 to Year 7.  The EHC Plan should be amended by 31st March in the year of school transfer when a child moves from Year 11 to post-16 provision.

The best kind of planning around transitions will have the child or young person at its centre and will focus on what is important to the child and the family.  The child or the young person should be part of decision making.

If your child has an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) you will not need to apply for your child's reception place or secondary school place via the normal admissions process. This will be identified during the Annual Review. If you have any questions please contact your caseworker.

Equality Act 2010

All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage. These duties are anticipatory - they require thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage. Schools also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations.