What SEND or additional needs support can my child’s school provide?

If your child has additional needs or special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities, their school can offer extra support.

Most children with additional needs go to a mainstream school. But this depends on what you feel is best for your child.

SEN support in schools

It’s important to talk to your child’s school and let them know about any important changes to your child’s needs.
  • Your child’s school must tell you if your child is getting special educational provision through SEN support.
  • Every school must publish information about how they support pupils with SEN. This is often called the school SEN information report.
  • Make sure you meet the key staff who support your child. This includes the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)

What does the SEN Disability Code of Practice say?

Schools have a certain level of responsibility they must adhere to. The SEN Disability Code of Practice says:

“The School Admissions Code of Practice requires children and young people with SEN to be treated fairly. Admissions authorities:

  • Must consider applications from parents of children who have SEN but do not have an EHC plan on the basis of the school’s published admissions criteria as part of normal admissions procedures.
  • Must not refuse to admit a child who has SEN but does not have an EHC plan because they do not feel able to cater for those needs.
  • Must not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they do not have an EHC plan.”

What SEN support is your child entitled to?

Your child is entitled to a mainstream education if this is what you would like and feel is best. Your child’s school has to make reasonable adjustments. There is limited guidance on what this includes. Either the school or the local authority will pay, but this is usually decided on an individual basis.

Sometimes mainstream education may not be appropriate for your child. You can speak to your child’s GP, the local authority and local schools to make a decision on this. There are other options, including special schools. These might be schools under local authority control, or schools that aren’t (academies).

If your child has an EHCP, then the process of choosing which school is best is different.

Types of SEN support you can ask about

There are other options for SEN support that you can raise with your child’s school:

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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

More on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

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