All children learn at different rates and many will need a bit of extra help at some point during their time in education. A child has special educational needs (SEN) if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made. Special educational provision is when a child needs extra help over and above what is usual. SEN can be in 4 different areas:
- Cognition and learning e.g. dyslexia
- Communication and interaction e.g. autism
- Sensory impairment and/or physical
- Social, emotional and mental health problems
Some children's special educational needs are clear from a very early age, for others these will emerge as they journey towards adulthood. Some children who have SEN will make sufficient progress so the extra help is no longer needed.
In this section we look at identifying the educational support that is available at key points in a child/young person's education. Please click on the link you wish to view, depending on age:
Special Eduucational Needs (SEN) Support
Mainstream schools (including academies), colleges and early years providers must follow a code set down by the government to make sure that children with SEN have their needs met. The code is called ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years’ (2015). This includes a level called ‘SEN support’, where schools follow an Assess-Plan-Do-Review cycle. An education setting may seek expertise from other professionals, review more often and/or provide more detailed support for children with higher levels of need. This can be done at this level of ‘SEN support’.
Additional support (including funding) can be put in place for children and young people attending these mainstream settings. The law states that these settings must make their ‘best endeavours’ to make special educational provision available. This simply means that the law supports schools, colleges and early years providers to be inclusive and supportive. The SEND Code of Practice gives detailed guidance about how to make sure children and young people are well supported.
For more information about what support is available in mainstream schools, colleges and Early Years settings, please see the relevant section for your child’s age.
Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and EHC Plans
For a small number of children and young people with complex special educational needs, an EHC needs assessment may be necessary. This is considered when it may be necessary for a child to have support which is only available with an EHC plan. The new EHC pathway has replaced the former statutory assessment and statement process. Some children with an EHC plan attend a mainstream school and some attend more specialist settings.
Find out more about Education, Health and Care plans here. Whether you are a county or city resident you can contact the Ask Us Nottinghamshire service for advice and support about working through this process. Ask Us can also help if you are unhappy with a decision, and give initial advice on how to appeal or make use of the local Disagreement Resolution process.