A special education need is a learning difficulty or disability. The difficulty or disability can be supported through special educational provision.

Special educational provision is anything that supports a child’s learning that is additional to, or different from, that which other children of the same age generally get. For example, a child may receive support from a teaching assistant, or they may receive intervention classes for reading.

All children progress at different paces. You should speak to the school, in particular the class teacher, to voice your concerns and to see how they are supporting your child to progress.

The first step is to speak to your child’s school/nursery. You can raise your concerns with the class teacher or with the school’s SENCO. It may be that they have put provision in place to support your child. Schools are required to use their ‘best endeavours’ to ensure that pupils are not disadvantaged by SEND.

All schools must take into account the views and concerns of parents/carers and children. If a child is not making progress, or if they are having behavioural problems, it may be an indication of unmet needs.

This will depend on the type of need your child has. The school will decide what support to put in place, and this support should be outlined in a written plan. This support should also be reviewed at regular points, and outcomes of the reviews should be communicated to you. Some examples of SEN support include:

• 1 to 1 teaching assistant support

• Visual aids

• Symbol cards

• Word-banks

• Emotional literacy support

• Exit cards

• Access to SEN base

• Reasonable adjustments to behaviour policy

Here you will find our fact sheet on SEN Support in Mainstream Schools.

The best way to decide which school will be best for your child is to arrange to visit a number of schools. During school visits you will be able to speak to staff, and you should also have an opportunity to speak to the school’s SENCO.

Here you will find more information on Schools and Questions to Ask on School Visits.

You can also visit the BCP SEND Local Offer for further information on schools.

The school should contact you to outline the details of the suspension / exclusion and the length of suspension. Children with SEN may be suspended / excluded for reasons which arise from their needs not being properly met. With this in mind, it is vital to understand the context of the suspension / exclusion, and to discuss with the school the current support in place for your child.

Beware of ‘informal/unofficial exclusions’, such as when a child is sent home to cool off, or when a child is put on a part-time timetable’ – these are unlawful regardless of whether the parent/carer has agreed. The School Inclusion team supports the inclusion of children and young people, who have identified SEND but no EHCP, or those who have yet to have their needs identified, but may be falling foul of school behaviour policies, such as suspension / exclusion, or not attending, or there are other concerns regarding attendance. Parent can self-refer by emailing schoolinclusion@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

If your child has an EHCP it is important that you meet with the school to discuss the support they have in place for your child – you should also contact the Local Authority SEND team, who will be able to advise you on your next steps. You can email them at sendbso@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Here you will find our fact sheet on Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions.

Choosing to home-educate is a big decision, and it is important to be aware of what it means and the implications.

Here you will find our fact sheet on Elective Home Education.

If a child or young person needs more support than the school can provide, the school, the parents/carers, or the young person can request that the Local Authority conduct an EHC needs assessment with a view to getting a better understanding of the child’s needs. This may lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

An Education, Health and Care Plan is a legal document that describes, in as much detail as possible, a child or young person’s special educational needs and associated health and care needs; it will also set out the specific provision that will be put in place to support those needs.

Here you will find our fact sheet on EHC Plans.

Parents and young people have a legal right to request that a particular school or college is named in an EHCP (you can also express a preference for an independent school or college). The only reasons that a local authority can refuse the request is if:

• The setting is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude, or SEN of the child or young person; or

• The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient education of others; or

• The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources.

Here you will find our fact sheet on Choosing a School / College with an EHC Plan.

Only a small percentage of children with SEN will have an EHCP. About 20% of children in school are said to have SEN; about 2-3% of children have an EHCP: so, about 10-15% of children with SEN will have an EHCP. The vast majority of children with SEN will have their needs met in the school through quality-first teaching.

Either the parents/carers of the child, or the young person can request an EHC Needs Assessment – the school can also make the request.

Here you will find a template letter to make a parental request for an EHC Needs Assessment.

In the first instance, it is recommended that parents/carers speak to the school before making the request. It might be that more support can be put into place.

The Local Authority have a deadline of 6 weeks to decide whether they will assess the child or young person, and following this, whether or not to issue a plan. If they decide that they will issue a plan, a ‘Draft’ will first be prepared – the parents/carers will then review this and respond within 15 days. The whole process from request to final plan being issued should not take more than 20 weeks.

Here you will find our fact sheet on EHC Needs Assessments.

You can appeal the decision through the SEND Tribunal. This should be done within 2 months of receiving the Local Authority’s decision letter. Details of how to appeal with be contained in the decision letter.

Here you will find our fact sheet on Appealing against a SEN Decision.

You can appeal the following:

• Refusal to conduct an EHC needs assessment

• Refusal to issue an EHCP following a needs assessment

• EHCP has been issued, but you disagree with content of Section B (description of SEN), Section F (SEN provision), and Section I (educational setting).

• Refusal to amend EHCP following an Annual Review.

• Decision to cease EHCP.

Here you will find more information on SEND Tribunals.

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