All mainstream schools and Early Years settings must provide support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). A person is considered to have SEN if they have an intellectual disability (also known as a learning disability) or a condition that makes it harder for them to learn, and they need more support than other pupils who are the same age.
What is SEN support?
The learning and development needs of most children will be met by the support they receive in their early years setting, school or college. However, some children and young people may need a little more assistance through a process called SEN support. This means that they should receive help that is additional to or different from the support generally given to most of the other children of the same age. Special educational provision is commonly known as SEN Support.
The sooner the Special Educational Need (SEN) is identified the sooner arrangements for meeting the identified needs can be put into place.
For more in depth information you can access information from IPSEA - what is SEN support?
Getting SEN support
To decide whether SEN support is necessary, the early years setting, school or college will make on-going assessments of children and young people (CYP). Parents should be involved in the needs assessment. You might hear schools and other people talking about the ‘The Graduated Approach’.
This process is a way to plan and assess support put in place to help children. The support is implemented to help children and young people make good progress in their learning and development. It is a four part cycle and the educational setting should:
- Assess - Observe child and consider what support is needed
- Plan - Decide what support is required
- Do - Implement the support which is set out in the plan
- Review - Have a discussion on how well the support is helping the child
What SEND might my child have?
Communication and interaction
This means your child may struggle to speak or to understand what is being said to them. They may also have difficulties with social interactions and with following social rules about communication.
Cognition and learning
This means your child may learn at a slower pace than other children the same age or struggle with things like memory or organisation. They might only have difficulties with one specific part of their learning such as literacy or numeracy.
Social emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties
This means your child may find it difficult to manage their emotions, relationships and being around other people. They may become withdrawn and behave in ways that are not helpful to their learning, health or wellbeing.
Sensory or physical needs
This means your child may have a sensory impairment or a physical disability that means they need extra support and resources to be able to access their learning.
What should you do?
If you feel that your child may need SEN support you can ask for a meeting with the class teacher to discuss this. It's worth remembering that SEN support in school is delivered in many different ways and this will depend on the needs of the child or young person. Support might include:
- extra help in class from a teacher or teaching assistant
- changing materials and equipment
- having your child work in small groups
- support to take part in class activities
- with physical or personal care needs
- special programmes tailored for your child's need
What if I'm not happy with the support being provided?
If you are not happy about the help that your child is receiving the first step is to talk to their teacher, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) or the headteacher. We can help you to prepare for a meeting with school.
If you are still unhappy after speaking to staff you can make a complaint or follow the disagreement resolution process.
You could also think about whether a EHC needs assessment might be helpful might be helpful.
All early years settings, schools and colleges should use their 'best endeavours' to make sure that a children and young people with SEN gets the support they need.
Mainstream schools can receive money for SEN support and resources when more expensive provision is necessary -the local authority can provide top-up funding.
For younger children, aged 0-4 years who attend school nurseries, private, voluntary and independent provisions, including childminders - Early Years Inclusion Funding is available, which is commonly referred to as Early Intervention Allowance (EIA). You can find out more about the provision for younger children on Doncaster's Local Offer.
Schools should provide a clear description of the types of special education provision they normally provide to parents of children with SEN understand what they can expect the school to provide - all Doncaster schools provide this and it is known as 'schools contribution to the local offer'