SEN Service and FAQs from the SEND Code of Practice

What the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service does, what we mean by Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and a full list of FAQs relating to SEND.

What does the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service do?

The Special Educational Needs Service’s role is to meet the Local Authority's statutory duties under the relevant legislation and guidance.  This includes the Education Act 1996, the Learning and Skills Act 2000, the Children and Families Act 2014, the Equality Act 2010, the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004, the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the Care Act 2014, Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970,  and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 sets out statutory guidance that the Local Authority, Children’s Trust, education settings and health bodies must take account of in carrying out their respective duties in respect of children and young people aged 0-25.

The Local Authority has a duty to identify, assess and make provision to meet the special educational and wider needs of children within its area and to monitor progress against outcomes. From September 2014 all new statutory assessments and Plans will consider education, health and care needs, outcomes and appropriate provision. This does not mean that a child must have needs in all these areas but they will have special educational needs.

The Service aims to provide a range of appropriate educational opportunities and additional resources for children and young people with special educational needs to enable their needs to be met in an inclusive setting.

What does Special Educational Needs (SEN) mean?

The law says that a child or young person with special educational needs has a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for them to learn. A child with SEN may need extra help or different help from that given to others of the same age.

They may find it harder to understand information and learn at the same rate as their peers; they may have a physical or a sensory difficulty; they may have difficulties with speech and language or other communication and interaction; and they may have social, emotional or mental health difficulties.

Even if a child is making slower progress in school, it does not mean that they have SEN. 

Sources of information

 Sources of Information, Advice and Support

 Sources of Information, Advice Support
Download (205KB - PDF)

Core Principles - Descriptors Thresholds Document

Sample Letters to request an Educational Health Care Assessment

Special Educational Needs Provision

The majority of children will have their needs met successfully at a local mainstream school.The Local Authority’s key starting principle is that, as far as possible, children should be educated within their local community and within a mainstream setting. The Local Authority provides support for pre-school children with special needs through the Early Years and Child Care Service. Some children benefit from additional support within a Resource, attached to a mainstream primary or secondary school, which has a particular expertise in one or more areas of SEN.

Additional Resource Centres based in maintained schools:

However, some children have long term, significant and complex needs and will require a Local Authority Education, Health and Care Plan specifying a specialist placement within one of Doncaster’s special schools. To meet this level of exceptional need the Local Authority maintains 5 special schools:

Specialist Outreach Support from Special Schools
  • Severe Learning Difficulties including Down’s Syndrome from North Ridge School 
  • Moderate Learning Difficulties from Pennine View School 
  • Autism Spectrum Condition from Stonehill School 
  • Physical Difficulties and Access from Heatherwood School 
  • Children with severe learning difficulties (SLD) from Coppice School 
  • Autism / challenging behaviour from Coppice School

 
FAQs

What must schools do with regard to accessibility planning and the Equality Act 2010?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) states;
The responsible body (in maintained schools this is the governing body) must prepare -
  • an accessibility plan; 
  • further such plans at such times as may be prescribed. An accessibility plan is a plan for, over a prescribed period –
  • increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the school’s curriculum; 
  • improving the physical environment of the school for the purpose of increasing the extent to which disabled pupils are able to take advantage of education and associated services provided or offered by the school; and 
  • improving the delivery to disabled pupils - (i) within a reasonable time, and (ii) in ways which are determined after taking account of their disabilities and any preferences expressed by them or their parents, of information which is provided in writing for pupils who are not disabled. 
  • An accessibility plan must be in writing. 
  • During the period to which the plan relates, the responsible body must keep its accessibility plan under review and, if necessary, revise it.
  • It is the duty of the responsible body to implement its accessibility plan. The Equality Act 2010 emphasised that the accessibility plan should set out how the school plans to increase access for disabled pupils to the curriculum, the physical environment and to information. 
The Statutory Policies for Schools (Sept 2014) states that It is a requirement that maintained schools, academies, free schools, independent schools, sixth-form colleges, further education colleges and Pupil referral units must review their accessibility plan every three years. It also states that approval should be by the governing body however, they are free to delegate the approval right to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the Headteacher. The LA has provided schools with a model Accessibility Plan.

What can a parent do if they feel their child may have SEN?

Many children have some degree of special educational needs at some stage in their lives. Most of these additional needs are met by the school the child attends.
If a parent/carer thinks their child may have SEN then they should:
Contact the Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENCo) or Manager/ Head teacher /Principal in the education setting alternatively parents/carers may be aware of a lead practitioner or lead service involved with their child and they may be able to provide more information Parents/carers know their children better than anyone and they have a right to take part in decisions about their child’s education. The closer a parent/carer works with their child’s teachers, education setting and other services, the more successful any special help will be.

