Assessing a child or young person for special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities

SEN support

If a school or nursery decides your child has special educational needs they must write an SEN support plan. This plan identifies your child's needs, the action needed and planned outcomes.

If your child's needs are severe or complex they may miss out SEN support and start an Education Health and Care (EHC) assessment.

SEN support can take many forms, including:

  • A special learning programme for your child
  • Extra help from a teacher or assistant
  • Making or changing materials and equipment
  • Observing your child in class or at break and keeping records
  • Making sure your child has understood things by encouraging them to ask questions and to try something they find difficult
  • Supporting your child with physical or personal care, such as eating, getting around school safely, using the toilet or dressing.

Who may help provide SEN support?

SEN support could include teaching differently or help from an extra adult. Sometimes your child or young person may get help from a specialist. This may include:

  • Educational psychologists
  • Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • Specialist teachers or SEND support services – such as teachers qualified to work with specific needs such as visual impairment, deafness, communication problems, etc.
  • Therapists - such as speech therapists or occupational therapists
  • Support from the Support for Inclusion in Pre-School (SIPs) service

At this stage consideration may be given to providing an inclusion grant via the Support for Inclusion in Pre-School (SIPs) service for children under 5, or for school aged children, a Pupil Resource Agreement (PRA), or if the need is complex, an Education, Health and Care Plan. This usually depends on the range, severity and complexity of the child’s needs.

Inclusion Support Advisory Team

The Inclusion Support Advisory Team (ISAT) provides an information and support service to SENCOs and Inclusion Leaders in mainstream primary and secondary schools to help with the inclusion of children and young people that have special education needs, a disability or additional needs but do not have an Education, Care and Health Plan.

Pupil Resource Agreement (PRA)

A PRA is a non-statutory agreement between the council, school and parents for school aged children where the level of support required for the child or young person is above what the school is currently providing.

The PRA enables individual pupils’ needs to be met quickly, in a targeted way without the need to go through a 20 week process.

The education resource provided through a PRA is usually the same as that provided for a child receiving an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Find out more about Pupil Resource Agreements

Reviewing the SEN support plan

The school will review the SEN support plan regularly with you and any professionals involved. The review will help identify the rate at which your child is progressing and if the amount and type of support needs to change.

Involving you and your child

You and your child are central to deciding what action to take, what you want it to achieve and whether it's working.

The school must:

  • Work closely with you and your child to identify your child's needs and support take into account you and your child's concerns, views, agreed outcomes and next steps
  • Include you in any decision to involve specialists
  • Share details of the support plan with you and agree a review date
  • Ask you and your child for your views when reviewing the SEN support plan.

Need more help?

Contact the Information, Advice and Support Service for free, impartial information, advice and support for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Support is also offered to children and young people with SEND. They can also help provide information in a non-web format.