Children and young people with SEN all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children and young people of the same age. These children and young people may need extra or different help from that given to others.

What to do if you think your child has a special educational need

Talk to your child's school. They will listen and explain what they think and what will happen next.

You can also access independent information, advice and support by contacting the Kirklees Information Advice and Support Service (KIAS)

How schools decide whether a child has SEN

High quality teaching (the school's core offer) that is differentiated and personalised will meet the individual needs of most children and young people. Where a school is worried about a child's progress it is important that it has early discussions with parents/carers, this will help to get a shared understanding of the child's strengths and difficulties. The school will set individual targets for the child, do different things to help them to progress and will continue to review their progress. If the school is still concerned it might try to change what it is doing. However, it might decide that the child does have SEN because something additional and different is needed (over and above its core offer) to help them to make progress.

If the school or setting does decide that a child has SEN then it must contact parents/carers to let them know and to discuss with them what support to provide. Parents/carers will normally have already been involved in early discussions with the school when concerns first started.

Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)

Every mainstream school must make sure that there is a teacher who is the SENCO for the school. The main responsibilities of a SENCO may include:

  • co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
  • talking to the parents of pupils with SEN
  • talking to other schools where a child might be coming from or going to
  • being a key point of contact for educational psychologists and other support services, health and social care professionals
  • ensuring that the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date
  • advising school staff on the graduated approach to providing SEN support
  • working with the Headteacher and governors to develop the SEN policy and to oversee the day-to-day operation of the policy

After SEN have been identified

When a child is identified as having SEN, schools should provide SEN support. SEN support takes the form of a four-part cycle for 'Assess, Plan, Do and Review'. This is known as the graduated approach.

Assess

A child's needs must be assessed so that the right support can be put in place. This assessment will normally include the views of the parents/carers and the child, formal assessment information and sometimes advice and further assessment from other professionals such as a specialist teacher or an educational psychologist.

Plan

The school will need to agree, with the involvement of the parents/carers and the child, the outcomes that the SEN support is intended to achieve - in other words, how the child will benefit from the support they get. All those involved will need to have a say in deciding what kind of support will be provided, and when it will be reviewed.

Do

The school will put the planned support in place. The teacher is responsible for working with the child on a daily basis, but the SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO) and those involved in providing support will work closely together to track the child's progress and make sure that the support is working.

Review

The support the child receives should be reviewed regularly and at the time agreed in the plan. The review is a chance to see if the support is helping, whether outcomes have or are being achieved and if any changes should be made.

How schools record information about children receiving SEN support

Schools can decide on their own approach to record keeping. The support given to a child with SEN should be recorded accurately and kept up to date. Most schools in Kirklees use a combination of provision maps and Individual Education Plans (IEPs)/Additional Needs Plans or My Support Plans. The information recorded (and specific to the child) should be readily shared with parents/carers in a clear and accessible format.

Provision maps

Provision maps are a clear way for schools to show all the provision they make that is additional to or different from that which is offered through the school's curriculum. SENCOs can highlight sections of a provision map so that parents/carers can see the support that has been provided for their child. Alongside this schools will also keep notes of discussions with parents/carers including agreed outcomes and also tracking data/information about progress.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Additional Needs Plans (ANPs)

Schools have used IEPs/ANPs for many years and use different formats and layouts. However they all contain information that is specific to the child and should include a summary of identified strengths and needs, agreed outcomes, targets and clear details of the support being provided. IEPs/ANPs will also record summaries of review discussions and any changes to be made following the review.

My Support Plans

The majority of children will have their needs met and make progress with schools using their own approach to planning and recording as described above, ie. provision maps, IEPs/ANPs. However, some children will need a more coordinated and personalised planning approach to meeting their SEN. In these cases the school will decide whether a My Support Plan is necessary, particularly if:

  • a child continues to make limited progress despite SEN support delivered by appropriately trained staff
  • a number of professionals are involved and a shared understanding of strengths and needs and joint agreement of outcomes and actions is important

Kirklees has developed the My Support Plan in partnership with the parent carer forum (PCAN), schools, early years practitioners and representatives from Education, Health and Social Care.

When children don't make expected progress with SEN support

Most children will have their needs very well met with SEN support. However, a small number may need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC Plan. The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet a child/young person's SEN and secure the best possible outcomes for them. When considering whether an EHC needs assessment is needed, the council will ask for evidence, including a lot of information from the school.

Before the council agrees to an EHC needs assessment they will want know that the school has taken relevant and purposeful (what the council expects schools to provide from their own delegated budget) action to identify, assess and meet their special educational needs, and despite that the child has not made expected progress. If progress has been made, the council will want to see evidence that this has only been as a result of a high level/more support than is usually provided.

The information that Kirklees Council asks for when considering EHC needs assessment normally includes:

  • My Support Plan; this provides the council with a lot of the information it needs such as the child and family views including aspirations, information about the nature and extent of the child's SEN and the action already taken by school and including other services. The council normally expects that the My Support Plan will have been reviewed at least twice so that there has been enough time to see if it is helping the child to make progress
  • a request form - which the school is also asked to complete - which includes details of the child's academic attainments and rates of progress as well as rates of progress across the full range of the child's SEN

How children with SEN are funded in mainstream schools

Some money is already within schools budget (delegated) to support children with SEN as follows:

Element 1: Core Educational/School place funding (sometimes referred to as the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU))

Schools get most of their funding based on the total number of pupils in the school. Every pupil in a school attracts an amount of money and this is the core budget for each school. It is used to make general provision for all pupils in the school including pupils with SEN.

Element 2: The School's Notional SEN Budget

Within the schools block formula allocation there is a 'notional' budget for SEN. The amount in this budget is based on a formula which has been agreed between the schools and Kirklees. It is the responsibility of each school to make sure the 'notional SEN budget' caters sufficiently for the special educational needs of the children and young people in their school. Schools have a duty to identify, assess and make special educational provision for all children with SEN; and the council has a duty to set out what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget.

A school should use its notional SEN budget to fund up to £6,000 worth of special educational provision for a pupil with SEN (over and above the basic entitlement of all pupils including those with SEN (Element 1)), including those with EHC Plans. Not all pupils with SEN require special educational provision up to the amount of £6,000, it will depend on the individual needs of each pupil.

Element 3: High needs Block - Top Up

If the council decides that special educational provision for a child or young person should be made through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan then the council will give additional educational funding over and above the funding already delegated to the school (Elements 1 and 2). Top up funding is given to enable the school to make the special educational provision to meet the educational outcomes identified in the EHC Plan. This is called high needs 'top up' funding. The level of top up funding for each pupil is given at four levels, ie A, B, C or D depending on the type and level of need of each pupil.

The Local Authority expects a school to fully use their Element 1 & 2 funding appropriately and in accordance with what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget.

School's Information Report

Schools must publish SEN information about how they put in place their policy for pupils with SEN and it should be available on the school's website. It should be written for parents and families, and should give answers to the questions they may ask.

A number of schools are now involving parents in the development and review of their SEN Information Report which should be reviewed, updated and amended regularly (at least every year) to reflect any changes in provision.

Further guidance, advice and support

Contact SEN Assessment and Commissioning Team