Children usually start school in the September after their 4th birthday, and will stay in education until they are at least 18 years old. Throughout their school years teachers will plan their lessons to make sure that all children can learn at their own pace.
About 20% of children will have special educational needs at some time during their school years. These needs are often fairly straight forward, and may only last for a short time. The vast majority of children with special educational needs attend their local school. This enables them to mix with other children of the same age, and to follow the same curriculum.
All local schools support children with special educational needs, and set out how they do so in their SEN policy and School Information Report. They all have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), who makes sure that children get any extra support they need. If the school thinks your child needs extra support (called SEN Support) they will discuss this with you. They may set out how that support will be provided in a Plan such as a Pupil Passport or SEND Support Plan and follow a four stage approach known as Assess, Plan, Do, Review. Schools receive funding to provide this support as part of their core budget. Find more detailed information on how children with SEN are supported in school.
A small number of children will need more help than their school can provide as SEN Support. If this is the case for your child the school can ask the Council to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessment (also called a Statutory Assessment) to identify all your child’s needs. Find further information on eligibility for an EHC Assessment.
If the Council agrees that a Statutory Assessment is needed this will usually mean that an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be issued. EHCPs describe children’s additional needs, the support they should be provided with in school to meet those needs, and any additional resources the Council has agreed to provide to enable the school to put that support in place.
A very small number of children, only those with the most severe and complex special educational needs, may need to go to a special school.
For more information see: