All mainstream schools must provide support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

A person is considered to have SEND if they have an intellectual disability (also known as a learning disability) or a condition that makes it harder for them to learn, and they need more support than other pupils who are the same age.

How mainstream schools can help

Mainstream schools should take a graduated approach to provide extra support and care to children with SEND. This 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.
  • Assess

  • Plan

  • Do

  • Review

The 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 SEND might my child have?

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 They may become withdrawn and behave in ways that are not helpful to their learning, health or wellbeing.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.              


Support to meet these needs 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 you can do

If you feel that your child may need SEND support or is not responding to the help that they are already getting, you can ask for a meeting with the class teacher to discuss this.

We can help you to prepare for a SEND support meeting.

You could also think about whether an EHC needs assessment might be helpful. If the school decides to do this they must tell you.

You might find our transitions advice page useful if your child has a change in their current placement coming up.

From at least year 9 (aged 13-14) there should be consideration of preparation for adulthood in any SEND planning.


Useful resources

Leeds Sendiass are not responsible for the content of sites or services offered by third parties.

You can find more links on our Useful SEND resource page.