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Help for your child or young person in education

Children and young people make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Teachers and tutors are expected to draw on different materials and activities to suit each child or young person.

Some children and young people get some extra help at times without being described as having special educational needs.

Schools and pre-schools will tell you if they have identified that your child or young person has special educational needs. They will also talk to you about the different help they offer. All schools publish details of this on the school website in a document called SEN information report.

Children and young people who find learning a lot more difficult than most children and young people their age may have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). 

Have you spoken to the teacher or tutor about what is worrying you?

When a child or young person starts to learn, the person teaching them can do lots of different things to help.

They will
1. Look at where the child or young person is now
2. Agree what can be done differently
3. Take some action with the child or young person and try different ways of doing things
4. Check how things are going and how the child or young person is progressing

The person doing the checks will usually plan some different ways to try to help. You can help by knowing what is being tried and helping to do the same at home any time you can.

It is easier for the child to learn if everyone is doing the same things in the same way.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos)

These are people who are trained in finding out what it is that is making it difficult for the child or young person to make progress. They will work with you and with your child or young person's teachers to find the best ways of working together to help as early as possible so that better progress can be made.

They may involve specially trained services and staff and they will see if they can find ways to help make progress.

All of the above is happening all the time and is what is expected to be available to you. This is called Core Standards for Education. On that webpage, there is a video that helps to explain how it works. It shows how learning and help to learn is gradual. This is called the graduated approach.

There are a lot of Support Services for Education  which can be found here.

You can get impartial information, advice and support by contacting the 
Somerset Special Education Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service 

Sometimes it seems no matter what you try progress is still not happening. Once all the different ways have been tried it may be that a bit more help is needed.

Together with the teachers and school SENCO you will be involved in gathering information and finding ways in which help can be provided. This process will follow a cycle of:

  • Assessing your child or young person's needs
  • Planning what support to offer and agreeing on priorities and outcomes
  • Providing support
  • Reviewing whether the support is working and if necessary amending support available to your child/young person

The idea is that this cycle keeps happening for as long as your child or young person needs SEND support. The information is recorded at each review.

Sometimes the whole family could do with some support to work out how best to get this going in the right direction. It is times like this that an Early Help Assessment may be offered to you.

Where SEND support does not work

If children or young people do not make the expected progress under SEND support things should intensify, perhaps bringing in expert advice to help assess in more detail or planning more or different support.

As a parent or carer you should be involved at every stage. A record of the support to be given and the outcomes that support is meant to achieve should be shared with you.

A small number of children and young people will ultimately need to move to the next stage, this is being assessed to see if they need an EHC Plan.