If you feel that your child may have SEND then you should ask to speak to your child's class teacher in the first instance. Your child's class teacher may also feel that it would be helpful to have the SENCO attend the meeting. The school closely monitors all of its children with special needs and at the meeting we may feel that we do need to put in place some strategies and interventions to try and remove your child's barriers to learning.
For many children, simple changes to the way that the curriculum is delivered can make a significant impact on removing the barriers to their learning and with these changes in place they are soon able to catch up with their peers and make expected levels of progress. In school we call this 'differentiating the curriculum'.
For some children this may not be enough to help them make adequate progress and they may need something which is 'additional to and different from' that which is normally provided for all children. If a child requires this type of support the school will monitor them according to the SEND Code of Practice. This could mean that the class teacher may be using different strategies to help your child to learn, or perhaps your child will be receiving some additional support in a small group alongside other children with similar needs. At this point a child would be given a Support Plan. Small targets will be given to your child which are needed for them to achieve. These are monitored, evaluated and discussed with you.
Often this level of support in addition to the classroom curriculum differentiation is sufficient to mean that your child no longer has barriers to their learning and they start to make progress. However, for some children this may not be enough and the school, with your agreement, will make the decision to increase the level of support provided. This simply means that the academy have decided to involve some external professionals or agencies to provide them with more specialist advice and guidance in order to support them to remove the barriers to your child's learning. This external support might be from an:
· Educational Psychologist
· Speech and Language Therapist
· Occupational / Physiotherapist
· Communication and Interaction Team
· Learning and Cognition Team
· A medical professional, including CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service).
· Hearing Impairment Service
If your child's needs are wide ranging or more complex, then it may involve several of these people who will need to work in a co-ordinated way.
As more people become involved in helping the school to meet your child's needs the SENCO may talk to you about holding an Early Help Assessment (EHA) meeting. Once established, the EHA will help the school to organise a "Team Around the Child" meeting where everyone involved (including yourself) can sit down together and discuss the best way forward to help the school help your child to make progress.
Only a very small percentage of children require support of an additional nature beyond this. If this is the case, then the SENCO may discuss with you the possibility of asking the Local Authority to undertake a statutory assessment of your child's needs. If this is considered appropriate, then the school will collect together all your child's information and evidence of all the carefully evaluated additional strategies and interventions that have been put in place and with your permission send it off to the Local Authority for them to consider the information at a panel meeting and make a decision whether or not to carry out a statutory assessment of your child's needs. This would then result in your child having a EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan).