Education

Our vision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is the same as for all children and young people – that they achieve well, fulfil their potential, and lead happy and enriched lives. A child’s education is pivotal to this.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice plays a vital role in facilitating every child ‘s right to an accessible education. It sets out the duties of local authorities, health bodies and educational settings to provide for children and young people with special educational needs under the Children and Families Act (2014).

Children and young people, and their families, are at the heart of the SEND Code of Practice (2014). We aim to work collaboratively with children and young people, and their parents, taking into account their views, wishes and feelings and encouraging participation in decision-making, to ensure they can achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood.

SEN Support

Every child with special educational needs should have SEN support. This means help that is additional to or different from the support generally given to other children of the same age. 

The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school.  Schools should involve parents in this process. 

Every school must publish a SEN information report about the SEN provision the school makes on their own website. You can also ask your child’s teacher or the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) for information on the SEN provision made by the school.

Who decides what SEN support my child has?

The school should decide if your child needs SEN support and should talk to you and your child about this. If a young person is 16 or older the school should involve them directly. Sometimes you may be the first to be aware that your child has some special educational needs. If you think your child may need SEN support you should talk to your child’s teacher or to the SENCo. If you are not happy about the support your child has you can ask to talk to the SENCo or headteacher. 

When your child is identified with SEN, the school should use a graduated approach based on four steps. These are Assess, Plan, Do and Review.

Assess 

Teaching staff should work with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator to assess your child’s needs, so that they give the right support. They should involve you in this and, where possible, seek your child’s views. Sometimes schools will seek advice from a specialist teacher or a health professional. They should talk to you about this first.

Plan

If the school decides that your child needs SEN support it must tell you. The school should talk with you about the outcomes that will be set, what help will be provided and agree a date for progress to be reviewed. 

Do

Your child’s class or subject teacher is usually responsible for the work that is done with your child, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved. The school should tell you who is responsible for the support your child receives.  All those who work with your child should be made aware of their needs and support agreed.

Review

The school should review your child’s progress, and the difference that the help your child has been given has made, on the date agreed in the plan. You and your child should be involved in the review and in planning the next step.  Sometimes it helps to involve other professionals in further assessment or to support planning the next steps.

If your child has not made reasonable progress it will be important to agree with the school what should happen next. You and the school can look at the Local Offer to see what support is available that could help achieve your child’s outcomes.

More information on the Graduated Approach can be found under Downloads on this page.

What is the right setting for my child?

Details of local schools, including special schools and specialist provision can be found in the Directory of Schools.

Most children with a special educational need can be taught in their local mainstream school. However, if your child has more complex needs then they may need to go to a special school or an alternative resource provision (ARP) within a mainstream school.

Deciding which school you would prefer your child or young person to go to is an important decision for any parent/carer. If your child or young person has special educational needs, there are extra things you will want to think about.

Arranging a visit to the school

If your child is due to start a new school, you should contact the school to arrange a visit.

  • Schools are busy places, and it is a good idea to ask who you will meet at the school and how much time they will be able to spend with you. It would be a good idea to ask to see the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).
  • Think carefully about whether you want to take your child with you on the visit (you could discuss this first)
  • Decide if you want to take someone along with you, such as a friend or relative. This can be helpful, to talk through your view of the school after the visit
  • You may find it useful to have a guided tour of the school. You will get a better feel for the school if you can do this in school hours when the children are there.

What you can do before visiting the school

All schools have to produce a school prospectus or brochure. It might help you to ask for a copy and to read through this before you visit the school. You could also ask for:

  • The school’s Special Educational Needs Policy
  • other policies, such as the Behaviour or Anti-Bullying Policy
  • The OFSTED Inspectors’ report on the school. This is also available from the OFSTED website.

Reading through this information will give you an idea of what the school is like and help you think of things you want to find out more about.

Things to ask on your visit

  • The organisation of classes – whether they put the children in sets according to their ability (particularly in English, Science and Maths). What IT facilities there are – how many computer rooms there are and whether there are enough computers for every child in the class?
  • How many pupils will be in your child’s class
  • What the school do to make sure that all staff know about your child’s individual needs
  • How the school arranges extra support for children who need it
  • How the school involves parents in planning for their child’s needs
  • How the school helps the other children to understand a child’s needs
How can I apply for a specialist setting or Alternative Resource Provision?

