SEND support in schools

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

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

Identifying your child's needs

If you have any worries about your child or young person, you should talk to their teacher or the school's special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO).

If they have not been identified, they may be showing characteristics under the 4 broad areas of need (as set out in the SEND code of practice). The 4 broad areas of need are:

  1. communication and interaction
  2. cognition and learning
  3. social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  4. sensory or physical needs.

The graduated approach

If they feel that your child or young person has SEN, the education setting should plan extra learning support for them. They should also 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.

Overtime your education setting will complete a 4 part process called the 'assess, plan, do, review cycle' (the graduated approach) to:

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

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

The SENCO and teachers will look into the barriers and difficulties your child is experiencing in school. This may involve:

  • looking at work and reports
  • observing your child in lessons or during break and play times and carrying out assessments
  • discussions with you.

Working with you, the SENCO will:

  • plan 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.

Services to support your education setting

All education settings must put support in place taking into account your child or young person's needs. They can also ask for additional guidance from one of our SEND services.

Provision Evaluation Officers (PEO) are now called SEN Inclusion Advisers (SEN IA). They work closely with, and provide support to, mainstream schools and post 16 settings so they can work with you in the best way possible.

In the past the PEO team have shared information about their role in providing direct support for parents or carers where there are concerns about the SEN provision in place for their child. They have ensured this support is easily and directly accessible to parents or carers and available in a number of different ways.

The way that support is provided is changing but support to ensure your child’s SEN are met will still be available in schools and post 16 education.

The SEN IA team will receive any referrals from our SEN area teams or any direct contacts. If you have any worries or concerns about the SEN support for your child or young person we suggest you:

  • speak to your child or young person’s teacher first and ask if the SENCO can be involved
  • listen to the suggestions and advice from our SEN IA managers so you are more confident to speak with the staff in schools and post 16 education settings. The SEN IA might let the school know you need to talk to them about your child or young person’s SEN
  • attend meetings arranged by school in response to information we have shared about your concerns with the SEN provision for your child or young person.

The SEN IA will make sure there is a good understanding by the school or post 16 education setting of any concerns you have.

They will work together with you and the school or college SEN staff, such as the SENCO, to make sure you and your child or young person are happy with their progress and achievements.

They will want to know how well your child or young person feels part of the place they attend, referred to as inclusion, so they know what they will be doing at the next stage of education.

If you have any concerns about the SEN support in place at a school or post 16 education setting email who will pass your information and contact details to the area SEN inclusion coordinators.

We may let the school or post 16 setting know you have concerns with the SEN support in place.

Our Specialist Teaching and Learning Services offer advice and training for pre-schools, mainstream schools and academies on how to meet the needs of children with SEND.

Find out more about our Specialist Teaching and Learning Services.

An Educational Psychologist (EP) is a qualified practitioner who has had training in psychology to understand more about how children learn, think and behave.

They have an important role in assessing your child or young person's special education needs and giving advice to education settings.

Specific SEN need support

If your child or young person has specific SEN needs, the education setting can put in specific support to help them. Learn how education settings can help if they have:

Education standards and policies

We want to ensure all education settings are able to provide inclusive education.

All schools put support in place for your child taking into account their individual needs. The mainstream core standards explains how schools should put in place support to help include your child in all aspects of school life, make progress and to be happy.

As part of inclusion work, we have also worked with education settings to create the SEND inclusion statement.


Other people's thoughts and views about a disability can lead to SEND children being more vulnerable than others in the class to bullying.

Find out what support is available and how to talk to your child about bullying.