Suffolk is an inclusive Local Authority and most pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for whom Suffolk maintains a responsibility for are educated in mainstream settings.
What does the term special educational needs mean?
A child of compulsory school age or young person will have special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means that they:
- Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
- Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions
This definition is set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0-25 years (2015). You can find out more about the SEND Code by going to the GOV.UK website.
SEN can be characterised by a range of needs and difficulties, children and young people with SEN may have challenges with:
- Sensory (hearing impaired/visually impaired/multi-sensory impairment)
- Physical challenges and mental health and emotional well-being
- Ability to socialise and communicate
- Ability to read or write
- Concentration and cognition levels
Suffolk is committed to children with SEND being educated in their home community and having their SEND met by their local catchment school.
In the first instance, schools and settings are responsible for meeting the needs of a range of children and young people. They do this by providing high quality teaching and support adapted to the needs of individuals. This is 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.
SEND Support is the process schools and other settings use to identify and meet the needs of individuals with SEND. They should alter support where necessary.
Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are only for children and young people who need a lot more support than their school or college can usually give them. Parents and carers of children and young people who require specialist provision can request an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which is produced following an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. This can be done in partnership with the school or setting.
Suffolk expect that schools and settings will involve the child, young person and their parent/carer as fully as possible in the decisions that affect them.
All schools and settings must:
- Make reasonable adjustments for children and young people to help them access their education
- Ensure that the curriculum and culture is inclusive, so that every child and young person can engage in the activities of the school, ensuring that support is provided where needed
- Clearly communicate with parents/carers about what is being put in place for the child or young person
- Provide a range of teaching strategies and learning opportunities, which may include a range of ICT equipment and resources
- Work with children, young people and families to set and review targets, progress and outcomes
- Put appropriate interventions in place and regularly review their effectiveness
- Regularly review the quality and appropriateness of the provision and monitor the impact
- Adhere to the requirements of the SEND Code of Practice
The school must work with parents and carers and the individual to talk about their educational needs.
When the school identifies a child or young person as having SEND they must act to provide support which is additional to or different to support generally given to children of the same age, to ensure the needs of the child are being met.
This information is used to develop a SEND support plan which should be reviewed at least three times a year to check progress.
Some children and young people with more complex and significant challenges may require specialist services to support what their school does.
For children and young people with SEND schools may also need to provide;
- Staff collaboration with specialists within the school setting and outside agencies
- Broker or commission alternative support where in-school provision isn’t meeting the pupil’s need (e.g. speech and language therapy, school counsellors, play therapy, therapy centres)
Funding for SEN is provided for schools and academies as part of their overall budget and agreed by the ‘Schools Forum’. Funding for learners aged 16-19 at further education colleges and training providers is provided by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). This can be extended up to the age of 25 for students who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) funds further education colleges and training providers to offer further education to adult learners aged 19 and over. This includes adults under 25 without an EHC plan who self-declare a learning difficulty or disability.
Individual education or training providers will decide how to use its money to plan resources and support those with SEND. Where there is evidence a child/young person has more complex needs education providers may apply to Suffolk County Council for additional top-up funding.
The SEND Family Services Team lead on the support of children, young people and their families so that with the necessary skills, young people progress into adulthood to further achieve their hopes, dreams and ambitions. Fundamental to this is our joint partner commitment to the delivery of services through a key working approach for all.
SEND Family Services:
- support individual children and young people and their families through their education pathway and/or SEND Journey
- ensure that assessments, including education, health and care needs assessments, provide quality advice and are delivered within statutory timescales
- monitor the progress of children and young people with SEND in achieving outcomes to prepare them for adulthood and offer support and guidance at transition points
- support children and young people who have been permanently excluded or who are at risk of exclusion.
- provide challenge to education providers to ensure provision meets the needs of individual children and young people.
Family Services are split into seven area teams operating from three locations. See the Family Services record for contact details of your local team.