June 6, 2022

How the system should work

Noticing problems

You or your child’s nursery/school/college notice that you child is not progressing, or is having a significantly greater difficulty in learning than other children of the same age.  This may include difficulties such as behaviour, attention, communication, physical or learning difficulties.

You discuss the matter with the school and agree some interventions are needed.

You should look up the ‘Local Offer’ on your Local Authority’s website for information about local services for parents of children with special needs.

First Stage (called ‘Sen Support’)

The school assesses your child, sometimes with help from external professionals, such as Speech and Language therapists.

The school plans additional help and support for your child, with specific targets and dates for monitoring improvement.  The programme of intervention is put into action.

After a time, your child’s progress is reviewed. If your child’s progress hasn’t or has only partially met the targets, the programme will be reviewed and adapted where needed, with new dates for a progress review set. 

The extra support provided by the school may be enough for your child to start progressing well. If not, there is a second stage of support

Second Stage

The school (or parents) can request the Local Authority to undertake a statutory (EHC) assessment of your child’s needs.  Where the school makes the request, the Local Authority will expect the school to show that despite purposeful action, your child is still not making good progress.

In order to get the specialist support required, that is different or additional to that normally made in a mainstream school, your child will need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. This will set out their needs and how they will be helped.

The Local Authority assesses your child’s needs, with input from you, the school and other professionals. If the Local Authority agrees, an EHC plan for your child will be drawn up, in consultation with yourself, the school and professionals. The additional support will be put in place. 

The EHC Plan is reviewed every year to make sure it is still meeting your child’s needs.

In practice

While the framework sets out clearly how the system should work, it does not always work as it should.

You may need to try to persuade the school or the Local Authority to provide what you believe your child needs. 

This website helps you to do that: https://www.sen-help.org.uk/the-system/how-the-system-should-work/

(Information taken from the website on the above line. Click link for more information on this process).

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