Lancashire SEND IAS

Lancashire SEND IAS

Information, advice and support for Special Educational Needs and Disability

SEN support

Every child with special educational needs should receive SEN support. This means help that is additional to or different from the support generally given to most of the other children of the same age.

The purpose of SEN support is to help children and young people achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school in agreement with parents and pupils themselves.

Every school must publish an SEN information report about the SEN provision the school makes. You can find this on the school’s website. You can also ask your child’s teacher or the school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) for information on the SEN provision made by the school.

SEN 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
  • advice and/or extra help from specialists such as specialist teachers, educational psychologists, and therapists.

When schools want to call in specialists, they should discuss and agree this with parents.

SEN support in mainstream schools

It is the SEND Code of Practice which provides the statutory guidance for organisations that work with and support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

It sets out the duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and families Act 2014.

The SEND code of Practice says:

All children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress so that they:

  • achieve their best
  • become confident individuals living fulfilling lives, and
  • make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training

That schools and colleges must:

Use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need. This means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN.

Ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN.

Designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision (the SEN co-ordinator or SENCO).

Inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child.

Publish an SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children.

What are special educational needs?

There are two questions to ask when thinking about whether a child or young person has SEN.

1. Do they have a learning difficulty or disability?

A child or young person has a learning difficulty or disability if:

  • They have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or they have a disability which makes it difficult for them to use the facilities normally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or post-16 institutions.

Someone has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

2. Does that learning difficulty or disability call for special educational provision to be made?

Special educational provision is any educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for other children or young people of the same age. This is a wide definition, and could cover a wide range of things, for example:

  • having materials provided in a larger font
  • needing one-to-one support
  • communicating through sign language
  • needing small class sizes

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then the child or young person has SEN.

Children and young people with SEN are entitled to extra support with learning at nursery, school or college.

Special educational needs (“SEN”) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. For example, someone’s SEN might affect their:

  • reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • ability to understand things
  • behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • physical ability to do things such as writing.

Who decides what support my child needs?

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Class and subject teachers, supported by the senior leadership team, should make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances.

The school should then decide if your child needs SEN support. The school should talk to you and your child about this. If a young person is 16 or older the school should involve them directly.

Sometimes you may be the first to be aware that your child has some special educational needs. If you think your child may need SEN support you should talk to your child’s teacher or to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

The SEND Code of Practice says

Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.

When your child is identified as having SEN, the school should provide support based on the four following steps.

These are: Assess - Plan - Do - Review

Known as the 'Graduated Approach'

Graduated approach. Assess - Plan - Do - Review


Teaching staff and the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) may observe and assess your child to see if they have any additional needs.

They will look at your child's need in four areas

  1. Learning and cognition (learning)
  2. Language and communication
  3. Physical and sensory needs
  4. Social and emotional needs and mental wellbeing

You can find out more about these areas in our pages about SEND.

School will talk to you about your child's needs and give you the time to ask any questions about the support your child may need.

If you child has additional needs, a plan will be made for their support.


Now your child's needs have been identified, the support they need to achieve will be agreed with you, these achievements are often called outcomes.

Outcomes can be from any of the above 4 areas.

Short term targets will be agreed to help meet the overall outcomes.

These targets should be SMART, specific-measurable-attainable-realistic and time related. The SEN support plan will describe what the support is, how often it is provided and where it takes place.

This plan should be reviewed by school and parent, usually termly.


The nursery, school or college will put plan into action.


You will be involved in the reviewing the plan, has the support helped to achieve the short term targets and move toward the long term outcomes.

If changes are needed these will be agreed between you and school, if your child has made good progress they may need little or no support, if little progress made the support may be increased

The Assess – Plan- Do-Review cycle can be repeated as many times as necessary

If SEN support is not enough  

School can request help and advice from other professionals

  • Specialist teachers
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • Educational psychologists

Sometimes the next step may be to ask the local authority for an EHC needs assessment.

If the school decides to do this they must tell you.

If you think it is needed you can ask for it yourself.

More information, advice or support

You can find out more about SEN Support by:

  • looking at the SEN Information Report on the school website
  • talking to your child’s teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator
  • looking at the Local Offer
  • reading Chapter 6 of the SEN Code of Practice

You can also contact us.