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SEND support in schools

Most children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can be supported to access mainstream schools or education settings (pre-schools, nurseries, colleges etc). They may need extra help if they find learning more difficult than their peers, so their school might create a plan of tailored support for them so they can make progress and achieve their potential.

We expect all schools, colleges and education settings in Devon to:

  • do everything they can to ensure your child gets the support they need so they can progress and achieve their goals
  • prevent discrimination and promote equality by supporting your child to take part in the same activities as their classmates
  • inform you of any SEND support or assessments for your child
  • employ a qualified SENDCo
  • make reasonable adjustments for disabled children so they can access the setting
  • publish their arrangements for supporting pupils with SEND.

How do I get SEND support in school?

If you think your child needs extra help, talking to their school is the right first step. This can be their class teacher, head of year/ key stage leader, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) or the headteacher. The school might contact you first if they think your child needs extra support. Either way, you will typically meet to discuss any concerns and to agree a way forward. It is also a good idea to visit the school’s website to read about the SEND support on offer within your child’s school, you can find your school’s website by searching our school directory.

Before you meet with the school you may want to write a list of your concerns, for example:

  • school work and behaviour at school
  • concentration, physical skills, relationships
  • behaviour and mood at home
  • how your child feels about school
  • any other issues such as bullying

You could also gather examples showing your child’s difficulties. This could include:

  • school work and homework, school reports, test results
  • any professional reports
  • details of support they may have had at a previous school

It’s also a good idea to write down any questions you might want to ask at the meeting, for example:

  • What assessments have the school done to find out about my child’s difficulties?
  • What extra help does my child get?
  • How do you measure my child’s progress? Is he/she making the progress you’d expect?
  • What can I do at home to help my child?

After this meeting, your school should be able to put a plan in place to support your child. The support your child gets will vary depending on the specific needs of your child, but should be designed to ensure they receive the help they need to achieve their full learning potential.

Who to contact for advice

If you need advice and guidance about your child’s support in school, there are lots of organisations who can help you. All local authorities must, by law, provide an information, advice and support service for SEND. This is an impartial, confidential and free service for parents, children and young people, and provides advice about all aspects of SEND support. In Devon, this service is called DiAS (Devon Information Advice and Support).

If the support in school isn’t working for your child or young person or if you need to raise concerns or make a complaint, we have information about how you can do that here.

Information about each academy and maintained school in Devon can be found on the individual school’s website. This information should include details about the SEND support the school offers. The duties education settings have are set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, 0-25, Code of Practice.

The Council for Disabled Children has produced a guide to schools’ responsibilities to children and young people with disabilities which may also be useful.