SEND support in schools

Every school has a special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) policy. This sets out how they will identify the special educational needs (SEN) of their pupils. To read your school's policy visit their website.

Once your child is identified, support will be given on top of the support given to all pupils.

All mainstream schools (not specialist) can provide support from their own resources. They can also ask for further resources from:

Support in school

If you have any worries about your child at school, you should talk to their teacher. You can also speak with the school's special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO) if you have any further concerns.

If your child has not been identified, they may be showing characteristics under the 4 broad areas of need. These needs are set out in the SEND code of practice.

The 4 broad areas of need are:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • sensory and/or physical needs.

If the school feels that your child has SEN, they should plan extra learning support for them. They should talk to you about this support which may include:

  • additional support from a teacher or teaching assistant
  • special classroom materials and equipment
  • observation throughout the day and keeping records
  • support to overcome challenges by finding different ways to engage
  • support with personal care like eating and dressing.

We want to ensure all education settings are able to provide inclusive education. In partnership with education settings, we have created the SEND inclusion statement. The statement sets out how we will work together to provide inclusiveness, and the SEND mainstream core standards.

The graduated approach

The graduated approach is a 4 part process called the 'assess, plan, do, review cycle'. Over time your education setting will:

  • develop a greater understanding of your child
  • learn what works well for your child
  • determine how best to support their progress.

The SEND Code of Practice says schools should take any concerns from a parent seriously (section 6.45).

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and teachers will look in to the barriers and difficulties your child is experiencing in school. This may involve:

  • looking at work
  • observing your child in lessons or during break and play times
  • carrying out assessments
  • looking at reports from other professionals such as doctors or speech and language therapists
  • discussions with you.

Working with you, the SENCO plans:

  • the support they will put in place to help your child
  • agree the targets for your child’s learning or development
  • decide when the plan will be looked at again to see if it’s working.

The plan is put in place.

How has the support worked and what should we do now?

This cycle is repeated and provision changes over time as an understanding of what works well for your child develops.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s support in school, you should arrange to speak to the SENCO or contact IASK for guidance.

If you have spoken to the SENCO and you are still worried about the support in place, contact us. One of our Provision Evaluation Officers (PEOs) will be able to help.

Read the Nasen SEN Support and the Graduated Approach to find out more.

Other support available

Provision Evaluation Officers (PEO)

Our Provision Evaluation Officers are qualified teachers who work with schools where they:

  • make sure your child is receiving the highest standard of support and provision
  • monitor and evaluate the provision of those with an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • check any pupil receiving high needs funding is progressing towards their identified outcomes
  • provide expert advice and legal guidance.

To contact your local PEO email tania.lawrence@kent.gov.uk who will pass on your contact details to the relevant PEO.

Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT)

If your school cannot meet all your child's needs, they  may ask advice from the Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT).

LIFT are a team of experienced teachers and professionals from outside of your school. They aim to find solutions and offer advice, to help education settings with their resources.

Before discussing your child at a LIFT meeting, your school will ask for your consent.

A LIFT meeting has various outcomes. Examples include:

  • advice and support for your child
  • recommendations to seek specialist interventions

If your school  still feel they can’t meet your child’s needs following advice from the LIFT, you or the school can ask for an education health and care (EHC) needs assessment.

Your child may also be referred to the Specialist teaching and learning services (STLS) via the LIFT team for any sensory, physical disability or complex need support.

For parents

As well as the support given by your child's school, you can also contact the following networks to help you:

SEND funding

Education settings can apply for funding if they need financial support to help deliver the support they need to for your child. Find out more about what support is available to schools, sixth forms and colleges and early year settings.