Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support in Mainstream Schools
What is SEN support?
SEN support is when a child or young person gets help in education that is extra or different from the support generally given to most of the other children of the same age.
The purpose of SEN support is to help children and young people achieve the outcomes set for them by the school in conjunction with parents and pupils themselves.
Each school has to have an SEN information report which gives information about the SEN provision at the school. You can usually find this on a school’s website.
The Local offer website https://localoffer.northlincs.gov.uk/ published by North Lincolnshire Council also sets out what support it expects early year’s settings, schools and colleges to do to support children and young people with SEN or disabilities.
How is SEN identified?
For some children SEN can be identified at an early age and for other children and young people difficulties only show as they get older.
When a child attends a school, the school should assess their skills and attainment and do regular assessments of their progress. This helps them to identify if the child isn’t making the progress that they would have expected given their age and circumstances.
If a school thinks that a child may have SEN or has SEN, they may make some changes in the way that they teach the child by focusing their teaching on the areas of difficulty.
All schools must have a teacher who is responsible for co-ordinating the SEN provision (this does not apply to 16 to 19 academies). They are called a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). Where the child’s progress continues to be less than expected the teacher and the school SENCo should assess whether the child has SEN. They should also speak to parents and the child about this.
The Special Educational Need and Disability Code of Practice says that parents know their children best and it is important that all professionals listen and understand when parents express concerns about their child’s development. It also says that if a school identifies that a child requires SEN support they must tell parents.
What happens at SEN support?
The SEND Code of Practice says that school must do everything they can to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need.
SEN support involves a four part cycle, assess, plan, do and review, this is known as a graduated approach.
Teaching staff should work with the SENCo to assess a child’s needs so that they can give the right support. They should involve parents and the child in this process.
Sometimes schools will get advice from another professional, for example, they might ask for an Educational Psychologist to see a child so that they can do a thorough assessment.
Having a clear written plan is really important. The school should agree with parents and the child the learning outcomes that will form the plan, along with what support will be provided and this will help the child to make progress. All teachers and support staff who work with the child should be made aware of the support that is being put in place.
The ‘Do’ stage refers to action that is taken to help a child in school. A child’s teacher is responsible for the work that is done with a child and they should work closely with any teaching assistants or staff involved to monitor and record the work done so they can see what is working well and anything that needs to change to make it better. The SENCo will work with the teacher to put the right support in place to help the child.
The school should meet with parents and the child to review your child’s progress and the difference that any extra support has made at least three times a year. Parents and the child should always be involved in the review meeting and in planning the next steps.
You can find out more about SEN support in mainstreams school by:
Looking at the SEN information report on the schools website.
Talking to your child’s teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
Reading chapter 6 of the SEND Code of Practice.