For parents with children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), life can be even more difficult as you try to support them through the education system. It is even more important for these parents to choose the right school.
Most mainstream schools have an inclusive policy which means that despite any special educational need or disability they must be able to provide the appropriate support; they must also follow the government SEN code of practice.
All schools employ a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) this person is in charge of putting a personal educational plan (PEP) in place for all SEND students in the school so that they get the right support in order to succeed in their academic studies.
The type of support provided for your child will depend on their needs. It’s important for you to understand the different categories in which a child may be considered SEND.
A statement is a document which outlines the child’s special educational need and what strategies should be used by teachers and staff to support the child. A statement can take up to 26 weeks to be put together after referral from the parents and school. A statement can be turned down, but you do have the right to appeal to the SEND tribunal.
The term School Action (SA) is used for a child who needs early intervention because they are not making the necessary levels of progress and there is a need for action to be taken. This lack of progress could be caused due to emotional, behavioural or social problems.
School Action Plus
The term School Action Plus (SA+) is used to refer to a child who has had intervention from SA but it has not been successful in improving progress. The school will then seek support from external agencies such as Social Services, LEA advisors or the local health authority in order to help improve the child’s academic chances.
What to do if you feel like your child is not getting the right support?
If you believe that your child is not getting the right support from their school, speak directly with your child’s head of year; ask for a report about what is being done to support your child in their lessons. You can request a meeting with the school if you wish, that way you can meet with particular teachers to discuss concerns.
Once your child leaves secondary education there is always the worry that they will not be supported for their SEND needs in employment, further and higher education, but this is not true.