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What to do if you are worried about your child's learning and help available

All children and young people learn at different rates and are better at some things than others. If you are worried about your child at nursery, school or college, talk to your child’s teacher or key worker. If your child is not yet in an educational setting talk to your health visitor.

If you are still worried, you could also talk to the Special Educational and Disabilities Needs Coordinator (SENDCO/SENCO). The SENDCO/SENCO is responsible for coordinating provision for children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Those are children or young people who need more help than is normally available to pupils of the same age.

What can the school or setting do to help my child?

The staff will discuss any worries with you and explain what can be done to help.

Most children can get the help they need at the ‘universal level’ of support. This could include lots of things such as having:

  • extra support in a small group, for example for reading, maths or social skills
  • visual supports such as visual timetables, ‘now and next’ boards or prompt cards
  • special seating arrangements or having somewhere to go that feels extra safe or calm

Staff assess the progress of all children to help them to plan targets.  They then monitor and review the children’s progress to see how well they are doing. This is called the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle.

If your child does not make enough progress, their teacher/key worker and SENCO will talk to you about placing your child at SEND Support level.

What is SEND Support level?

SEND Support level stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Support level.

SEND Support level is for children who need more help than is normally available to the rest of the class.

About 12 % of children and young people are at SEND Support level (that’s about 3 or 4 children in a class).

What does having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) mean?

Children and young people have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) if they need more help than is normally available to the rest of the class. This is either because of their special educational needs or because of their disability.

How long will my child need to be at SEND Support level?

Some children may only need to have SEND support for a short period (such as a term) while others may need extra support for most of their time in education.

What support can my child get at SEND Support level?

Depending on their level of need some children may have a little extra support at SEND support level and others may have a lot. The support could include:

  • additional adult support for particular lessons or at key times. This may be from a teaching assistant (TA)
  • the use of a personalised work area
  • structured activities to develop specific social skills in small groups
  • assessment and advice from external support services and professionals
  • adaptions to the physical environment
  • support from a mentor or key worker

What kinds of things can my child get support for?

There are 4 main areas of need and support:

  • Cognition (thinking) and Learning
  • Communication and Interaction
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Sensory and Physical

Many children have needs in a number of these areas.

How is SEND Support funded?

Early Years:

  • Early Years additional SEND Payments are grants to Early Years providers to help them to meet the special needs of children in their childcare setting.  Payments are made using a two-tier system based on the child’s level of need. 

School age and up to 25:

  • Funding is given directly to educational settings from the government to provide up to £6000 worth of support across a year for pupils with the greatest need at this level.

What is an EHCP?

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) are legal documents which identify educational, health and social needs and set out the support required to meet those needs.

Who are EHCP's for?

Education, health and care (EHC) plans are for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. These children and young people have complex, severe and long-term needs.

Settings are provided with ‘top up funding’ to deliver the support above SEND Support level. About 3% of children and young people have a EHC plan.

What can I do to help my child?

  • Try not to let your child see that you are worried but show that you are listening to their concerns.
  • Talk to and work with your child’s nursery, school or college. Let them know about your concerns and what you think might help.
  • Let the nursery, school or college (setting) know about any challenges at home that might be affecting your child.
  • Discuss how you and the setting can do things in a similar way or use similar language to provide a consistent approach.
  • Talk positively about your child’s setting and the staff whenever your child can hear.
  • Talk positively about your child and their progress whenever they can hear. Ask to share your concerns and worries with others when your child is not present or are not able to hear. 
  • Talk to your GP if you have any concerns about your child’s health.
  • Praise any small steps of progress and all attempts to learn.
  • Whenever possible make learning fun.