All schools must have an SEN Policy which sets out how children might be supported in school. Schools also have to publish an SEN Information Report to show how they have implemented their Policy and also how they are meeting their duties under the Equalities Act 2010. The Department for Education (DfE) has published a Parents’ Guide to the SEND Code of Practice January 2015 which can be accessed from the following link:
http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/schools/local-offer-forms-and-guidance
The SAIDSEND Service, Families Information Service and Doncaster Parent Voice parent/carer forum are very helpful and can provide independent information, advice, and/or support.

What is Early Years, School and Further Education SEN support

Education settings have advice from the Department for Education (DfE) on how they should plan and differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of all their children and young people. They have advice on how to assess children and measure their progress.

All education settings must have regard to the duties set out in the SEND Code of Practice January 2015. Education settings have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or someone who carries out this function.

They can also seek specialist advice and support from services such as the Local Authority’s Sensory Impaired Service (Visual and Hearing Impairments), the Educational Psychology Service, the Autism and Social Communication, Education and Training Service (ASCETS), the Engagement and Behaviour Support Service and many others.

They can also seek advice from a range of services in Health, in Social Care and in Education Welfare. Education settings must inform parents/carers if they feel their child has special educational needs requiring special educational provision that is ‘additional to and different from’ that available generally within the setting. This is at a stage called SEN Support and your child should have an individual plan which sets out what outcomes are achievable within an agreed timescale, building on their strengths and interests. SEN Support Plans should be reviewed at least termly and parents/ carers are central to these reviews of their child’s progress.

The Local Authority has provided Guidance including sample forms within an SEN Support framework:
http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/schools/local-offer-forms-and-guidance

What is Assess - Plan - Do - Review?

Education settings must follow an Assess – Plan – Do- Review process over time unless there are very exceptional circumstances such as a life changing accident affecting a child where immediate action needs to be taken in the best interests of the child. Education settings must use their best endeavours to identify, assess, plan, meet and evaluate a child’s needs and progress and call upon external specialists, including an Educational Psychologist, and should meet with parents at least 3 times a year.
Educational Psychology Service
T - 01302 737291
E - admin.eps@doncaster.gov.uk

For a full overview of the service please visit the following page:

How are education settings funded?

Since April 2013, education settings have been funded according to a national framework. Settings have a duty to meet the needs of all the children and young people on their roll, including those with SEN.

Mainstream school and post 16 settings The national threshold is approximately £10k per year made up of an element for core quality first teaching for every child and up to £6,000 for effective additional support for children with special educational needs. This threshold is the responsibility of the setting before a Local Authority (LA) considers providing additional top up funding, usually through a statutory plan.

In mainstream schools a 'notional budget' for SEN additional support is made up of formula factors linked to the children who are on the school's roll when the School Census is counted in October each year. It is not the case that every child identified as having SEN has £6,000 that must be spent on them individually.

Education settings should be flexible in the use of this funding as some children may need more or less support at different times. Additional interventions may best be delivered in small groups rather than creating an over -dependency on 1:1 adult support. Early Years' settings Early years settings receive place funding for eligible 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

The LA's Pre-school Inclusion Team (PSIT) provides advice, support and training to these settings. Pre-school mainstream settings, whether Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) or a school based nursery setting, can also apply for the Early Intervention Allowance (EIA) where additional adult support may be required to enable a child to participate and access learning alongside their peers.

The request is submitted to the Early Years Panel via the PSIT who can also advise on the criteria and monitoring arrangements. Special schools and mainstream attached specialist resource bases LA maintained special schools and specialist resources attached to mainstream schools are funded on a ‘place plus’ model. These settings are funded at £10k per agreed place available. The school also receives an additional top up amount for each child on roll, agreed between the LA and the individual school.

In Doncaster maintained special schools, the top up funding ranges from around £5,000 for children with learning difficulties and additional needs to £15,000 for children with the most profound and multiple learning difficulties. Non-maintained special schools in and outside the Doncaster borough are also funded on the basis of a £10,000 place plus a top up which the provider negotiates with the placing Local Authority. Independent special schools, located in and outside the Doncaster borough, are not subject to the national funding formula. The cost of these placements is usually higher than other special schools and is negotiated between the placing Local Authority and the provider. The Local Authority has a duty to comply with a parental or young person's preference for a particular setting but must also ensure that it uses public resources as efficiently as possible in making a decision on the most appropriate education placement to meet needs. Please note that assessed and agreed transport costs are in addition to all place and additional support costs described above.

What funding is available in schools for SEN support?

