Special Educational Needs (SEN)
School & early education settings place great importance on identifying SEN so they can help the child as early as possible. Children learn in different ways & can have different levels or kinds of SEN. So if a child has SEN, the school will increasingly, step by step, bring in specialist expertise to help with the difficulties they may have.
The school must inform parents /carers if they start giving extra or different help to the child because of their SEN. The basic level of extra help is known as School Action & could be:
- A different way of teaching things
- Some extra help from an adult
- Using particular equipment like a computer or specialist desk.
The equivalent in Scotland is called Additional Support Needs (ASN). The principle difference being not confined to children whose need for special attention arises from disability or learning difficulties but from a range of factors e.g. being in hospital, death of a close family member.
Individual Education Plans (IEP)
The child’s teacher is responsible for working with the child on a day to day basis, but may decide to write down the actions of help in an IEP. The IEP could include:
- what special or additional help is being given
- who will provide the help & how often
- what help the child could be given at home
- the child’s targets
- how & when progress will be checked
Sometimes the school will not write an IEP but will record how they are meeting the child’s needs in a different way, perhaps as part of the lesson plans.
If the child does not make enough progress under School Action, the teacher or SEN coordinator (SENCO) will ask for advice from other people outside the school. This could include a specialist teacher or a speech & language therapist. This kind of extra help is called School Action Plus.
The equivalent in Scotland is called an Individualised Educational Programme. There is no difference to the English IEP.
For more information about the Individual Education Plan
Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
When SEN cannot be met by resources generally available to local schools, the assessment will identify the child’s needs and any special help that is required and will be produced in the following format:
- Part 1 – Child’s details (e.g. name, address, parent / carer) and a list of the advice the authority received as part of the assessment
- Part 2 – Gives details of the child’s special educational needs
- Part 3 – Describes all the special help to be given for the child’s needs
- Part 4 – Gives the type & name of the school the child should go to & how any arrangements will be made out of school hours or off school premises
- Part 5 – Describes any non-educational needs the child has
- Part 6 – Describes how the child will get help to meet any non-educational needs.
A child’s statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) should include mandatory information which Local Authorities (LAs) must request & consider when producing a statement of SEN. In addition to the actual statement, which will set out emotional & behavioural problems which may impact on learning as well as other conditions & health problems, parents will also have the reports considered to assist the LA to produce the statement. This will always include a medical report, a report from Nursery / School & a report from the Educational Psychologist.
Children who have learning support needs may not necessarily have a statement of SEN. The threshold for consideration of a statement is high & is variable from LA to LA. It may take several years before the LA accepts the need to prepare a statement even where a child clearly merits a statement being considered.
Those children whose condition may impact on attendance but not their learning support would not have one e.g. a child being treated for cancer may miss a whole year of school but they would not have a statement because the health problems do not impact on learning ability, only attendance.
Many children who have ADHD/ADD & other significant conditions may not have a statement because the condition does not impact sufficiently on their learning abilities. They would not usually have a statement unless they also had other conditions that impacted on their education such as dyslexia.
If a child does have a statement, this is a reliable indicator that the child does require a high level of additional support because they have a significant condition. However, the absence of a statement does not mean that the child does not have a significant learning impairment.
The equivalent in Scotland is called Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP). There is no difference to the English statement of SEN.
For more information about the statement of Special Education Needs
Note in Lieu
If, after carrying out an assessment, the LEA decides not to draft a statement, they may issue a note in lieu. It may resemble a SEN but it has no legal force & does not necessarily provide any additional funding to meet the child’s needs.
For more information about the Note in Lieu
This is for children moving from Secondary school to further or higher education. It outlines what the child wants to achieve in the next few years & what support they will need to live as independently as possible. It covers every aspect of their life, including education, employment, housing, health, transport & leisure activities. Most plans are drawn up in year 9.
The equivalent in Scotland is called Transition Planning / Future Needs Assessment. There is no difference to the English TP.
Click here for more information about the Transition Plan
Amended September 2011