What is SEND?

What does SEND mean?

SEND is the abbreviation used for ‘Special Educational Needs and Disabilities’.

Children are all different and make progress at different rates. They have different ways in which they learn best. Our teachers take account of this in the way they organise their lessons and teach. Children making slower progress or having particular difficulties in one area may be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed.

It is important not to assume, just because your child is making slower progress than you expected or the teachers are providing different support, help or activities in class, that your child has special educational needs.

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice: for 0 to 25 years (Statutory guidance for organisations who work with and support children and young people with SEND), which came into effect in January 2015, is the document which gives us guidance on increasing options and improving provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs. A copy can be found in the Policy and Code of Practice Section.

This definition appears at the beginning of the document:

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they:
(a) Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
(b) Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Barriers to Learning

The term ‘Barriers to learning’ refers to difficulties or situations that prevent a child from making age appropriate progress. A child may experience one or more barriers.  It is our role to work with you to remove the barriers to learning and enable children to reach their full potential.

These are the main barriers to learning a child may experience:
• Learning difficulties – in acquiring basic skills in school
• Communication problems – in expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
• Autistic Spectrum Disorder
• Specific learning difficulty – with reading, writing, number work or understanding information
• A physical, medical or health condition – which may slow down a child’s progress and/or involves treatment that affects his or her education.
• Sensory or physical needs - such as hearing or visual impairment, which might affect them in school
• Emotional, social, behavioural and mental health difficulties – making friends or relating to adults or behaving appropriately in school


Identifying SEND

In order to help children who have SEND we adopt a graduated response that includes a range of strategies. We recognise that there is a continuum of special educational needs; some may be minor and short term, whilst in some exceptional cases SEND are complex and lifelong. Most will be supported successfully in school but where necessary, and after consultation with parents, we will bring increasing specialist expertise to bear on the difficulties that a child may be experiencing.

Identification can come from a number of routes. It may be from a previous school or nursery, via teaching staff or professionals in school or   concerns raised by parents/carers. We would always look to  reach the decision as the result of collaboration between everyone involved with the child.

Some children will come into school having already been identified as having a SEND. These children will be added to our SEND profile; this is a list of the children in school with SEND and the type of barriers to learning they experience.  They will also be included in the Provision map; this is a whole school management system that helps us to co-ordinate the identification, support and monitoring of those children who receive additional support.

At West End Primary School we routinely make observations and assessments of all our children. These take place in a range of formats depending on the age of the children. The results are tracked and monitored by staff and the senior leadership team. We consider the progress of individual children and identify the stage they are currently working at and the progress they have made over time. We also consider targets, or expected progress for the future.

At this time we are able to identify those pupils who are not making expected progress given their age and individual circumstances.
This can be characterised by progress which:
• is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same stage
• fails to match or exceed the child’s previous rate of development
• widens the attainment gap between the child and his/her peers with the same starting point

At West End Primary School we hold  formal SEND reviews three times a year. These are meetings between the providers of interventions, class teachers and the SENCO. They are an opportunity to identify and discuss individual children who fall into one or more of the categories above. We use this time to discuss concerns that parents/carers and/or the class teacher may have, what support we have provided already, how effective this has been, what progress has been made and what we plan to do next. Parents'/carers' views will be considered at this stage and findings discussed. Where appropriate parents/carers will be invited to work with the SENCO to complete an Inclusion Wheel, which is a document used to provide a holistic view of the child's strengths and needs.  Parents/carers also have the opportunity to meet the SENCO at monthly drop-in sessions. At any point during the school year teachers, support staff and parents/carers may raise a concern with the SENCO and initiate the provision map plan.

The SEND review process is used to discuss and implement Group Intervention Plans for those children who are supported within a group and/or Individual Profiles for those children who require more personalised interventions and support. These are reviewed regularly.

Where a child has SEND and we are finding it difficult to remove the barriers to learning, support may be requested from external agencies who are in a position to advise the school and parents/carers. We usually need to provide evidence of what we have put in place already and how effective it has been. Any such referral will require parental consent.

Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP)

Where there is evidence that a child has complex and/or lifelong needs a referral for assessment for an Educational Health Care Plan may be made to Northumberland County Council. This will take place following the Northumberland County Council procedures and involves working closely with parents/carers and all other agencies involved in supporting the child.

The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood. To achieve this, local authorities use the information from the assessment to:

• establish and record the views, interests and aspirations of the parents and child or young person
• provide a full description of the child or young person’s special educational needs and any health and social care needs
• establish outcomes across education, health and social care based on the child or young person’s needs and aspirations
• specify the provision required and how education, health and care services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes 
(SEND Code of Practice 2015)