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Some children have needs or disabilities that affect their ability to learn.
These special educational needs (SEN) can include a child's:
The terms 'special educational needs' and 'disability' have legal definitions. These can be found in paragraphs xiii - xxiii of the Introduction to the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice.
Children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) may need extra help because of a range of needs. Paragraphs 6.27 - 6.35 of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice set out four areas of SEN:
Communicating and interacting - for example, where children and young people have speech, language and communication difficulties which make it difficult for them to make sense of language or to understand how to communicate effectively and appropriately with others
Cognition and learning - for example, where children and young people learn at a slower pace than others their age, have difficulty in understanding parts of the curriculum, have difficulties with organisation and memory skills, or have a specific difficulty affecting one particular part of their learning performance such as in literacy or numeracy
Social, emotional and mental health difficulties - for example, where children and young people have difficulty in managing their relationships with other people, are withdrawn, or if they behave in ways that may hinder their and other children's learning, or that have an impact on their health and wellbeing
Sensory and/or physical needs - for example, children and young people with visual and/or hearing impairments, or a physical need that means they must have additional ongoing support and equipment
Some children and young people may have SEN that covers more than one of these areas.
Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability. A disability is described in law (the Equality Act 2010) as 'a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term (a year or more) and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.' This includes, for example, sensory impairments such as those that affect sight and hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.
The Equality Act stipulates that early years providers, schools, colleges, other educational settings and local authorities:
If you think your child may have special educational needs and / or a disability, contact the person in your child's school or nursery responsible for SEN.
This person is called the 'SEN coordinator', or 'SENCO'. Contact the local council or your doctor if your child isn't in a school or nursery.
Contact your local Parent Partnership Service for impartial advice about SEN.
There are stages of support to try and help children with special educational needs and or disability.
If your child is getting the help they need and they're learning well, there's no need for them to go on to the next stage.
If your child has high needs, they won't need to go through earlier stages of support and can get an assessment straight away.
From 1 September 2014 there were changes to the stages of support and the assessment process.
The stages of support were:
Your child's teachers or SENCO will discuss your child's needs with you and decide what help to give. You should be asked about the help your child is given and its results.
This could mean a different way of teaching certain things, or some help from an extra adult.
This is extra help from an external specialist eg a speech therapist.
An assessment of special educational needs is carried out by your local council. Experts and people involved in your child's education will be asked about your child's needs and what should be done to meet them.
A statement of special educational needs describes your child's needs and how they should be met, including what school they should go to.
If your child has a statement of special educational needs, he or she will have a 'transition plan' drawn up in Year 9. This helps to plan for their future after leaving school.
The transition plan gets reviewed each school year.
Your local council will make sure that your child gets the support they need and will work with social services before your child leaves school.
They must also make sure your child gets any education and training they need when they leave school if they're 16 to 18, or 19 to 24 if they've had a learning difficulty assessment (LDA).
From 1 September 2014 there will be changes to the way children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get support.
Statements and learning difficulty assessments (LDA) will be replaced by an education, health and care (EHC) plan. An EHC plan sets out your child's needs and how they should be met.
You may be able to get a personal budget for your child, if they're eligible for an EHC plan. This will give you more say on how money is spent on your child's needs.
Young people in further education and training will also be eligible for an EHC plan, up to the age of 25 in some cases.
You can download the Department for Education's letter to parents on SEND changes.
Your child will transfer by spring 2018 if they have either:
Your child will transfer by spring 2015 if they already get help through any of:
The transfer will happen at a time that makes sense for your child (eg around a termly review) or when they move school (eg nursery to primary).
Councils can choose to transfer children to an EHC plan earlier.
Your local council will let you know when your child is going to transfer.
North Lincolnshire's Transition plan and timetable can be found here
They'll continue to get support and can ask for an EHC plan if both of these apply:
The school and North Lincolnshire Council will work with you to agree what support your child needs.
Your child may need an EHC plan if they have very complex needs. Speak to firstname.lastname@example.org about an assessment.
Speak to your child's school or contact your SEND Information and Support Service (SENDIASS formerly the Parent Partnership Service).
You can also call the free Contact a Family helpline.
Telephone: 0808 808 3555
Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
You can also get help from Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA).
Telephone: 0800 018 4016
Monday to Thursday, 10am to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm
Friday, 1pm to 4pm
Find out about call charges
If you would like further information on all these changes the DfE has produced a helpful guide for parents called 'Special educational needs and disability - A guide for parents and carers'. (August 2014). This guide explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities works.
It may also be useful for staff in:
who are dealing with the parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.
A copy of the guide is available to download here.
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Page Reference: What are special educational needs