All children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), should have a universal offer of high quality teaching. This is referred to in the SEN Code of Practice as quality first teaching.
Quality first teaching is high-quality inclusive teaching supported by effective whole school policies. It is the first wave of the National Strategies’ three-wave approach to teaching and invention. When children need something additional to high-quality inclusive teaching to achieve success, it is known as intervention.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families’ guide to personalised learning, published in 2008, summarises quality first teaching as:
The guidance set out in the SEN Code of Practice specifies that: ‘A child or young person has SEND if they have learning difficulties or a disability, which call for specific educational provision to be made for him or her.’
This means that a child or young person has a special educational need (SEN) if they have:
If you are concerned about your child’s progress or feel they need additional help, you should speak with the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school.
Every school must identify and address the SEN of its pupils, and offer support to children with a wide range of SEND needs. The school must also have a qualified teacher designated as a SENCO.
Your child’s school will be able to tell you about the services it offers to support children and young people with SEN. This information will also be published on the school's website, and called local offer or special educational needs (SEND) support.
The SENCO’s responsibilities include:
Part of the funding we receive from the government is used to support our schools, and to provide additional support and funding where it is needed.
Our school finance team ensures that schools get the right level of funding to support all of our children and young people. The funding is broken into three categories.
For mainstream schools, the categories are called elements:
Schools are responsible for allocating their resources. However, schools have a duty to identify, assess and make special provision for all children and young people with SEN. We also have a duty to identify and set out what type of provisions schools are expected to provide.
The government recommends that schools should be using the designated notional SEN budget to pay for up to £6,000 of special educational provision to meet a child’s SEN. Most children with SEN need provision that comes to less than £6,000.
If your child is identified as having SEN, schools should remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place. This should be done from the school’s own resources (SEN budget) in the first instance.
The SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle:
Teachers are required to continually assess, plan, implement and review their teaching approach. This is known as the graduated approach. It allows for earlier decisions and actions to be refined so that your child’s needs are still being met, to ensure they make good progress and secure good outcomes.
Schools are required to identify your child’s needs, drawing on assessment and experience of your child, their progress, attainment, and, where relevant, their behaviour in comparison to their peers and national data. The views of parents and the pupil’s own views should influence the assessment. Information from external services, including health and care professionals, should also be taken into account.
Parents, teachers and support staff who work with your child should be made aware of their needs, outcomes that have been set, support provided and any teaching strategies and approaches, which should all be recorded and monitored regularly.
The class or subject teacher is responsible for your child and should work closely with other staff to ensure they are providing support and monitor its effectiveness.
Regular reviews for your child should take place between all relevant staff and parents. The school is required to:
If after this process, your child still requires additional resources to support their SEN, an application for an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment can be considered.
Your child’s school may ask for advice or support from outside services about how to support your child’s SEN – for example, a speech and language therapist or occupational therapist. Most schools use some of their resources to buy in support from outside services such as educational psychology.
If it has been established that your child or young person's needs cannot be met, the school will ask you to help them prepare the information required to request an EHC needs assessment from our special educational needs team.
As a parent or young person, you also have the right to make a direct request for an assessment.
A professional can request an EHC needs assessment on behalf of a school or post-16 education provider. Where possible, this should be made with the parent’s knowledge and agreement.
If you already have an SSEN or LDA, it is expected that you will be transferred to an EHC plan by 2018.