What are special Educational Needs?
A child has special educational needs (SEN) if he/she has learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for him/her to learn than most other children of about the same age. Some children may have a temporary difficulty with, for example, early skills, reading, number work or behaviour which can, with the help of parents/carers and early education settings/schools be overcome. Quite a lot of children have difficulties at some time during their education and it is perfectly normal for these difficulties to be sorted out in the school.
A child's special educational needs may relate to:
- Learning difficulties in acquiring basic skills
- Behavioural, emotional and social difficulties where a child may have difficulty in forming social relationships and concentrating on work
- Specific learning difficulty with reading, writing and number work, calling for a more structured approach to learning
- Speech and language difficulties where a child may have a particular reason for not being able to speak or is delayed in the development of speech and language skills
- Communication difficulties which affect a child's ability to understand social communication, social situations and language
- Physical disability which may be present from birth or arise from injury or illness
- Medical or health conditions which may slow down a child's progress and/or involve treatment that affects their education
- Hearing impairment involving significant hearing loss or deafness which can seriously affect speech and the ability to benefit from normal approaches and engage in conversation with others
- Visual impairment where a child may have been born partially sighted or blind or have become so through an accident, illness or a deteriorating condition
What can our school do to help?
Most children's needs can be met at school. In response to signs that your child has special educational needs, we adopt a graduated approach which may include:
- An individually designed learning programme
- Extra help from a member of staff, such as a teacher or learning support assistant
- Receiving support individually or in a small group for regular short periods
- Drawing up an individual education plan (IEP), including setting targets for improvement and regular review of progress before setting new targets
At first the class teacher takes overall responsibility for your child's educational programme and will keep you informed. They may also ask the special educational needs co-coordinator (SENCo) for advice and support. There will normally be an individual education plan (IEP) for your child with clearly recorded reviews and outcomes, and reference to the involvement of other professionals, where relevant. In this way the level of help will be carefully matched to your child's needs.
How can you help?
You can take an active part in helping your child both at home and by updating us on the progress being made.
You may like to:
- Play or work with your child at home and help with his or her early skills or reading and writing
- Assist teaching staff with any home-based work or activities they may suggest
- Discuss progress regularly with your child's teacher
- Ask to see your child's records of work and progress and where appropriate, the individual action plan (IEP)
Our school has a policy which details how we support children with special educational needs. It also sets out the responsibilities of the school and our governing body. A copy is available on request from the school office.
Where can I get more advice?
Your first point of contact is the school or PSA. Begin with the class teacher but, if you need to, speak to the special education al needs co-coordinator. If appropriate, you can be put in touch with others, such as an educational psychologist, an education welfare officer, health services staff or the SEN service
Contact IPSEA Independent Parental Special Education Advice.www.ipsea.org.uk
A member of the team can help put you in touch with voluntary organsiations as well as helping with information for parents whose first language is not English, or who require Braille or tape facilities
Your local doctor (GP) and health trust
Your local doctor (GP) and health trust can provide a wide range of health services including assessment for your child. Many of these services are provided in partnership with the Children's Services Department and may take place in education settings. Your main contacts are your GP, health visitor (for under fives), or school nurse
Educational Psychology Service
Educational Psychologists work on behalf of individual children, including pre-school children, at the request of teachers. Through a bookable consultation made by the school, they offer advice on how to help children learn effectively and to make the most of their education.
What is an IEP?
An IEP is produced by the school to record the strategies beingused to enable your child to make progress. It is a teaching plan for all staff working with your child and should specify:
- What special help is being given
- How often your child will receive the help
- Who will provide the help
- What the targets for your child are (usually three or four specific short term targets)
- How and when your child's progress will be checked
- What help you can give your child at home
What does an IEP describe?
It describes the provision that is being made for your child, which is different from and additional to the general curriculum. The general curriculum has been designed to support the normal range of progress and ability of children. When this is proving inadequate for your child different or additional provision is madeand recorded in an IEP.
Why have an IEP?
The purpose of an IEP is to assist your child in making progress with learning and to help raise his/her achievement. It also assists staff in providing additional support for your child. For most children, the introduction of an IEP and the arrangements made by staff will be sufficient.
When is an IEP reviewed?
At least twice a year but in most cases it is reviewed termly.
Who can be involved in the review of an IEP?
- Child/young person
- Key worker/teacher/learning support assistant/special educational needs co-coordinator
As a parent/carer, what can I expect from the school?
- To be informed when your child has an IEP
- Your child's targets will be discussed with him/her and that he/she will be encouraged to participate in decision making, at an appropriate level, about future options
- To be encouraged to participate in the implementation and review of your child's IEP - for example, what help you could give your child at home
- All staff who are regularly involved with your child in the early education setting or school to be aware of his/her IEP
- Targets to be S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
- Targets to be relevant to the needs of your child. Targets will normally be set in the areas of language/literacy/numeracy/behaviour/social skills
- The school will interpret the IEP for you when necessary eg. provide an explanation of content, clarification of targets etc. IEPs should be jargon free. If you have any concerns about the content of the IEP, you should in the first instant discuss these with your child's class teacher or the SENCO, Mrs. Land
What can the school expect from you as a parent/carer?
- You will be encouraged to contribute your own ideas about how your child's needs could be met and what helps him/her to learn
- You will be expected to share with the school any success when targets are met at home
You should try to attend any meeting called by the school to review the IEP.