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SEN Support


Support in mainstream schools

This information is about the support that mainstream schools should provide for children with special educational needs (SEN).

The SEND Code of Practice says:

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, and make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training. (6.1)


The duties on schools to make SEN provision

The SEND Code of Practice says all schools must:

  • use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN
  • ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision – the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCO
  • inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • publish a SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time. (6.2)

What is SEN support?

Every child with special educational needs should have SEN 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 SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process.

If your child is on School Action or School Action Plus they should transfer to SEN support by September 2015.

Every school must publish a SEN information report about the SEN provision the school makes. You can find this on the school’s website. You can also ask your child’s teacher or the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) for information on the SEN provision made by the school.

The Local offer published by North Yorkshire also sets out what support it expects early year’s settings, schools and colleges to make for all children and young people with SEN or disabilities.  


SEN 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 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.


Who decides what SEN support my child has?

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Class and subject teachers, supported by the senior leadership team, should make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances. (6.17)

The school should then decide if your child needs SEN support. The school should talk to you and your child about this. If a young person is aged 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 SEN support you should talk to your child’s teacher or to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

If you are not happy about the support your child has you can ask to talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator or HeadTeacher.

A graduated approach

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.(6.44)

When your child is identified has having SEN,

The school should use a graduated approach following the cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review:

  • Assess:The class teacher or subject teacher (working with the SENCO) is responsible for carrying out a clear analysis of a pupil’s needs, drawing on teacher assessments and experience of the pupil.
  • Plan:Where it is decided to provide a pupil with SEN Support, the parents must be notified. All teachers and support staff who work with a pupil should be made aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies that are required.
  • Do:The planned interventions should then be put into place. The class or subject teacher should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved and the SENCO should support the class or subject teacher.
  • Review:Reviews should take place and inform feed back into the analysis of the child’s needs. The Code is not prescriptive about how often reviews should take place, but given the Code suggests schools should meet with parents three times a year, good practice would indicate that such reviews will be at least termly. The decision to involve specialists can be taken at any time and should always involve parents

Where, despite the school having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify and meet the pupil’s needs, the pupil is still not making expected progress, the school should consider requesting an Education Health Care assessment. (The parents or young person are also entitled to make such a request.)

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Schools should meet with parents at least three times a year. (6.65)

Sometimes it helps to involve other professionals in further assessment 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.

You and the school can look at the Local Offer to see what support is available that could help achieve your child’s outcomes.

Where can I get more information, advice or support?

You can find out more about SEN Support by:

  • Looking at the SEN Information Report on the school website
  • Talking to your child’s teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator
  • Looking at the Local Offer
  • Reading Chapter 6 of the SEND Code of Practice.
  • The Nasen Guide to SEN Support HERE
  • Visiting the IPSEA pages on SEN support HERE