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SEND support: what to expect


If you are worried and think your child needs extra support, speak to the people already involved in your child’s life; such as your child’s teacher, nursery or pre-school staff or your GP.

You are best placed to spot specific behaviours, or trigger points for your child. Perhaps keep a diary about your concerns so that you can discuss this with the people supporting your child.

Remember, children can behave differently between school and home, sometimes school don’t see the triggers you do and sometimes school see triggers that don’t happen at home. It’s good to talk these things through.

If you think your child should be able to do something and they can’t; you can look at What to Expect, When? which highlights what you may see your child doing at different ages.

If you are worried about your child’s development, you can talk to nursery or pre-school workers, teachers or a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) about the support for your child needs. Every school has a SENCo who is responsible for all SEND services within their school, and are there for parents, carers and families to talk to if they have any questions or concerns.

Your school or early years setting can help; they can also get more support from other professionals such as:

How does support work in school?

SEND support works best when we try lots of different ways and methods to support a child. Then we watch and see what works best so that we can do more of the things that help, and reduce anything that the child doesn’t respond to. This is known as a graduated response.

In Devon there is a Graduated Response Tool that is used by people that work with children to provide ideas and more information. This helps schools look at the different ways children can be supported.

Supporting children with SEND is everyone’s responsibility, but schools have a detailed process to follow if one of their pupils has needs that need supporting to make sure the child gets all the help they require.

Schools must;

  • identify and assess if a child has SEND
  • put in place additional support
  • inform parents about the assessment
  • put in place a plan for additional provision
  • do their best to make sure children get the support they need
  • ensure that children with SEND engage in the same activities that all other learners do
  • review progress with the family.

When they review the support with the child’s family, it may be that more help is needed to help the child reach their full potential.

If this is the case, it may mean the local authority (Devon County Council) is required to provide more specialist educational support, and the school or you as a parent or carer can request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs assessment to find out if more help is needed.

If the assessment shows that an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required, this plan will give details of that extra help. This could be:

  • More specialist provision in mainstream schools (some schools have special units designed to provide specialist support for certain needs. You can find out more about them here LINK TO SCHOOLS)

OR

  • a placement in a special school.

You can find out more about the EHCP process here [LINK TO EHCP AREA].

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