Supporting Children With Special Educational needs in school


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The Education Act 1996 Section 312(2) as amended by the SEN and Disability Act 2001 provides the legal definition of learning difficulty.

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Supporting Children With Special Educational needs in school

  1. 1. 42 Park Road Peterborough PE1 2UQ 01733 555988Supporting Children With SpecialEducational needs in schoolLearning difficulty Special educational provisionThe Education Act 1996Section 312(2) as amended The Education Act 1996 Sectionby the SEN and Disability Act 312(4) provides the legal definition of2001 provides the legal definition special educational provision.of learning difficulty. A child has a“learning difficulty” if: Special educational provision means:(a) he has a significantly greater (a) for children of two or over,difficulty in learning than the educational provision which ismajority of children his age, additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made(b) he has a disability which generally for children of their age ineither prevents or hinders him schools maintained by the LA, otherfrom making use of educational than special schools, in the area, orfacilities of a kind generallyprovided for children of his age (b) for children under two, educationalin schools within the area of the provision of any kind.local authority, or School Action and School(c) he is under the age of five Action Plusand is, or would be, if specialeducational provision were not Every school is provided with amade for him, likely to fall within budget to support children withparagraph (a) or (b) when of or special educational needs and willover that age. have a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) responsible for managing this support. Support
  2. 2. Supporting Children With SpecialEducational needs in schoolis provided in two ways; through School Action or through School Getting Further HelpAction Plus. School Action is definedas the school providing intervention If, despite the extra supportadditional to or different from that provided through School Actionnormally offered in its differentiated Plus, a pupil is still not makingcurriculum. School Action Plus is satisfactory progress, it may be thatwhere the pupil’s needs are such additional resources are requiredthat the school has to consult above that which the school canoutside agencies - for example the reasonably be expected to provideeducational psychologist. from its own resources. If this is the case parents and/orParents MUST be informed andinvolved if their child receives support the school can request a “Statutoryin this way. Assessment of Special Educational Need”. A Statutory AssessmentIt is also helpful if parents can keep is an in depth multi-disciplinaryevidence of a child’s progress, assessment of a child’s needspossibly through keeping a diary and the provision required to meetof their concerns when progress is them. The LA must decide withinless than expected, to share with six weeks whether or not to carrythe class teacher and SENCO. out the Statutory Assessment. IfThe school should also closely the LA turn down the request theymonitor the progress a pupil makes must give clear reasons why andas a result of this extra support so let the parents know they have athat further action can be taken, if right of appeal to the SEN Tribunal.required. This monitoring will include In deciding whether to assess,an Individual Education Plan (IEP) the LA will look at the school’swhich Shine advisers can help with own assessment of the child’sif requested. This will have 3 - 4 difficulties (including what theshort-term targets, strategies and school has done so far; the child’sresources used and possibly advice academic attainment; the child’sfor parents. The IEP is reviewed 2 - progress) the assessments of other3 times a year when outcomes are professionals involved and lastdiscussed and new targets set. Not but not least, parental views. Thisonly are parents involved but also the is why it is useful, as mentionedviews of the child are considered. earlier, to keep a diary to provide the evidence needed.
  3. 3. right of appeal. In this case an LAThe Statutory Assessment might decide to issue a ‘Note in lieu’, which is rather like a Statement in thatAs part of the process of formal it describes a child’s needs, makesassessment the LA MUST seek recommendations on provision andwritten advice from: has the advices attached but is not legally binding.• The parents • Medical professionals ask for a further fifteen days. This is• The Educational Psychologist a crucial stage in the process and• Social Services Shine would encourage parents to• The child contact the Area Adviser/Education• Any other person suggested by the Adviser to discuss the proposedparent (This could include the Shine statement with them.Area Adviser). The Proposed Statement is dividedAll schools will have the ‘SEN Toolkit’ up into 6 parts. These are(also available from DFES) andsection 8 could be helpful to parents Part 1 - Personal details such aswhen writing their reports. Carrying names and addressesout the Statutory Assessment shouldtake no longer than ten weeks. Part 2 - A description of the child’s needsAfter the StatutoryAssessment is Completed Part 3 - A list of objectives, the provision required to meet the identified needsThe LA will send parents copies of and monitoring arrangements. It isall the advice obtained (better LAs vital that the provision is both specificwill send parents copies as soon as and quantified. It is important to avoidthey receive them) together with their vague and generalised wording.decision. The LA will then decidewhether to issue a Statement of Part 4 - The placement, althoughSpecial Educational Need, a legal this has to be left blank in proposeddocument setting out the child’s Statementsneeds and the provision required tomeet those needs. If they decide not Part 5 - Non-educational needs,to issue a Statement, they must tell often including physiotherapy needsparents why and notify them of their or OT needs.
