All children and young people, whether they are in a mainstream or specialist school, should have access to a fair and dedicated education – no matter their ability. So, what does that mean for children who are classed as ‘SEN’ and what does SEN stand for in schools? According to the SEN Code of Practice, all children and young people should have an education that enables them to:
• Successfully transition into adulthood
• Become confident individuals
• Achieve their potential
Each child needs to have access to the support they need to not only achieve academically, but emotionally too. No matter a child’s ability, they need to be able to have access to a fair education – which is why SEN support in a mainstream school is so important. Not all children who are considered to need SEN support should have to go to a specialist school – depending on their needs, they should still be able to reach their full potential in a mainstream school.
Every child considered to have SEN (special educational needs) should have support available to them in school. This means that they may require extra help and support, more so than other children their own age. SEN support aims to help children and young people achieve their learning goals set out for them by the school, which have usually been set out by the help of the parents and pupils concerned.
Every UK school must have a SEN information report available, to ensure they are being accessible to as many students as possible – and these should always be available on the school’s website. Along with this, your child’s school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) should also be able to help with any information you may have regarding the SEN provisions at the school.
A child who is classed as SEN could have a number of different identified needs, as there are many different forms of SEN. Some examples of SEN include:
• EBD or emotional and behavioural difficulties
Each of these SEN examples would require very different support, which is why it is important to chat to a SENCo if a child is classed as SEN – sometimes a child’s need might not be immediately obvious.
Every school should have a school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) who is responsible for ensuring all children within the SEN bracket are getting the correct support they need. Teachers and other staff in schools can come to them if they have a concern about a particular child and, depending on the SEN a child might have, a SENCo can arrange to have them assessed and for them to have a EHC plan in place to ensure they are getting the correct support within and throughout the school.
An education, health and care (EHC) plan is put in place for young people and children (up to the age of 25 years) who need more support than other pupils due to their special educational needs. This plan identifies any health, academic or social needs the particular child might have and outlines any extra support they may need day-to-day. It is important to note, however, that not all children will need a EHC plan to get extra support. Some children who might be suspected SEN, or be high functioning, may not need one and can still have extra, SEN support if they are in need of it.
For more information regarding SEN support, the government website has a lot of resources, information and advice for any parent who may have questions or queries regarding their SEN child and their education.