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SEN support

Any support your child gets from their education setting should meet their needs.

If a child has SEN, they will be able to access help - called 'SEN support' - from their early years settings  (such as nurseries or child minders), schools and further education such as colleges and 16-19 academies.

SEN support replaces school/early years action and action plus.

SEN support is part of the ‘graduated approach’, which means that the level of support is reviewed and increased gradually if your child or young person does not make progress despite high quality help.

The Code of Practice 2014 (paragraph 6.39) says you should be involved, your views will be needed throughout the process, and you will be kept up to date with the progress made. Young people aged 16 to 25 will be fully involved in designing their own SEN support and provision.

The four stages of SEN support are:


Assess: Your child’s difficulties must be assessed so that the right support can be provided. This should include asking what you think, talking to professionals who work with your child (such as their teacher), and looking at records and other information. This has to be reviewed regularly so that the support provided continues to meet your child’s needs. That might mean getting advice and further assessment from someone like an educational psychologist, a specialist teacher or a health professional.

Plan: Your school or other setting needs to agree, with your involvement, the outcomes that the SEN support is intended to achieve - or how your child will benefit from any support they get. Everyone must have a say in deciding what kind of support will be provided, and decide a date by which to review this to see how well the support is working and whether the outcomes have been or are being achieved.

  1. In some cases the support will be recorded in a SEN support agreement. The agreement will identify the pupil's strengths and their main barriers to learning. It’s a plan of the wanted outcomes, actions towards achieving outcomes, who is accountable and when the agreement will be reviewed.
  2. If outcomes specified in the agreement are not achieved by the review date the school will initiate a school based support plan. This is developed with school staff, parents, young people and external professionals. This document forms a writen record of the additional support and understanding of the student's needs in order for them to make progression and succeed.

Do: The setting will put the planned support into place. The teacher remains responsible for working with your child on a daily basis, but the SENCo and any support staff or specialist teaching staff involved in providing support should work closely to track your child’s progress and check that the support is proving effective.

Review: The support your child receives should be reviewed at the time agreed in the plan. You can then decide together if the support is having a positive impact, whether the outcomes have been, or are being, achieved and if and/or how any changes should be made.


You can also find out more from Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice.

Children and young people with more complex needs might instead need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. EHC plans replace Statements of SEN and Learning Disability Assessments (LDAs).  The school will use the school based support plan as evidence when requesting a statutory assessment and EHC plan.