Support for SEND

SEN Support in mainstream school - ages 5 to 16

SEN Support in school

SEN support is help given to children and young people that is additional to (or different from) the support generally given to other children of the same age, specifically to help with their special educational needs. Most children on SEN Support in mainstream schools are supported from the resources that the school already has; some will get just a bit of help and some will get lots, up to £6,000 worth in some cases, equivalent of up to about 13.5 hours of additional help per week in Buckinghamshire.

For full details, watch our webinar, funded by FACT Bucks, the parent carer forum: FACT Bucks/SENDIAS SEN Support webinar October 2021

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)

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 most of the other children of the same age.

The purpose of SEN support is to help children and young people achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school in conjunction with parents and pupils themselves. 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 for information on the SEN provision made by the school.

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 to 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
  • advice and/or extra help from specialists such as specialist teachers, educational psychologists and therapists

When schools want to call in specialists they should discuss and agree this with parents.

Help for SEN Support in Buckinghamshire is called Ordinarily Available Provision This guide sets out in detail what support schools should make for all children and young people with SEN or disabilities.

You can find NHS information, advice and local news about children's health issues and conditions and what is available to help on the Health for Kids Buckinghamshire website.

What SEN support will my child have

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. Any plans will work best if your child or young person is involved as much as possible.

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.

This may be at a parents evening, a support plan meeting or a review. You can ask for a written copy of any support plan in place for your child.

School governors are responsible for the school’s policy on SEN and how the resources are used. The headteacher and the SENCo ensure that the policy is put into practice. The SENCo organises support for individual children, but every teacher is responsible for making sure that your child’s special educational needs are met in the classroom. The SEN Information Report on the school’s website tells you more about the arrangements for SEN support and how to contact the SENCo.

A graduated approach

When your child is identified as having SEN, the school should use a graduated approach. This is a cycle of four steps.

These steps are:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Review

SEN Support advice and resources for families and schools

There is advice available for families and schools to make sure that young people with SEND get the best possible SEN Support. This includes advice clinics, helplines, webinars and drop ins.

You can find information about this below

Integrated SEND Team (iSEND)

The integrated SEND team comprises Education, Health and Care Coordinators and managers, specialist teachers and educational psychologists. They are organised in area hubs.

Each area has advice available free of charge for schools supporting children and young people on SEN Support including:

  • Area advice sessions with specialist teachers
  • Advice line – Tuesday afternoons from specialist teachers
  • Virtual consultation sessions with Educational Psychologists
  • SENCo Support Network meetings with SEND Inclusion Officer, Specialist Teachers and Educational Psychologists

The Educational Psychology team also offer:

  • Targeted support for children, schools, and families around areas such as parenting and Emotionally Based School Non-Attendance (EBSNA)
  • The Nurture Groups and Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programmes
  • EP Advice to support early intervention and prevention

Learning disability nurses

Buckinghamshire learning disability nurses work with children and young people aged 5 to 19 with a learning disability who live in Buckinghamshire, attend school full-time for 38 weeks per year or less and have a Buckinghamshire GP. The learning disability must be diagnosed in writing by a healthcare professional, and included in section C of the child's EHC plan, once they have one. The team provides help with behaviour management, continence, staying healthy and sleep management.

This service is provided by Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

SEN funding in mainstream schools

The following information is about funding for special educational needs (SEN) in schools. This includes academies and free schools. This does not include independent schools.

When SEN Support is not enough

Think about what the education provider has already done. For example:

What evidence is there of the graduated approach?

  • reviewed SEN Support plans
  • information about the total hours of support or cost of the support from the last year.

Ask the education provider for this information if you do not have it.  Remember that if the child or young person has been taught in a small group, only a proportion of the hours or cost will benefit them, fore example, a child in a group of 4 for one hour per week will benefit from 15 minutes of small group support per week which is 25% of the total cost.

Could the education provider do more from their own resources?

  1. Has the child or young person been mostly taught on their own, on a part time timetable for more than 6 weeks or even excluded? These may be indicators that the current help isn't  enough to enable the child to be included in activities with other children
  2. Have they had a lot of help but not made progress?
  3. Is the education provider giving  the child  or young person more help than they have resources for, so the help might have to stop? What would be the impact on the child if the help stops?
  4. Maybe everyone agrees the child or young person requires additional support, but it has not been provided, because it is not available without an Education, Health and Care plan
  5. Perhaps the education provider has been providing a great deal of help under SEN Support and now the child or young person is due to move to another education provider which will not be able to give the same level of support, or has a different environment which the child or young person will find very difficult without more help than the education provider can give

Sometimes the next step may be to ask the local authority for an EHC needs assessment. If the school or nursery decides to do this they must involve you. If you think it is needed you can ask for it yourself.