The SEND Code of Practice 2015 sets out the duties which must be observed by Early Years Settings, schools and further education providers, identifying children and young people with SEN(D) and providing support for them.
Treating people equally means treating them according to their needs. All learners are unique and all are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress so that they achieve their best, become confident individuals, and make a successful transition into adulthood.
Mainstream Early Years settings, schools and colleges will support most learners with SEN(D) by making reasonable adjustments to remove or reduce barriers to learning. They will use specific parts of their budget (called 'notional SEN funding', and for some pupils 'Pupil Premium funding') to create provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other learners of the same age in that setting.
Settings are required to use their best efforts in not only identifying children and young people with SEN(D) but also in providing support for them. The support that is ordinarily available must be set out and published by the educational setting and placed on its website.
Workforce Development Programme
Settings are expected to ensure that the workforce is adequately trained to support all children and young people including those who may have additional or special educational needs and disabilities, and those in vulnerable groups.
Below are some recommended SEN(D) awareness training programmes for the whole setting workforce:
- Autism Education Trust (AET) programme Level 1
- STEPS or PROACT-SCIPr behaviour de-escalation programmes
- MindEd e-learning portal
Attainment and Progress Data Analysis
Settings are expected to routinely collect and monitor information (data) on the attainment and progress of all children and young people. This includes learning in literacy, numeracy and other subject areas. It also includes wider life skills such as communication, mental health, well-being and independence.
When children and young people are not making progress in line with their peers, settings should investigate the reasons and take actions. Settings should contact and involve parents and carers. Parents and carers can expect to be listened to as 'experts on their own child or young person'.
Routine data that the setting might refer to includes the Two Year Old Integrated Checks, the Foundation Stage Profile, and the setting's own whole-school progress tracking data.
Children who are not making expected developmental or learning progress do not necessarily have special educational needs, particularly if they are performing only a little below peers. They may have fallen behind for any number of reasons. With appropriate input, they should be expected to catch-up in time. In some situations, it will be appropriate to seek wider family support for the family. If so, an Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT) is suitable. Find out more about the Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT).
Settings are expected to arrange appropriate 'catch-up' actions (or targeted provision). 'Catch-up' actions can address areas relating to learning and/or nurturing. The actions taken should address a small number of specific outcomes for the child or young person and be delivered over a limited period. If necessary, they may be in stepped stages. 'Before' and 'after' measurements must be taken at each stage to check that the actions have been effective and that the child is making progress.
Where the child or young person is in a vulnerable group such as Free School Meals, Child Looked After or English as an Additional Language, it is expected that settings provide a joined up response so that their needs are correctly identified and appropriate responses made.
Some settings use their Pupil Premium Funding to buy nationally recognised programmes. See this briefing for more information from the Department of Education on effective teaching of disadvantaged groups (DOC).
Effective Communication Systems
Expectations around communication between home, the child or young person and the educational provider, should be agreed between the school and home. Some things to consider are the use of emails, communication booklets, phone calls and the protocols for family-centred meetings. The setting's arrangements need to be flexible enough to adapt to the needs of different families.
Where there are other agencies involved with the child or young person and their family, it is important to ensure one person is acting as a Lead Professional to coordinate the support and avoid duplication.