Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support at school

How mainstream schools support children with SEND.

All children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress so that they:

  • achieve their best
  • become confident individuals living fulfilling lives
  • make a successful transition into adulthood - into employment, further or higher education or training.

What is SEND support?

Every child with identified SEND should have support. This means help that is additional to or different from the support generally given to other children of the same age.

The purpose of SEND support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school. Schools should involve parent carers in this process.

The Local Offer published by West Sussex County Council sets out what support early years settings, schools and colleges need to make for all children and young people with SEND.

SEND support can take many forms, including:

  • a special learning programme for your child
  • extra help from a teacher or a learning support assistant
  • making or changing materials and equipment
  • working with your child in a small group
  • observing your child in class or at break and keeping records
  • helping your child to take part in the class activities
  • making sure your child has understood things by encouraging them to ask questions and to try something they find difficult
  • helping other children work with your child, or play with them at break time
  • supporting your child with physical or personal care, such as eating, getting around school safely, toileting or dressing.

Schools' duties to make SEND provision

The schools' duties are set out in the SEND Code of Practice. It says all schools must:

  • use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEND gets the support they need. This means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEND
  • ensure that children and young people with SEND engage in the activities of the school, alongside pupils who do not have SEND
  • designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEND provision - the SEND coordinator, or (SENCO)
  • inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • publish a SEND information report with:
    • their arrangements for the admission of children with SEND
    • the steps being taken to prevent children with SEND being treated less favourably than others
    • the facilities provided to enable access to the school for children with SEND
    • their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time.

You can find the report on the school’s website. You can also ask your child’s teacher or the school’s SENCO for information on the SEND provision made by the school.

SEND support decisions

Class and subject teachers should make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. The senior leadership team should support this process.

The assessment should identify pupils making less progress than expected, taking into account their age and individual circumstances. The school should then decide if a child needs SEND support.

The school should talk to you and your child about this. If a young person is 16 or older, the school should involve them directly.

Sometimes you may be the first to be aware that your child has some special educational needs. If you think your child may need SEND support you should talk to your child’s teacher or to the SENCO.

If you are not happy about the support your child has, you can ask to talk to the SENCO or head teacher.

A graduated approach

Where a pupil is identified as having SEND, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.

When your child is identified as having SEND, the school should use a graduated approach based on four steps.

These are:

1. Assess

Teaching staff should work with the SENCO to assess your child’s needs, so that they give the right support. They should involve you in this and, where possible, seek your child’s views.

Schools should take seriously any concerns raised by a parent. Sometimes schools will seek advice from a specialist teacher or a health professional. They should talk to you about this first.

2. Plan

If the school decides that your child needs SEND support, it must tell you. The school should talk with you about the outcomes that will be set, what help will be provided and agree a date for progress to be reviewed.

3. Do

Your child’s class or subject teacher is usually responsible for the work that is done with your child, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved. The school should tell you who is responsible for the support your child receives.

All those who work with your child should be made aware of:

  • their needs and the outcomes sought
  • the support provided
  • any teaching strategies or approaches required.

4. Review

The school should review your child’s progress and the difference the help given to your child has made. This should be on the date agreed in the plan. You and your child should be involved in the review and in planning the next step.

Schools should meet with parent carers at least three times a year.

Sometimes other professionals can help with further assessments or to support planning the next steps. If your child has not made reasonable progress, it will be important to agree with the school what should happen next.

Where can I get more information, advice or support?

You can find out more about SEND support by:

  • looking at the SEND information report on the school's website
  • talking to your child’s teacher or the school's SENCO
  • reading the SEND Code of Practice.

You can also get in touch with West Sussex SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS). They can give you:

  • information about SEND support, including information about SEND funding
  • advice about what to do if you are not happy with the support your school is providing
  • information about other organisations, support groups and information services that could help
  • information and advice about your rights to request an EHC needs assessment.

Helpline: 033 022 28555

Email: send.ias@westsussex.gov.uk

You can also visit the SENDIAS page about SEN Support.