If your child isn’t progressing as well as they should, is having difficulty at nursery, school or college, or has a disability, they can get extra help.

local offer logo Many children will have special educational needs at some time during their education.

For most of them this will be a short-term need that can be met through the expertise and resources of their nursery, school or college, or with advice and support from outside professionals.

Very few children will have needs that are long-term or a disability or medical condition that significantly affects their learning.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Who to speak to if you're worried

If you’re worried about your child’s progress in school or their development in early years, speak to:

  • their teacher
  • their nursery worker
  • your GP or health visitor if your child isn’t in nursery or school.

They’ll be able to get your child assessed and refer them for help.

Support in Schools

Quality First Teaching

Within school every child receives what is sometimes referred to as Quality First Teaching, this is from their class teacher and any support staff in class. If a teacher notices a child is dipping behind in what they should be achieving they will put into place some measures to try and help. This can include

  • Observations in class
  • Assessments
  • Provide support and catch-up
  • Review progress

Once this has been put into place and reviewed if the child is still not achieving what they should be, the class teacher will discuss it with the school SENCO.

Every school and nursery has a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). They’re teachers who are trained to identify children with special educational needs and make sure the children get all the help they need. You can talk to the SENCO at your child’s school or nursery.

View the NHS interactive guide on child development from birth to five years old.

The information here will give you an indication as to whether your child is developing at the expected rate.

2. SEND support

What is SEND Support?

Once a child is identified as requiring further support they will be discussed with the SENCO at school. The class teacher is still responsible for supporting the child in their class with the additional direction of the SENCO

The class teacher has to show they have exhausted all of the support this is possible to deliver in the classroom for the child when moving the child onto SEND support.

  • Support could be differentiated work, accommodations for the child’s approach to learning and catch up opportunities.

The SENCO will decide that all regular support available by the teacher has been implemented and monitored effectively before deciding that the pupil has needs that require them to be out on the SEN register. How quickly this decision is made depends on the level of need identified and the way the child responds to interventions - this decision may be made over a number of terms or a number of weeks

What is a SENCO?

A SENCO will have a good understanding of what a class or subject teacher should be able to do in their class – they will provide additional help depending on the experience of the teacher.

SENCOs have a senior role in class to support all teachers to teach all children, that means assisting the teacher in owning the responsibility of identifying and supporting any child who is not making progress in learning or social skills in their class. SENCOs have a senior role in helping all staff identify when a child is requiring more support than the teacher can give alone.

All schools will have a SEND Information Reports on their websites

  • How they identify and support children with SEND
  • Who parents can contact if they are concerned about their child’s progress or think they have a SEN

Where can you find information about SEND support in your school?

All schools will have a SEND information report on their website. This should detail how they identify and support children with SEND. You will also be able to find out who parents and carers can contact if they are concerned about their child’s progress or they think they have special educational need.

3. SEND Support in Early Years

Education:

  • Early Years Forum: provides advice and training opportunities for settings
  • Early Years Inclusion Funding: requests made by early years setting to Lambeth SEND to access additional funding and professional support

Health:

  • Under 5 clinics run by Speech and Language Therapy Service
  • Parents/GPs can refer to Occupational Therapy Service

Care:

  • Early Help Hub - pilot in Streatham

How can my child access this support?

  • speak to lead on SEND in the setting
  • Look on Local Offer

4. SEND Support in Primary Schools

Primary Schools can access these outreach services without cost to the school to support children: • Lambeth Autism Advisory Service – if child has autism • Lambeth Sensory Support Service – if child has hearing or visual impairments • Paediatric Services • Occupational Health resources, telephone advice, direct support • CAMHS assessment if meet thresholds • Behaviour Support Primary schools can access these outreach services but will pay for these from their school budget.

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Literacy specialists
  • Emotional support professionals, e.g. ELSA, counsellors, therapists, learning mentors, art/drama/music therapists

Primary schools can design their offer of support depending on the type of needs they find in their school e.g.

  • Reading support groups
  • Writing support groups
  • Maths support groups
  • Speech and Language therapy groups
  • Lego therapy groups
  • Group therapy – art, drama, music
  • They will also offer very small groups and individual support depending on the needs identified e.g. direct support to engage in tasks in class

The support plan should be reviewed every term and more often if needed, to make sure it is meeting your child's needs. You and your child or young person will be involved in any reviews.

How can my child access this support?

  • Speak to class teacher/form tutor
  • Look at school SEND Information Report

5. SEND Support in Secondary Schools

Secondary schools can access these outreach services without cost to support children

  • Lambeth Sensory Support Service – if child has hearing or visual impairments
  • Paediatric Services
  • Occupational Health resources, telephone advice, direct support
  • CAMHS assessment if meet thresholds
  • Behaviour Support

Secondary schools can access these outreach services from their school budget

  • Lambeth Autism Advisory Service moves to a ‘bought in’ service
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Literacy specialists
  • Emotional support professionals, e.g. ELSA, counsellors, therapists, learning mentors, art/drama/music therapists

Secondary schools are larger organisations and may use their funding differently to meet the larger numbers of children with SEN for instance.:

  • Stream classes and have smaller SEN classes with senior teachers
  • Focus on building independence skills and less on 1:1 support, e.g. support at arms length, focus on building strategies to self-support
  • Before and after school support classes, e.g. homework classes
  • SaLT groups run by SaLT
  • EPs delivering exam stress groups, exam concessions, CBT groups/individual, training and supporting Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs).

6. SEND Support in Further Education

In further education most colleges will have a leaner support team who can support students at college. When you are completing an application or enrolments form for your chosen course you can let them know that oyu need extra support or fill out a referral form at your interview.

Most colleges will meet with you and their support specialists who will assess your needs, they will tailor a support plan and with your permission share this with your tutor and other relevant staff.

To find out more information on learner support services in local colleges please click on one of the links below:

The support plan should be reviewed every term and more often if needed, to make sure it is meeting your child's needs. You and your child or young person will be involved in any reviews.

How can my child access this support?

  • Speak to Secondary school SENCO about transition into FE - what info passed on
  • Look at college websites and speak to Learner Support Services

7. Getting an assessment for an EHCP

If the school or college thinks your child needs more help than a SEND support plan can provide, they may ask us to do an assessment for an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

The EHCP sets out the help your child needs from:

  • nursery, school or college
  • health services
  • children’s services

It sets out:

  • what your child’s special educational needs and disabilities are
  • the extra help they need at nursery, school or college – including the school they should go to
  • targets for the end results your child should reach in their education, health and the care they need – these are called ‘outcomes’

Find out more about EHCPs and the assessment process