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What to expect from a school or setting

Schools and settings are responsible for meeting the needs of a range of children and young people by providing high quality teaching and support which is adapted to the needs of individual children so they can make good progress in their learning and, in the long-term, can become independent and gain employment in or near their local community.

All schools and settings must
  • Employ a trained special educational need coordinator (SENCo) who is a qualified teacher and has a direct link to the senior management of the school (in some circumstances, the headteacher acts as the SENCo, e.g. in a small school)
  • Publish their SEN Policy and provide an 'SEN information report' on the website showing how they are implementing that policy. This must describe:
    • How the school adapts the curriculum and learning environment for pupils with SEN
    • Additional support for learning that is available for pupils with SEN.
  • Have an ‘accessibility plan’ in line with the Equality Act 2010
  • Have a SEND governor
  • Maintain a SEND improvement plan or ensure that SEN provision is integrated into the school improvement plan
  • Ensure an inclusive ethos and curriculum, ensuring that children and young people with SEND engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEND as far as possible
  • Make reasonable adjustment for disabled children and young people to help alleviate any substantial disadvantage they experience because of their disability
  • Tell the child’s parent or the young person that special educational provision is being made for a child or young person without an EHC plan
  • Incorporate a range of teaching strategies and learning opportunities
  • Provide a range of ICT equipment to enable inclusion and curriculum access
  • Ensure target setting and tracking of progress and outcomes 

The school must work with parents and carers to talk about the needs of their child and how these can be met. This information is used to develop an SEN support plan which will be reviewed on a termly basis to check progress.

When the school identifies a child or young person as having SEN they must act to provide support which is additional to or different from support generally given to children of the same age, to ensure the needs of the child are being met. Some children and young people with more complex and significant difficulties may require specialist services to support what their school does. 

All schools and settings should
  • Contribute to the Local Authority’s Local Offer
  • Involve the child, young person and their parent as fully as possible in the decisions that affect them.
  • Have arrangements in place to identify the need for and secure such provision, whether through expertise and resources available within the setting or by drawing on support from outside services.
  • Put appropriate evidence-based interventions in place that are provided as a graduated approach, which includes regular review of the progress made and adaptations to the support as required.
  • Have plans of support that have a clear set of expected outcomes.  Progress towards these should be tracked and reviewed regularly, at least termly
  • Plan support and reviews by the class or subject teacher, in collaboration with parents, SENCOs and where appropriate, the pupil themselves
  • Ensure that they are providing good teaching
  • Regularly review the quality and appropriateness of the provision and monitor the impact.
The best schools and settings will
  • Invest in whole school and targeted training for staff
  • Ensure inclusive teaching and support practice is embedded throughout the school and that all teachers understand that they are “teachers of SEN”
  • Provide information on school arrangement for SEN to parents and governors
  • Consider pre-emptive arrangements for pupils present and future with a disability
  • Identify children with SEN and ensure provision is made in accordance with SEN and Disability Codes of Practice
  • Start early transition and preparation for adulthood.
For children and young people with SEN and disabilities schools may also need to provide
  • Individualised planning involving learners, parents/carers
  • Increased use of ICT resources
  • Staff collaboration with specialists within the school setting and outside agencies
  • Individualised programmes in more than one curriculum area
  • Increased classroom support and small group support
  • Environmental adaptations
  • Broker or commission alternative provision where in-school provision isn’t meeting the pupil’s need.


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