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Placement in mainsteam school - meeting special needs education

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice gives guidance to early education settings, state schools, local authorities (LAs) and anybody else who helps to identify, assess and provide help for children with special educational needs. It sets out the processes and procedures that all these organisations must follow to meet the needs of children. They must not ignore the guidance in the code. They must also take account of the code when they write their SEN policies.

SEN Code of Practice

Download the SEN Code of Practice from the Department for Education site.

If you would like a hard copy, please phone 0845 602 2260 or email dfes@prolog.uk.com

The code describes how help for children with SEN in schools and early education settings should be provided through a graduated approach.

The graduated approach recognises that children learn in different ways and can have different kinds or levels of SEN. So increasingly, step by step, specialist expertise can be brought in to help the school with the difficulties that a child may have.

Early education settings and schools place great importance on identifying special educational needs early, so that they can help children as quickly as possible. Once it has been decided that a child has SEN, the child’s teachers should take account of the guidance in the SEN Code of Practice. This includes giving parents information about the local parent partnership service.

The school must tell parents when they first start giving extra or different help for their child because they have special educational needs. The extra or different help could be a different way of teaching certain things, some help from an extra adult, perhaps in a small group or the use of particular equipment, like a computer or a desk with a sloping top.

In early education settings, this help is called Early Years Action and in schools this is called School Action.

A child might need help through the graduated approach for only a short time or for many years, perhaps even for the whole of their education.

Parents should be consulted at each step. Different schools will take account of the code of practice in different ways. However, no matter how the school chooses to take account of the code, if a child has SEN, their parents should be consulted at each step. The school will also consider a child’s own views. Schools should tell parents about their children’s progress. They have a right to see the school’s SEN policy and to receive a copy of the school’s annual report, which will include a report on that policy.

Find out more on the DfE's SEN Code of Practice page.