What is SENDIASS and what does it do?

SENDIASS stands for Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service.

Each Local Authority has to have its own SENDIASS who offers free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents and carers. We can also offer advice to professionals who support children and young people with SEN and their families.

For more information go to our What is SENDIASS? page.

How do I decide which school is best for my child?

This question applies whether you have a child starting school at 5, when they are transferring to secondary school or when expressing a preference for a placement in an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

All children are different and all schools are different. The best way to decide which school will suit your child and meet their needs is to visit a range of schools to get an idea of what is available, where your child will fit in and be well supported.

Each school has their own website and a section which tells you how they support children with SEND. This is often the first place to look when you are thinking about which school to choose.

It can be helpful to talk to other parents who live locally; perhaps there is a parent forum or support group for parents of children with SEN in your area and you can ask about the schools.

If you are deciding which school to name in your child’s EHCP, the discussions you had when writing their EHCP with professionals who know your child well may give you some pointers as to which school can best meet your child’s needs. Most children stay in the same local mainstream school they attended before they had the EHCP.

You can contact SENDIASS to talk things through.

What is a Special Educational Need (SEN) and SEN Support?

Children and young people have special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty which means they need extra support to help them learn or take part in activities in school or college. We often refer to it as SEND which means special educational needs and disabilities.

When a school identifies a child as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) they will consult with you, any teachers involved in teaching your child and the school SENCO.  Together the decide what help is needed and arrange for this to be provided as part of daily lessons. This is SEN Support and should be written down in a plan.

Help that can be provided includes:

  • different learning materials or special equipment
  • group or individual support such as an individual behaviour management programme
  • more adult time for planning help and monitoring its effectiveness
  • training for staff to enable them to give the child more effective support

The written SEN Support plan should be reviewed regularly to make sure it’s working and if it’s not then changes can be made until they get it right. This is called the ‘graduated approach’ with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review.

What happens when my child is identified as having special educational needs?

When your child is identified as having a special educational need, the setting or school should provide extra help in the classroom and make any reasonable adjustments necessary to meet these needs. The setting or school should use a graduated approach to assess what the needs are, create a plan of how to help and review the plan each term to see if it is working. If the plan isn’t working then it may be necessary to make more changes and see what else might help.

Keeping in touch with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in school will help you understand what the school is doing to support your child. If you have any worries about your child’s SEND the SENCO should be the first person to contact.

I think my child has SEN, but the school doesn’t. What can I do next?

If you think your child has SEN then you can ask for a meeting with your child’s class teacher to talk through your concerns. It is a good idea to ask for meeting rather than just try to catch the teacher at the start or end of the school day when they are busy.

Questions you can ask at the meeting might include:

• How are you measuring my child’s progress against Age Related Expectations?
• Where have you assessed my child as being at the moment?
• In which areas or skills has my child made progress this year?
• What are my child’s next steps in learning?
• How are you supporting my child to make progress in…?
• You’ve told me that my child is not yet working at Age Related Expectations, what
additional support is available to help him/her?

If you are still concerned after you have spoken to the class teacher you can ask them to include the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They have responsibility for what happens on a day to day basis in the school for pupils with SEN and also provides advice to other teachers in the school to help all pupils with SEN to make progress.

What is an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and Needs Assessment?

An Education, Health and Care Plan is a legal document which sets out what support children with SEN and disabilities should get in school.

You can speak to your child’s school or nursery about whether an EHC Assessment would be helpful and if they agree they will ask the Local Authority to make an assessment.

Young people over 16 and parents can also request an assessment using the North East Lincolnshire EHC Hub.

An Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment is an assessment for children and young people with SEN and disabilities to help decide what support they need and which services can provide this.

Information is gathered from lots of different people including the child, parents and carers, schools and other professionals to find out what extra support a child or young person needs.

When a request for an assessment is made the local authority has 6 weeks to look at the application information to help them decide if an assessment will be undertaken.

After an assessment has been completed, if the local authority agree to issue an EHCP, they have up to 20 weeks to complete it. This is from the date that the assessment was originally requested.

If the local authority decide that they will not complete the assessment they will let you know in writing. The local authority will also let you know of your rights to appeal against the decision if you disagree. You can contact us for more information if you need it or check out the NE Lincs SEND Local Offer EHCP page.

What happens once an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) is issued?

Once issued, an EHCP is reviewed at least once a year, or every 6 months for children under the age of 5. This is called an Annual Review.

If your child or young person is not making progress, needs to move to a different education setting, or if you feel the content of the EHCP needs updating you should request an early Annual Review meeting by contacting the local authority SEND Team (EHCP Coordinator) or by talking to your child or young person’s setting SENCO. You can ask the local authority to hold a review at any stage in the year and do not need to wait until the next review is due.

If you don’t agree with the content of an EHCP, including the education setting named in section I, you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal. We will explain this process to you and you can seek further support from SENDIASS.

What is an annual review?

What is person centred planning?