The majority of children with special educational needs (SEN) have their needs met within their local mainstream school. Each school has a designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), who has responsibility for co-ordinating special educational provision within the school. All local mainstream schools have funding within their school budget to meet the special educational needs of their children.

The Department for Education has set a minimum amount of approximately £10,000 per child for schools to use their own resources to meet core teaching and additional adult support costs. Above this threshold, schools can request the Local Authority to consider whether a statutory Education Health Care (EHC) needs assessment may be required or the need to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The deployment of all available resources is the responsibility of the School's Governing Body and Headteacher/ Principal. It enables schools to deploy resources flexibly for provision that is additional to and different from that usually available to and required for all the children. Doncaster has published Guidance ‘SEN Core Principles’ which sets out broadly what schools should provide and when this may need the Local Authority to provide further support. Mainstreams schools in Doncaster may reasonably be expected to make the following provision from within their own budgets for children with SEN but without an Education, Health and Care Plans.

Schools should have the following in place:
• An Individual Plan such as an SEN Support Plan or an Individual/ group Provision Map may be in place for each child with SEN at SEN Support.
•The arrangement of class or teaching groups, for the whole or part of the school day, should take into account the needs of children with SEN.
• Access to specialist services provided by the Local Authority under agreement with the school, such as the Engagement and Behavior Support Service or the Educational Psychology Service.
• School policies and programmes that enable children with SEN to be as fully included within the social and academic life of the school as possible.
• Additional learning support to assist children with health or self-care needs, where these relate to children’s needs.
• The provision of specialist resources to enable children with SEN to access the curriculum. Updated 4 April 2016
• The provision of smaller items of equipment to enable individual children to access the curriculum.
• Close liaison with parents/carers to support the child with SEN, including their involvement in the design of their SEN Support Plans.
• Access to specialist facilities to enable curriculum materials and resources to be adapted for children with significant visual impairment.
• Radio aids for children with significant hearing impairment, when recommended by the Local Authority's specialist teacher.
• Reasonable adjustments to the physical environment of the school. Research shows that additional support should enable a child or young person to be as independent as possible and only in exceptional situations would a child need high levels of 1:1 adult support across the day.

What funding and services are provided additionally by the Local Authority?

Doncaster Local Authority (LA) funds a range of specialist services from its High Needs Block budget to meet the needs of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

These services are available whether or not a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). All services work in close partnership with families and other agencies including health and social care.
• Specialist teachers and other key workers provide support for pre-school children with SEN. This includes the Portage Service for children in the home and the Pre-Inclusion Team for children in pre-school settings.
• Specialist teachers and support staff a) for children with a visual impairment (VI) and b) for children with hearing impairment (HI) provide advice and resources to education settings to enable these children to access an appropriately differentiated curriculum alongside their peers.
• Specialist teachers and support staff in the LA's Autism Social Communication Education and Training Service (ASCETS), provide advice to education settings to enable children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to participate in the social life of the setting and access an appropriately differentiated curriculum. The LA also funds outreach workers from Stone Hill and Coppice Special Schools with expertise in meeting the needs of children with social communication needs and associated barriers to learning.
• Specialist outreach workers to advise settings on the safe moving and handling of children and to enable children with a physical impairment and/or significant medical need to access the curriculum and participate in learning alongside their peers.
• Support from outreach workers from Pennine View and Northridge special schools and mainstream primary and secondary Learning Centre’s, to advise schools on differentiating the curriculum, effective strategies and targeted interventions designed to support children with learning difficulties or social, emotional and mental health needs and/ or challenging behaviors. Schools can access funding from the High Needs Block to meet exceptional needs such as complex medical needs but no SEN or if they can evidence a disproportionate SEN profile compared to their notional SEN budget. The Local Authority provides specialist services for education settings from resources other than the High Needs Block, including the Learner Engagement and Behaviour Service and the Educational Psychology Service. Guidance and training is also provided on the effective deployment and monitoring of SEN resources in schools.

Updated - 4th April 2016

What if a child has significant and complex SEN and needs extra resources?

What are the steps in the Statutory Assessment Process?

Local Authorities, Health Services and education settings must have regard to the statutory duties and other guidance set out in the SEND Code of Practice January 2015.

A small number of children have difficulties which extend over wider areas of the curriculum, are more severe in nature and/or are longer-lived and are deemed to place the child within the designation of SEN. For a small minority of children their difficulties are such that the Local Authority will undertake a statutory assessment of the child's needs.

From September 2014 a statutory assessment will consider special educational needs together with health and social care needs. When a request is made, the child will have demonstrated 'significant cause for concern' despite all relevant and purposeful action being taken. The education setting, or other practitioner, such as a Portage worker, health visitor or social worker, may bring a child to our attention.