  4. 4. Supporting Children With SpecialEducational needs in schoolPart 6 - Non-educational provision, words or phrases such as ‘regularthe sort of physiotherapy required/ help from..’ or ‘opportunities for...’transport, etc. Instead try and get wording such as, ‘1 hour per week individual speechParts 2,3,& 4 are legally binding on therapy by a qualified speech andthe LA; parts 5 & 6 are not. language therapist...’, ‘15 hours of learning support assistance perOne important addition in the week to be used to deliver the aboverevised Code of Practice is that provision’, or ‘A further 1 hour ofspeech and language therapy support per day to be used duringshould now normally be placed in the lunch break to asses John inPart 3 of the Statement. eating and to ensure his safety during play’.What to look for in a Statement It is often useful to have a meeting with an LA officer to discuss the ProposedPart 2 of the Statement should Statement and any changes you feelprovide a full description of the are needed. After this meeting youchild’s difficulties, making it clear to will be sent a Revised Proposedschool staff what she/he can and Statement. If you are still not happycan’t do. with this version you can ask for another meeting. Your Shine areaPart 3 should contain information Adviser and/or Education adviser willon the provision required to meet be happy to advise you during theseall the needs identified in Part 2. negotiations.There should be no room for doubtabout what is to be provided, who Following negotiations, the LA willwill provide it and how it will be send you a Final Statement. Theydelivered. The code says “Provision must notify you that you have twoshould normally be quantified (eg in months to lodge an appeal with theterms of hours of provision, staffing SEN Tribunal if you still disagree witharrangements) although there will the contents. Again, you can askbe cases where some flexibility Shine about this.should be retained in order to meetthe changing special educational Inclusion and Choice ofneeds of the child concerned”. School(Code 8:37). It is important thereforeto avoid vague and generalised When an LA issues a proposed
  5. 5. Statement they must leave part There is no legal right for a parent4, the section naming the school, to express a preference for anblank. They will wait until the final independent school.statement names a school. Annual ReviewsParents of children who havespecial educational needs now have A LA must review each Statement atstrengthened rights to a place in least once a year. This is called themainstream school (inclusion). So, Annual Review. The Headteacherif a parent expresses a preference of the child’s school will arrangefor a maintained mainstream the review meeting and invite theschool, the LA must agree to this parents and all those working withrequest unless - the child to attend and submit a report.• the school is unsuitable to thechild’s ability, ability and aptitude Parents can ask for people to beor to his or her special educational invited as well, for example theneeds; Shine adviser. The meeting will discuss the Statement to see if• the placement will threaten the any amendments are needed orefficient education of children with if it is still required and set newwhom the child will be educated; targets for the coming year. It is vitally important that parents write• the placement will result in an a report for consideration at theinefficient use of resources. meeting. Also the views of the child will be sought and if possible theyIf the LA refuse a parent’s preference will be invited to attend all or part offor a particular mainstream school, the meeting. After the meeting thethey must offer a place in another Headteacher will send a report of themainstream school unless that meeting and its recommendationswould be incompatible with the to the LA. When a child is changingprovision of efficient education for phase, for example from primaryother children. If there is an access to secondary school, the LA mustproblem, LAs can apply for money complete the annual review andto make any adaptations necessary. decide on the new placement by 15 February in the year of transfer.Parents have the right of appealagainst the school named in Part 4.
  6. 6. They must inform parents aboutTransition Plan this service and how to contact it. Similarly, all LAs must establish aThe annual review in year 9 must disagreement resolution servicedraw up a Transition Plan. This that provides an independent,must draw together information appropriately trained person tofrom a wide range of people in order mediate between parents andto create a coherent plan for the the LA. It is important to note thatyoung person’s transition to adult using such a service does notlife. The Connexions Service must remove the right of appeal to thebe involved in drawing up this plan Tribunal.and allocate the pupil a personaladviser. Shine has information on DiscriminationPupil Centred Transitions - seeinformation section archive on www. Issues around discrimination on the grounds of disability are addressed in aPreventing and resolving separate Code of Practice. Adisagreement guide to this is available from www.equalityhumanrights.comEach LA must establish a ParentPartnership Service to provide Further informationparents with a whole range ofadvice and information about the educational needs process.Help usShine relies on people’s generosity and support so we can help our clientswho depend on us for help and advice - people with hydrocephalus,spina bifida, their families and carers. To donate to Shine please or call 01733 421329.This information has been produced by Shine’s medical advisers andapproved by Shine’s Medical Advisory Committee of senior medicalprofessionals.Shine - Registered charity no.249338To see our full range of information sheets and to find out how to donateto Shine please visit