What kind of support is available for SEND

Every nursery, school and college has an obligation to support children with special educational needs (SEN).

Most children with SEN can have their needs met in mainstream nurseries, schools and colleges.

If you’re worried about your child’s progress, start by speaking to your child’s teacher or the school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCo). If your child does not have a place at nursery, school or college, start by speaking to your health visitor.

There are many kinds of support available.

From a nursery, school or college

If a nursery, school or college feels a child has special educational needs, they should plan extra support to help them learn, 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.

Read more about the support you can expect from schools.

From a Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT)

If a nursery or school feel they can’t meet all your child’s 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.

From the local community

There are many voluntary organisations, support groups and advice charities active in Kent that can help you, often for free. You can search for services and activities on our local offer directory.

Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) can provide confidential, impartial and free advice and guidance.

Kent Parents and Carers Together (Kent PACT) can provide confidential support for parents. Visit the Kent PACT website or follow them on Facebook.

From us, Kent County Council

We provide a range of services to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of children, young people and families in Kent. For example, we can offer support if:

  • you are worried about your child’s behaviour
  • you are struggling to cope
  • you are worried about your family finances
  • your child is struggling to cope with bereavement
  • your child is being bullied
  • your child refuses to go to school or college
  • you or your child want to develop new friends and have new experiences
  • you are having difficulties with family relationships.

Find out more about the support we can offer to families.