They should provide the Local Authority with a range of information including: evidence of how the child and family have been involved the child’s strengths, special educational needs and any health and care needs relating to their SEN the outcomes for the child: i.e. what will s/he be able to do that they cannot do currently the interventions and strategies in place and an evaluation of the impact of these on improving outcomes for the child the resources or special arrangements that they have already made available the specialist advice they have acted upon over time.

The Local Authority has provided Guidance and a form (SEHCAR1) to enable settings and services to provide the information expected under the SEND Code of Practice. http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/schools/local-offer-forms-and-guidance
Parents/ carers, and young people over compulsory school age who are able to make decisions in this area, also have the right to request a statutory assessment. You can either write to the SEN Team at the Local Authority and/or use the same SEHCAR1 form as settings and services, completing as much information as possible.

If your child (or the young person) is in an education setting, the setting will also be asked to complete the SEHCAR1 form. It is helpful to speak to the setting first before you send in a request. Sample letters are in the sources of information section above.

If parents/carers would like to speak to someone before sending in a request, please ask to speak to a member of the SEN Team who can be contacted on telephone number is 01302 737296.
Forms and other documents, can be sent via email to: sen@doncaster.gov.uk. We are able to contact you via email with your permission.

What happens if the Local Authority decision is NOT to proceed?

The Local Authority may decide that the evidence does not support a statutory needs assessment and that the child’s needs should be met through school -based SEN Support. In these situations the Local Authority will explain the reasons to the parent and to the education setting and set out what they should do next to continue to meet the child’s needs.
The Local Authority will also set out the rights of appeal.
If parents, and young people over the age of 16 if they are able to make their own decision, disagree with this decision, they first have to consider mediation and have a right of appeal through The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

What happens if the Local Authority decided TO proceed with a statutory assessment?

If the Local Authority feels that it should assess the child formally, it must seek statutory advice from all the services and settings involved and ask the child and family for their views, wishes and feelings.. The SEN Service and the lead practitioner will provide further information and support to the family. Everyone has 6 weeks to return their advice and reports. The statutory assessment will provide information on the following:
• The child’s strengths
• The child and family’s views, wishes and feelings
• The special education, health and care needs
• How the needs can best be met
• Special resources, equipment or input
• Access to buildings, curriculum etc.
• What outcomes are desired: what will the child be able to do that they can not do now?

What happens after a Statutory Assessment and the Local Authority decide to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan?

If, following a statutory assessment, the Local Authority decides that a child requires support above what must be provided by the setting, an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be issued. This will be drafted in consultation with the family. It will not say at this stage where the child will go to school. The family has 15 days to give their views on the content in the EHCP. They can express a preference for a named setting and confirm if, and how, they would like to take up the offer of a Personal Budget.

If a child’s parent or a young person makes a request for a particular nursery, school or post-16 institution in these groups the Local Authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:
• it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
• the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.

A final EHCP must be issued within 20 weeks of the initial request being received and it will name an education setting although there are some exceptions allowed. Parents and young people have a right of appeal at this stage through The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. It important that the EHCP is specific and identifies all the child's needs and that it matches detailed provision to meet these needs and the identified outcomes.

What happens if the Local Authority decision is NOT to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan?

Sometimes the Local Authority’s view is that the statutory assessment advice says that an EHCP is NOT needed. If this is the case, the Authority will explain in writing and also say how the education setting should continue to meet the child’s needs. Parents, and the young person if they are over 16 and able to make a decision, have the right to appeal against the Local Authority's decision through The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal after mediation has been considered.

How will my child's EHCP be monitored and reviewed?

Education settings should meet with parents at least 3 times a year and they are responsible for ensuring that the EHCP is delivered throughout the year. Ultimately the Local Authority is responsible for ensuring the child or young person receives the provision specified. The purpose of an Annual Review is to ensure that at least once a year the parents, pupil, Local Authority, school and all the professionals involved monitor and evaluate the continued effectiveness and relevance of the provision set out in the Education, Health and Care Plan. The meeting should:
• Consider progress by the pupil towards the Outcomes in the EHCP
• Consider if the EHCP requires amendment, and if so, how
• Discuss and set new targets and review progress towards the agreed Outcomes
• Ensure that any phase transitions such as transfer from nursery (FS1) to Reception (FS2); primary to secondary school or 14-19 transition requirements are considered and followed according to the timeline set out in the SEND Code of Practice.

Educated otherwise than at school: Elective home education (EHE) - FAQ's

 

For further information contact the SEN Team on the contact details below:

T: 01302 737209 or 737210 or 737211

E: sen@doncaster.gov.uk

Last updated: 19 November 2018 16:13:23