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SEN Support

Changes to the categorisation of SEN have led to a need for greater clarity of the definition of SEN Support, the new single category of SEN.

The definition of SEN has remained unchanged in the new SEND Code of Practice:

"A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • Has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions."

(Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0-25 years, January 2015, p. 15-16)

However, the definition of what constitutes SEN Support is less clear. In order to help schools, colleges and Early Years settings accurately identify their SEN Support cohort, KCC provides the following clarification of what constitutes SEN Support:

"SEN support is intensive and personalised intervention which is required to enable the child/young person (CYP) to be engaged in learning. It will usually involve significant amounts of resource from the educational setting (approaching, or in a minority of cases exceeding, the nationally prescribed threshold for schools and colleges). Each CYP identified as SEN Support will have Outcomes which have been agreed through a process of collaboration and discussion. A personalised programme of support will be devised and be reviewed and adjusted frequently (at least three times per year) with close CYP and/or parental involvement."

Each and every educational setting should make provision for a CYP as and when they require it, irrespective of their Special Education Need. Additional teaching opportunities (e.g. small group catch up) or the filling of gaps in learning due to absence or not making the progress that is expected is not considered to meet the criteria for SEN support; it should be normal practice in schools.

However, all educational settings should take action through a graduated response to identify pupils with a Special Educational Need. Children or Young People who have been diagnosed with a condition (speech and language, dyslexia, autism etc.) may have a recognised Special Educational Need, but will not automatically be included on the SEN register unless they are in receipt of significant, additional and personalised support without which they could not access learning.

Where a child or young person is identified as SEN Support, the educational setting should meet with the CYP and /or their parents/carers to discuss their long-term aspirations and agree the Outcomes that will guide provision over the current Key Stage. The SEND Code of Practice recommends that this conversation, and any review of the Outcomes and provision, should be via the school’s normal parent consultation process, through an extended meeting time. This optional document - the Record of SEN in-year review (DOCX, 14.7 KB) (Record of SEN in-year review GUIDANCE) (DOCX, 15.8 KB) - could be used to help teachers capture this conversation with parents of children identified as SEN Support. It can be used to record aspirations for the future, Outcomes for the current Key Stage as well as any information about what works and does not work for this student. It should be used in conjunction with the Provision Map or Personalised Plan and if used to capture subsequent review conversations, can form part of the school’s evidence that it is meeting its best endeavours duty.

Schools that require advice on effective intervention for each need type should consult KCC's guidance documents - the Mainstream Core Standards. Early Years Settings should consult the Best Practice Guidance for EYFS, to ensure appropriate intervention is being made available in their settings. In addition, schools and settings could consult such resources as the Sutton Trust Teaching and Learning toolkit and Greg Brooks' evaluation of what works in literacy interventions

The effectiveness and impact of the provision the educational setting has made can generally be tracked using Provision Maps. Where there is significant support that qualifies for High Needs Funding or the CYP's needs are many and varied, the education setting should use:

Early Years settings should use the Early Years Personalised Plan to record the Outcomes agreed with the parents/young person and monitor and evaluate the provision made. For guidance on completing the Personalised Plan please view the Early Years Personalised Plan Guidance document:

If additional assessment or advice and support are required, the school or Early Years setting should request this at a School LIFT or Early Years LIFT meeting. School LIFT meeting dates can be found on the schools' website or by contacting the school directly. Early Years LIFT meeting dates can be found here.

The Annual SEN Report (DOCX, 25.0 KB) is a useful way for governors to share their evaluation of the effectiveness of their SEN arrangements with parents and Ofsted inspectors. It can sit alongside the SEN policy, that the school has already published, with information that evaluates the effectiveness of those arrangements.