On this page you will find information and practical advice about requesting and attending meetings about your child's SEND.

Sometimes it can be really helpful to ask for, or attend, a meeting to discuss your child's SEND, any concerns you have and become involved in any decision making or planning to support them.

SEND meetings are often with the schools special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo), but you may want to ask the class teacher or a support assistant to attend too, if you think their input would be helpful.

You can also contact us to request a paper or digital copy of this guide.

If the meeting is regarding your child not feeling able to attend school (EBSA) you can find some further tailored meetings advice here.

Asking for a meeting

You have the right to ask for a meeting with any of the professionals involved with your child/young person. There are lots of different reasons that you might want to ask for a meeting and these may include concerns about:       

  • Your child’s progress
  • How any special educational needs/disabilities (SEND) needs your child may have are being met
  • Your child being bullied because of their SEND needs
  • Your child’s behaviour, how it is being managed and the impact on their education
The SEND code of practice states:

6.65 - Where a pupil is receiving SEN support, schools should talk to parents regularly to set clear outcomes and review progress towards them, discuss the activities and support that will help achieve them, and identify the responsibilities of the parent, the pupil and the school. Schools should meet parents at least three times each year.       


Who do I need to meet with?

The first step would be to arrange to meet with your child’s class teacher to talk through your concerns. It is a good idea to ask for meeting rather than just try to catch the teacher at the start or end of the school day when they are busy.       

If you are still concerned after you have spoken to the class teacher, or you feel your child needs more support, you could ask to meet with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). They have responsibility for what happens on a day to day basis in the school for pupils with SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities) and also provide advice to other teachers in the school to help all pupils with SEND to make progress.       

If the issues are relating to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you may also want to contact your SENSAP case worker to talk about any concerns and ask if they can also join the meeting if possible. (SENSAP are the part of the Local Authority responsible for agreeing to, writing and keeping the EHC plans reviewed and up to date).       

How do i organise a meeting?

You can request a meeting by calling, emailing or writing a short letter to the school that includes who you want to meet with, the issues you would like to discuss and times and dates you will be available.       

You could use this email template to ask for a meeting by copying and pasting it into an email to the school.       

Dear SENCo (Name of SENCo if known)       

(Child/young person’s full name and date of birth)       

My child is currently in (Year) at and I would like to arrange a meeting with you to discuss my concerns regarding their academic progress and special educational needs.       

Include as appropriate:       

Either: (Child/young person’s name) has been diagnosed with… The SEND Code of Practice states that: “Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.” (6.44)        

Or:(Child/young person’s name) is having difficulties with (describe difficulties you feel your child is experiencing that are currently undiagnosed). The SEND Code of Practice states: “Schools should take seriously any concerns raised by a parent.” (6.45)       

Therefore, I would like to meet with you to discuss my child’s needs and to work with the school and find out how they can be best supported.       

I look forward to hearing from you regarding a meeting date (add in which days or dates would suit you or that need to be avoided).       

Kind regards       

(Your name)       


You may be able to ask the school to arrange the meeting, especially if there are other services involved, such as a speech and language therapist or support worker, who you would also like to attend.       

If the school offers a date for the meeting which does not work for you, you may want to send an email like this:       

Dear (name)       

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to meet with you on (day, date and time).       

Unfortunately, I am not available at the time you suggest. I am keen to meet with you so I am suggesting some alternative dates and times when I am free and am hoping that one of these might suit you (offer as many dates and times as you can to increase the chances of the school or LA having matching availability.)       

Kind regards       

(Your name)       


Getting ready for a meeting

Planning ahead

Before the meeting, it may help to find out who will be at the meeting. Ask the person running the meeting what they do and what their role is. Find out what will be discussed at the meeting and how long it will last and where and when the meeting will be held.       

Before the meeting ask for an agenda (what will be discussed) and, if you think it would be helpful, a copy of the most recent paperwork which shows the support that your child is getting at the school/setting – this is often called a pupil passport or profile. You can have a look at the paperwork before the meeting and make any notes that you might find helpful.       

Ask if there is any new information that will be shared at the meeting that you can read it beforehand.       

You may wish to take someone with you to the meeting for support (a friend, relative or supporter). Let the person organising the meeting know in advance who you will bring with you.       

You could use the email template below (in confirm and check arrangements) to ask these questions.       

Preparing for the meeting

It is a good idea to make a list of important issues you would like to talk about. Write a list of things you want to say and questions you want to ask and to take along to the meeting. The meeting planner at the end of this guide (see additional resources) can be a helpful way of recording this.       

Think about the following: make some notes to help keep you focussed in the meeting.       

  • What concerns do you have?
  • Think about how they communicate and interact with other people, what level are they working at and if they are making progress, do they have sensory or physical issues, are there social, emotional and/or mental health issues? and are there issues around being independent and looking after themselves?       

