The SEN Support handbook (found on the external links on the right of this page) is written for schools and settings (including Early Years settings and Post-16 colleges) to help them to identify:
- a child or young person’s special educational needs,
- what level of support they are expected to offer and
- how to arrange and monitor the support given.
It also sets out expectations of what they must offer for the funding they receive. It is intended to help all schools and settings have the same approach. It is also an assurance to parents that their child or young person will be given as much support as another child or young person with a similar need in a school or setting elsewhere.
If a school or setting has concerns that a child or young person is finding certain aspects of learning hard or that they are not making the same progress as other children, they can use the checklists in the SEN Support handbook to help them to bring together all of the information needed to get a more detailed picture of the child or young person’s needs.
The checklists cover the four broad categories of SEN:
*Cognition and learning needs
*Communication and interaction needs
*Social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH)
*Sensory and/or physical needs
HPCN has contributed to the formation of this criteria, and in addition have contributed the following:
"Parents and children/young people are at the heart of special educational needs provision as they will often know best what issues need to be overcome.
"Parents will often be anxious or frustrated and the family setting may be stressed and emotionally charged, especially if they perceive a need that they feel is not being met or they do not feel they have a clear communication route to professionals.
"Schools and settings should be aware of the anxieties of parents and children/young people and help them to understand what can and is being done.
"Families will benefit from feeling they are listened to and know they can raise any ongoing concerns or issues as they arise with a named professional.
"Many parents may not have the confidence, time or ability to proactively engage appropriately with the school or setting. In these situations the professionals may need to take the initiative to set up a dialogue about the child/young person’s needs. They may, for example, involve a parent support group or organisation who can help their family to engage with professionals in the interests of their child/young person.
"Ongoing communication is important so that home and school or setting are working in partnership for the CYP.
"All adults involved will have different insights into the social, emotional and thus educational progress of the CYP.
"Parents and professionals should not feel they need to wait until scheduled meetings to raise questions and concerns that arise so that misunderstandings and crises can be avoided. As a parent, it is important that parents are proactive in asking questions about issues and aspects of the CYP’s education that are unclear so that the professionals are fully informed". HPCN 2014
Many parents find it helpful to understand what a school is basing decisions on. It can sometimes be reassuring and also helps you to ask informed questions about your child or young person’s support and progress.
The majority of children and young people will have their needs met through additional help that is put in place by their school, sometimes with advice from specialist services. Some children or young people who have high or complex needs may need an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice places great importance on involving parents and young people in identifying, understanding and taking decisions about special educational needs. For parents to be at the heart of decision making about their child or young person it is helpful for them to know how their Child or Young Person’s school or setting will make decisions about any extra support and what form that support should take. They are often concerned whether their Child or Young Person will be given as much support as they need, and how they can help.
As part of this information gathering the school or setting will ask for your knowledge and views, and those of your child or young person. If there are other professionals working with your family this is a helpful point to share that information. The school or setting can then work with you to agree the additional support that will be put in place to help your child or young person to make better progress and what everyone will do to make that happen. You will also agree how and when you will keep track of how things are going and when you will meet together to review progress.
Once your child or young person is receiving support it is recommended you meet with school or setting staff regularly to look at your child or young person’s progress, set new goals and discuss the activities and support that will help your child or young person achieve them. Sometimes the school or setting will want to ask for additional specialist advice. In this case they will discuss this with you.