On this page you will find information and practical advice about options for getting more SEND support for your child at their mainstream school or college.
What SEND might my child have?
Your child may have difficulties in one or more of these areas:
Communication and interaction needs
This means your child may struggle to speak or to understand what is being said to them. They may also have difficulties with social interactions and with following social rules about communication.
Cognition and learning needs
This means your child may learn at a slower pace than other children the same age or struggle with things like memory or organisation. They might only have difficulties with one specific part of their learning such as literacy or numeracy.
Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties
This means your child may find it difficult to manage their emotions, relationships and being around other people. They may become withdrawn and behave in ways that are not helpful to their learning, health or wellbeing.
Sensory or physical needs
This means your child may have a sensory impairment or a physical disability that means they need extra support and resources to be able to access their learning.
How should their school support them?
By law, all mainstream schools must provide support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
They should take what is known as a 'graduated approach' to provide this extra support and care, this is a support process that has four steps:
- Assess – teaching staff assess your child’s needs.
- Plan – the school agrees what support will be provided, how often and who will be responsible for it. A date should be set for progress to be reviewed.
- Do – the support is put in place and regularly monitored.
- Review – the school reviews the support plan and your child's progress at least three times per year.
SEND Code of Practice says that parents and carers should be involved in any discussions and planning about what support their child is receiving.
This means that you should know if your child has been identified as having SEND and know what support is being put in place to help them. You should also have been able to give your views.
All help should be on-going throughout education. This means there will need to be more than one cycle of graduated approach.
What support is available?
Support to meet SEND could include:
- extra help from a teacher or a learning support assistant
- making or changing materials and equipment
- working in small groups
- observations in class or at break time
- support to take part in class activities
- helping other children to work or play with them
- supporting them with physical or personal care needs
- one-to-one help with literacy, maths or speech and language
What is available may differ from school to school, but all schools have a legal duty to support children with SEND and make 'reasonable adjustments' for them.
This means adapting learning approaches and styles and/or physical resources and equipment to support your child to access their education, learn and make progress.
What can I do?
If you feel that your child may need SEND support, is not responding to the help that they are already getting, or feel that you don't know what is in place, you should ask for a meeting with the class teacher or school to discuss this.
We can help you to prepare for a
SEND support meeting.
From at least year 9 (aged 13-14) there should be consideration of
preparation for adulthood in any SEND planning. This is to support your child with the transition from their childhood to adulthood and becoming more independent.
You might also find our
transitions advice page useful if your child has a change in their current placement coming up.
If your child is not making progress despite having SEND support in school, you could think about whether an
EHC needs assessment might be helpful. This is a closer look at your child's SEND and support that they may need. If the school decides to request this as part of their graduated approach, they must tell you.