SEND support in schools

All schools have a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) policy, which sets out their approach to identifying the special educational needs of their pupils. You can visit their individual websites to read their policy.

Once identified the support will be provided in addition to the existing support given to all pupils.

Mainstream schools can provide assistance from their own resources or from the resources available to schools in their locality, from example the Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT), health and social care services.

Support in school

The first step is to talk to your child’s teacher so it’s a good idea to write a list of your worries, including things outside the classroom. If you are still worried about your child's progress you must speak with the school's SENCO.

Usually, when a child or young person is receiving additional support, they have been identified as having a special educational need or disability.

Alternatively they may be presenting characteristics that fall under one of the 4 broad areas of need set out in 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 special educational needs, they should plan extra support to help them learn and they should talk to about this, 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 that all schools, academies, early years and childcare settings are able to provide inclusive education, where they follow both the spirit and the letter of the law with inclusive values. Therefore in partnership with Kent education settings, we have created the SEND inclusion statement, which 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'. This means that over time the school will develop their understanding of what works well for your child and how best to support them to make progress.

The SEND Code of Practice says schools should take seriously any concerns raised by a parent (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 despite speaking to the SENCO, you are still worried about the SEND provision in place for your child, contact us and one of our SEND PEOs will be able to help.

For more information about the graduated approach read the:

Other support available

Provision Evaluation Officers (PEO)

Our Provision Evaluation Officers (PEO) work with schools. They make sure your child receives the highest standard of support and provision to meet their needs.

We monitor and evaluate the provision for individual children and young people with education health and care (EHC) plans and those with high needs funding to ensure that they are making appropriate progress towards meeting their identified outcomes.

They can provide expert advice and guidance around the SEND code of practicemainstream core standards and legal guidance.

PEOs are all qualified teachers with considerable experience working with children and young people with SEND.

If you would like to speak to the PEO for the district that your child’s school is in email Tania Lawrence tania.lawrence@kent.gov.uk who will pass on your contact details to the relevant PEO.

Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT)

If your child's school feel they can’t meet all their needs, they may ask for advice at the Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT).

LIFT is a group of experienced teachers and educational professionals from outside the school. The aim of the group is to find solutions to problems and offer advice, so nurseries and schools can make better provision within their resources.

You’ll be asked for consent before your child is discussed at a LIFT meeting.

A LIFT meeting has various outcomes. Examples include:

  • advice, support and ideas from the discussion at the meeting to take back and try
  • recommendation to seek specialist interventions (for example from a specialist teacher or speech therapist).

If the nursery or 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 and/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

Schools and early year providers 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 and early years providers.