Support in School or College

Information for Parents & Carers

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What is SEND support?

Every child with Special Educational Needs or a Disability, 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. 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.

Every school must publish a SEND Information Report and SEND Policy about the SEND provision the school makes. You should be able to find both of these on the school’s website. You can also ask your child’s teacher or the school’s SENCO for information on the SEND provision made by the school. The Local Offer published by Derby City Council also sets out what support it expects early years settings, schools and colleges to make for all children and young people with SEND.

SEND support can take many forms, including:

  • A special learning programme for your child
  • Extra help from a teacher or a learning support assistant
  • Making or changing materials and equipment
  • Working with your child in a small group
  • Observing your child in class or at break and keeping records
  • Helping your child to take part in the class activities
  • Making sure your child has understood things by encouraging them to ask questions and to try something they find difficult
  • Helping other children work with your child, or play with them at break time
  • Supporting your child with physical or personal care, such as eating, getting around school safely, toileting or dressing.
Who decides what SEND support my child has?

The school has a duty to identify children who have SEND. Sometimes you may be the first to be aware that your child has some special educational needs. If you think your child may need SEND support, you should talk to your child’s teacher or to the SENCO.

Schools should use The Graduated Response to support children and young people with SEND. This is also sometimes known as ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’.

Teaching staff should work with the SENCO to assess your child’s needs, so that they give the right support. They should involve you in this and, where 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.

If the school decides that your child needs SEND 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 should all be written in a SEND Support Plan, which is given to you to sign and agree to. If a young person is 16 or older, the school should involve them directly.

Your child’s class or subject 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. All those who work with your child should be made aware of “their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies or approaches that are required.” (SEND Code of Practice 6.49)

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. The SEND Code of Practice says “Schools should meet with parents at least three times a year.” (6.65)
Sometimes it helps to involve other professionals in further assessment or to support planning the next steps. If your child has not made reasonable progress, it will be important to agree with the school what should happen next.

I’m looking at schools for my child with SEND, where should I start?

Before beginning your search for a school, it is important to gather as much information as you can about your child’s individual learning needs and their abilities. The more you know about your child’s needs, the easier it will be to decide which school will be most suitable for them.

Reading through the written information about a school will give you an idea of what the school is like and help you to identify things you might want to ask about. Schools’ websites are a great place to start when making a shortlist of potential placements. Once you have a shortlist of schools, you need to arrange to visit them. When visiting a school, try to get to talk to the staff who would be most involved with your child.

There is a full list of schools (both mainstream and special) in and around Derby on the Local Offer. You can also find our full guide on things to consider looking at schools, on our Resources page.

Where does SEND funding come from?

All mainstream schools receive money for SEND support and resources. Schools can decide how to spend this money. This is called “delegated” funding because it is given (delegated) to schools by local authorities or the Education Funding Agency (EFA) from money they receive from central government.

The SEND part of the school’s income is sometimes called the “notional” SEND budget because it is not based on the school’s actual numbers of pupils with special needs, but on a formula. Funding for SEND provision is from three sources (“elements”):

Element 1
Schools get money for each pupil, based on actual pupil numbers. This is called the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) and it is part of schools’ delegated funding. Some of this money is for general SEND provision. This might, for example, include the cost of providing the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and some other resources. Each local authority sets the AWPU for their schools, and the Education Funding Agency sets the AWPU for academies and free schools. The AWPU differs according to whether the school is primary or secondary etc.

Element 2
Element 2 funding is SEND-specific, and is to provide SEND support for children who need it. This is support that is additional to or different from the support that most other children get. The Local Authority (LA) provides this funding for schools it is responsible for using a formula that determines the amount of money the school gets. The Education Funding Agency provides this funding for academies and free schools. Element 2 funding is also part of schools’ delegated budget.

Government guidance says schools should provide up to the first £6,000 (on top of the AWPU) of additional or different support for those children who need it, including those with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). This does not mean that the school will spend £6,000 on every child with SEND. Sometimes schools use funds to help groups of children. Some children will need less help and some children may need more.

You can ask your school how it uses its SEND budget to support your child and whether it has enough to make all the provision they need.

Element 3
Where a school has children needing very expensive provision which might absorb a lot of the SEND support funding, the school can request additional funding. The LA is responsible for managing Element 3 funding (sometimes called the ‘high needs block’), which can be used to make specific provision for an individual child or a group of children, if the school or academy can show it is necessary.

What is SEND funding used for?

Schools should use some of their budget to buy resources and make provision for children who need additional help. This can take many forms. For example, children with SEND might need:

  • Changes to the curriculum
  • Special equipment or teaching materials
  • The use of additional information technology
  • Small group work
  • Support in the classroom
  • A base to work in or have quiet time
Who manages the school’s SEND resources?

School governors are responsible for the school’s policy on SEND. The Head Teacher and the SENCO ensure that the policy is put into practice. The SENCO organises support for individual children, but every teacher is responsible for making sure that your child’s special educational needs are met in the classroom.

The SEND Information Report on your school’s website tells you more about the arrangements for SEND support and how to contact the SENCO.

Transition between a Special School and a Mainstream school when a child or young person in Derby City has an EHCP

Right Support, Right Place, Right Time Initiative

The need for specialist places for children and young people with SEND continues to rise, placing pressure on the capacity and the sustainability of Derby City’s existing settings. As Local Area partners, we have a duty to ensure that children and young people receive the right level of support in the most appropriate settings, including those placed in special schools. It is essential that we give children and young people with SEND, who can thrive in a mainstream setting, the opportunity to do so. Special school heads have told us that following successful interventions and support they have children in their setting who could be successful in a mainstream school, which would lead to improved academic and social outcomes for the young person, and opportunities to use the specialist place for another young person. Stakeholders, including lead representatives for parent carers and the school sector, have co-produced and developed this protocol. It works to ensure that when identified, children, their parents and schools receive the support they need to deliver a positive and successful transition.

For most children and young people who attend a special school, that is the right arrangement to support their education for the duration of their statutory school career. There are some who make tremendous progress due to the support they receive and have the potential to access their education in a mainstream setting. Schools and parents are often attuned to situations where this may be possible, and through the arrangements in this protocol we would like to make that step as easy as possible for families who wish to pursue this pathway.

Please see here for more information about the Right Support, Right Place, Right Time Initiative

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