What is SEN support?

SEN support is when a child or young person gets help in education that is extra 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 set for them by the school in conjunction with parents and pupils themselves.

Each school has to have an SEN information report, the report gives information about the SEN provision at the school. You can usually find this on a school’s website.

The Local Offer published by North East Lincolnshire Council also sets out what support it expects early year’s settings, schools and colleges to do to support children and young people with SEN or disabilities.

How is SEN identified?

For some children SEN can be identified at an early age and for other children and young people difficulties only show as they get older.

When a child attends a school, the school should assess their skills and attainment and do regular assessments of their progress. This helps them to identify if the child isn’t making the progress that they would have expected given their age and circumstances.

If a school thinks that a child may have SEN or has SEN, they may make some changes in the way that they teach the child by focusing their teaching on the areas of difficulty.

All schools must have a teacher who is responsible for co-coordinating the SEN provision (this does not apply to 16 to 19 academies). They are called a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). Where the child’s progress continues to be less than expected the teacher and the school SENCO should assess whether the child has SEN. They should also speak to parents and the child about this.

The SEN code of practice says that parents know their children best and it is important that all professionals listen and understand when parents express concerns about their child’s development.  It also says that if a school identifies that a child requires SEN support they must tell parents.

What happens at SEN support?

The SEND Code of Practice says that school must do everything they can to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need.

Schools should talk to parents regularly and should meet with them at least three times a year.

SEN support should involve a four part cycle, this is known as the graduated approach.

The graduated approach is based on four steps, assess, plan, do and review.


Teaching staff should work with the SENCO to assess a child’s needs so that they can give the right support. They should involve parents in this and seek the child’s views.

Sometimes schools will get advice from another professional, for example, they might ask for an Educational Psychologist to see a child. The school should get your consent first.


If a school decides that your child needs SEN support, it must tell parents. The school should agree with parents and the pupil the outcomes that will be set, what support will be provided and how they think this will help the pupil. A date for progress to be reviewed should also be agreed.


All of the teachers and support staff who work with the child should be made aware of the support that is being put in place. A child’s class teacher or subject teacher is responsible for the work that is done with a child and they should work closely with any teaching assistants of specialist staff involved. The school’s SENCO should support a child’s teacher to help them to put the support into place.


The school should review your child’s progress and the difference that the extra support has made, on the date that was agreed. Parents and the child should be involved in the review and in planning the next steps.

Further information

You can find out more about SEN support in mainstreams school by:

Looking at the SEN information report on the schools website.

Talking to your child’s teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

Reading chapter 6 of the SEND Code of Practice.

You can also ask SENDIASS who can offer you:

  • information about SEN support
  • advice and support to understand the SEN process