Your child may have difficulties with reading, they may have a diagnosis of autism, they may find it hard to socialise and make friends, or they may have hearing difficulties.
Whatever their special educational need or disability, your Local Authority has a duty to ensure that your child can reach their educational potential, whether they are at a pre-school, a mainstream or special primary or secondary school, or at a further education college. You may find it useful to look at the SEND Code of Practice, which provides guidance that all schools and other organisations must follow.
Schools, colleges and pre-schools are expected to work with you, the local authority, and a range of other specialist agencies to ensure your child’s individual needs are met. If your child is already attending an educational organisation, such as a primary school, you may find it useful to first speak to the SENCO (special educational needs coordinator), who can explain fully what support is available for your child at that school.
The SENDIASS team can also provide information about support provided at other local schools, and can also assist you in liaising with the school, or making a complaint, if you feel your child’s school isn’t providing appropriate support for your child.
If the Local Authority feels that your child needs additional support beyond what can reasonably be expected to be provided by your child’s school/setting, they will carry out a detailed assessment of your child’s educational, health and care (EHC) needs and produce what is known as an EHC Plan. This legal document highlights how all the different local agencies and individuals will work together to support your child and ensure that they reach their educational potential. Your SENDIAS team can talk you through how an EHC Plan is created, and how you can ensure your voice and the voice of your child are heard during this process.
Children with SEND are more likely to be bullied at school, and may also engage in bullying themselves. Bullying can be very upsetting both for your child and for the whole family. Speak with your child if you think they are at risk of bullying, and raise the issue with the school. Your SENDIAS team can also advise you on local and national support available, such as the Bullying Advice and Support Helpline
Children with SEND are at a higher risk of exclusion from school. This can indicate that the support they are receiving in school is not meeting their needs. The SENDIAS team will be able to advise you on meeting with school staff and discussing different ways to reduce exclusion and ensure your child’s needs are being met (eg training for staff, time out for child).
They will also be able to signpost you to useful support, such as a helpline School Exclusion Helpline www.autism.org.uk/services/helplines/school-exclusions.aspx