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Information & advice

SEND support in schools

All educational settings – nurseries, schools, colleges and further education establishments – must make sure they meet the reasonable Special Educational Needs of children and young people identified as needing extra support. Find out about the support available and how needs are assessed and met.

What is SEND Support?

Almost every child with Special Educational Needs should have SEND support. This means help that is additional to or different from the support generally given to other children of the same age in a mainstream school.

The purpose of SEND Support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process.

Who can get SEND Support?

All educational settings, nurseries, schools, colleges and further education must make sure they meet the “reasonable” special educational needs of children and young people they identify as needing extra support. Most educational settings should be able to meet the needs of the majority of children with SEND.

A graduated approach

The SEND Code of Practice says that schools should use a ‘graduated approach’. to support a child with SEND. This graduated approach has four steps: Assess, Plan, Do, and Review.

  • Assess: teaching staff should work with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to assess your child’s needs, so they can give the right support. They should involve you in this process and, wherever possible, seek your child’s views. Sometimes schools will seek advice from a specialist teacher or a health professional. They should talk to you about this first.
  • Plan: if the school decides that your child needs SEN support they must tell you. The school should talk with you about the outcomes that will be set, what help will be provided and agree a date for progress to be reviewed. This is often done through a SEND Support Plan.
  • Do: your child’s teacher is usually responsible for the work that is done with your child, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved. The school should tell you who is responsible for the support your child receives.
  • Review: the school should review your child’s progress, and the difference that the help your child has been given has made, on the date agreed in the plan. You and your child should be involved in the review and in planning the next step.

Our in-depth guide has lots more information on the graduated approach and on the types of support available in schools and colleges. Download it and our infographic below.

In-depth guide

Our in-depth guide SEND support in schools explores what educational establishments from nurseries to colleges should do to provide support to young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

SEND Support Infographic

A handy infographic summarising some key points about SEND support in schools that you can download and print.