  • What support do they currently access? Are there any groups or interventions in place?
  • Are there issues around friendships?
  • What would like to get from the meeting? Is there any information that you need them to give you?
  • Are there any other services that you would like to be involved, either with your child or with you as a family?
  • Are there specific things that you want to happen as a result of the meeting?
  • What could you do as a family to support at home?
  • What will happen if things do not start to improve?
  • When will the next review meeting be held? You may want to ask for this to be termly or half termly.

It can also help to write down your description of your child’s abilities and celebrations as well as what difficulties you think he/ she may be having. You can also think about any positive ideas you may have yourself that you would like to share with the school, or any triggers or strategies which are likely to make the situation worse.       

What should you take with you?
  • Meeting planner - your list of questions, views and concerns
  • Note pad and pen
  • Any reports or medical letters you have that may be useful
  • Other useful information (e.g. own research)
  • Your child’s views (if appropriate)

Confirm and check arrangements

You may want to check the details of the meeting before it takes place, so you feel more prepared. Below is an email template that you could use to confirm what will happen at the meeting.       

Add in the relevant information, or delete the parts you do not feel you will need to include.       

Dear (name)       

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to meet with you on (day, date and time).       

This email is just to check my understanding of the meeting so we can both prepare. I believe that the purpose of the meeting is to (add in details here)       

I am therefore expecting that we will be discussing the following:(add in details here)       

I expect that we may need about (30 minutes/ an hour) for our meeting.       

I have the following questions (or I would like to explore/ find out about the following):(add in details here)       

I am expecting to meet with (eg the Headteacher or the SENCo or class teacher). If you are inviting anyone else to the meeting, could you please let me know how many people I can expect to meet with and their roles?        

I would like to bring someone to support me to help me focus and process information.       

Will there be any new information shared at the meeting which can be sent to me before the meeting? This will help me to participate better in the meeting (and I will be able to share this with my partner and gain his/her views and questions).       

(This email is also your opportunity to share if you have any needs which the school or LA need to know about. For example, would it be easier for you to be seated on adult chairs in a primary classroom meeting? Would it be easier to hear, or be less distracting, if the meeting took place in a quiet part of the school or somewhere your child is unlikely to see you?)       

Please let me know if I have misunderstood why we are meeting and explain what you were expecting, so that I can prepare.       

Thank you for your time and I look forward to meeting with you (date and time)       

Kind regards       

(Your name)       

       
       
       

Your child / young person’s views

You may want to share how your child is feeling about how things are going for them at school or at home. If you think that this would be helpful, you could talk through some of the questions below with them, to give some more information about their needs.       

  • What do they enjoy?
  • Do they have any worries?
  • Is there anything they would like to ask their teacher/s?
  • Is there anything they think would help them?
  • Is there anything that is not helping them?
  • What would they like to change?
       

During the meeting

  • Make sure everyone introduces themselves and you know what their job is in school.
  • Has everyone come who has been invited? If not, will it – and should it – carry on?
  • Check the finishing time of the meeting.
  • Ask if anyone is going to take notes (and ask for a copy to be sent to you), or take your own notes. It may be a good idea to bring someone with you to write these down.
  • Read through the questions and points that you would like to discuss. It is important that any agreed actions are written down before the meeting ends and that everyone understands what has been discussed.
  • Share your child’s views if they have given them.
  • If your concerns have not all been discussed ask how this might be followed up (phone call, email or a further meeting?).
  • Is there anything that has been said that you do not understand? If so, ask for an explanation.
  • Agree a date to check on how things are going and ask for the name of someone you can contact in the future.

After the meeting

Following the meeting you should make sure you know the following.       

  • Did you have the opportunity to say what you wanted to say?
  • Are you clear about the outcome of the meeting?
  • Do you understand what will happen next? Do you know who is responsible?
  • Do you what follow-up arrangements are there?
  • Do you know what you need to do next?
  • Do you know who to contact if you need help or if you are not clear about anything?
  • Do you have a date for the next meeting booked in?

It may be that what is put in place after the meeting is not successful and that something else needs to be tried, this is why it is important to make sure a follow up meeting is booked in with the school.       

Later on, if you are not happy that the actions that were agreed in the meeting have not happened you can ask to speak to the Headteacher and, if you still feel unhappy, you can ask to see or speak to a governor or governors at the school. The school will have a complaints policy for when you want to take things further.       

Useful resources

Checklist

  • When is it?
  • Where is it? Is the venue appropriate and accessible?
  • Do you have a disability you need to let the school know about?
  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • How long will it take?
  • Who will be there? Why will they be there?
  • Is there anyone else you think should be there?
  • Can you take younger children? Is there an arrangement for childcare?
  • Can you have support for the meeting? Can you take someone with you?
  • Will you be sent information before the meeting?
  • Do you need to take any information to the meeting? If so, what?

Question planner

Use this planner to describe the most important issues or to record the actions in your meeting.       

What do you see as the important issues?       

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What is the agreed action?       

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
       
       
       

By who and by when?       

  • .
  • .
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