1. SEND Support
Step 1 SEND Support
Most children with SEND will have their needs met in mainstream early-years ‘settings’ (such as nurseries and pre-schools), schools and colleges, and won’t need to move beyond this step.
Some children with very complex needs and/or multiple disabilities will go straight to step 2 for an example would be a child born with severe medical conditions.
Support for school aged children with SEND
Schools are responsible for identifying children who have special educational needs and or disabilities.
First Quality Teaching
Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class/setting, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.
High quality teaching and differentiation, is the first step in responding to pupils needs. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching. Schools should regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all pupils, including those at risk of underachievement. This includes reviewing and, where necessary, improving teachers’ understanding of strategies to identify and support vulnerable pupils and improve their knowledge of the SEN areas most frequently encountered.
In deciding whether to provide additional support, the SENCO should consider all of the information gathered from within the school/setting about the pupil’s progress, alongside national data and expectations of progress. This should include high quality and accurate formative assessment, using effective tools and early assessment materials. For higher levels of need, schools/settings should have arrangements in place to draw on more specialised assessments from external agencies and professionals.
Using this process the SENCO will have a clearer view of pupils who may be experiencing greater difficulties with their learning which could be long term special educational needs.
The Wave Model
- The effective inclusion of all children in high quality learning and teaching. This should be the starting point for any school reviewing their provision.
- Small - group interventions are aimed at pupils who can be expected to ‘catch up’ with their peers as a result of the intervention. Wave 2 interventions are not primarily special educational needs (SEN) interventions
- Individual specific targeted support for pupils identified as requiring support that is additional to and different from the differentiated curriculum e.g. small group speech therapy support, or an individual learning programme
Definition of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.
A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions
Significantly greater difficulty means that the child/young person is significantly below in their learning compared to age related expected national curriculum levels despite being provided with additional interventions for a period of up to 2 years. An example would be that the child is in year 5 but working at National Curriculum level 1.
For a child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she is likely to fall within the above definition when they reach compulsory school age.
SEN Support in Schools
All Schools must identify children who have SEN. Action should be taken to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place using the graduated approach.
Schools must work in co-production with parents and follow a 4 stage approach as shown below:
- Assess – Settings should assess the needs of the child to establish what the barriers are to their learning and development. This could include the involvement of external agencies e.g. the Educational Psychologist or Speech and Language Therapist. Settings will complete an Early Help Assessment (EHA), formerly known as the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).
- Plan – Settings should plan with relevant external professionals, child and family the support that is required to meet their special educational needs or disability. This should take the form of a plan including the outcomes, interventions and provision.
- Do – Settings should put in place the agreed support/interventions required
- Review – Settings should review the support/interventions three times per year and this should involve both the child/young person and the parent/carers.
If there are long term greater needs, schools should develop a plan for children who are receiving additional help from the notional SEN budget up to £6,000. This plan is called a school SEN support plan.
Download an example school SEN support plan.
The plan will set out the extra help and support for the child. Support might include:
- Different ways of teaching certain things to the child
- Work in small groups
- Specialist external support
- Use of special equipment
The plan will include a one page profile which should be developed with the child and people that know them well. It will also use person centred thinking tools to look at what is important to the child (what matters to them), what is important for them (good support) and the things that are working and not working. The plan should include a provision map which identifies the outcomes for the child and the interventions that are needed to help make progress towards the outcomes.
Children who might need support only for a short time under wave 2 and 3 should be included in the schools provision management.
SEN Funding in Schools
There are 3 elements to funding pupils with additional and special educational needs:
Age weighted pupil unit is determined by the number of pupils the school has in each age group. These numbers are multiplied by authority-wide standard rates (pupil units) to come up with an overall allocation for each school. One important thing to note is that AWPU funding is allocated in advance for a full financial year (April to March for maintained schools and September to July for Academies) and is based on the pupil census numbers taken in October. It is then adjusted in year.
Age weighted pupil unit AWPU covers the basic costs of educating a child in a school i.e. a class teacher delivering quality first teaching, premises’ costs, and any equipment requirements.
The notional SEN Budget provides any additional support for any child with special educational needs up to a maximum of £6,000 per child per annum. Additional support could mean therapy assessments, small group work delivered by a teaching assistant or a specialist teacher, pastoral support including learning mentor and specialist equipment.
Schools/Settings will be expected to use up to £6,000 from their notional (Additional) SEN budget for a pupil with high needs as well as the funding for the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) which covers all children. Schools/Settings will have to demonstrate that they have provided support using the notional SEN budget using an individual provision map before considering a referral for an education, health and care assessment.
This is the funding that comes with a statement or EHC Plan in order for the school/setting to put in place appropriate support to meet pupils with more complex special educational needs. For mainstream and special schools this starts at level E (approximately £8,500 +).
Additional Education Funding through the Local Offer
Waltham Forest recognises that not all pupils’ will have their needs met financially within school support (£6,000) but will not meet the criteria for a statutory assessment. It has reserved a budget for schools/settings to request incremental amounts of funding to meet the needs of pupils through the Local Offer of support. For cases where incremental support is provided this will be included in the School SEN Support Plan.
There are two ways a school can access the additional funding:
- Through an application to the SEN Team for a decision
- Through a request for an EHC assessment that doesn’t meet the criteria but there is evidence that additional funding is required to meet the child’s needs above £6,000.
Download the documents from this page
Register on The Hub to download any documents/files that may be attached to this article - it's free and takes just a few moments. As a visitor to the site you can read the articles but not download any documents or files. However, as a registered user you can download any files, in addition to what is written on-screen.