In exceptional cases a parent can request a special school or a place in an Alternative Resource Provision (ARP). Children who attend special schools or alternative resource provisions usually have an EHCP.

Special school places are for those pupils with the most severe and/or complex special educational needs and where the parents or young person decide they want non-mainstream education (i.e. a place in a special school), or the parents prefer a placement in a mainstream school, but evidence exists that no reasonable steps could be taken by the Local Authority or school to overcome the incompatibility with “the provision of efficient education for others” (Section 33 of the Children and Families Act 2014).

Individual cases will be considered according to the particular needs and circumstances of the child, and local special schools will be consulted. All special schools have an admissions policy which can be found on their website.

More details can be found on our Special Schools and Alternative Resource Provisions page.

Who is responsible for supporting your child in school?

Within a school setting there are many roles that contribute to the education of SEND pupils. Below is a description from the DfE’s, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice: 0-25 (2015) of the SEND support that is provided by each role in a school setting:

Class Teacher

6.12 All pupils should have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. The National Curriculum Inclusion Statement states that teachers should set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty should be identified and addressed at the outset. Lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement. In many cases, such planning will mean that pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full national curriculum.

6.15  A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age. Making higher quality teaching normally available to the whole class is likely to mean that fewer pupils will require such support.

6.36  Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.

SENCO

6.88  The SENCO has day-to-day responsibility for the operation of SEN policy and co- ordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils with SEN, including those who have EHC plans.

6.89  The SENCO provides professional guidance to colleagues and will work closely with staff, parents and other agencies. The SENCO should be aware of the provision in the Local Offer and be able to work with professionals providing a support role to families to ensure that pupils with SEN receive appropriate support and high quality teaching.

6.90  The key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:

  • overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
  • co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
  • liaising with the relevant Designated Teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
  • advising on the graduated approach to providing SEN support 
  • advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
  • liaising with parents of pupils with SEN
  • liaising with early years providers, other schools, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals, and independent or voluntary bodies
  • being a key point of contact with external agencies, especially the local authority and its support services
  • liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a pupil and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
  • working with the headteacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements
  • ensuring that the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date 

Headteacher

6.37 Schools should regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all pupils, including those at risk of underachievement. This includes reviewing and, where necessary, improving, teachers’ understanding of strategies to identify and support vulnerable pupils and their knowledge of the SEN most frequently encountered.

6.4 The quality of teaching for pupils with SEN, and the progress made by pupils, should be a core part of the school’s performance management arrangements and its approach to professional development for all teaching and support staff. School leaders and teaching staff, including the SENCO, should identify any patterns in the identification of SEN, both within the school and in comparison with national data, and use these to reflect on and reinforce the quality of teaching.

SEND Governor

6.3 There should be a member of the governing body or a sub-committee with specific oversight of the school’s arrangements for SEN and disability. School leaders should regularly review how expertise and resources used to address SEN can be used to build the quality of whole-school provision as part of their approach to school improvement.

6.84  Governing bodies of maintained mainstream schools and the proprietors of mainstream academy schools (including free schools) must ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as SENCO for the school.

Part-time timetables

The government’s guidance makes it clear that ‘all pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education’ and that part-time timetables should only be used ‘in very exceptional circumstances'.

Schools should be able to demonstrate that there is a time limited plan in place to enable the student to be reintegrated quickly to full-time education, and evidence the plan’s success.

If a pupil needs to be removed from the school for a period of time for disciplinary purposes, the correct exclusion procedures must be followed. If a pupil is sent home in these circumstances it must be recorded as fixed-term exclusion.

The Access and Inclusion Service are responsible for supporting schools and parents in relation to children who have either been excluded from school or are at risk of exclusion.

In addition, Central Bedfordshire Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice & Support Service (SENDIASS) is able to offer independent advice and support to parents whose children have, or may have, special educational needs.

Guidance for Schools

Elective Home Education

Parents may choose to educate their child at home rather than at school. The reasons for deciding on this approach are many, as are the styles of education undertaken. Whatever the circumstances, we aim to support parents in their choice.

By law, parents and carers must ensure their children receive an education. The local authority are responsible for ensuring education given to children at home is suitable.

The first step to home education

To begin to home school your child you must first deregister them by sending a letter/email to your child's school requesting them to take your child off roll, from a specific date, stating that you intend to home educate them from now on. The school will then inform Access and Inclusion who will make contact with you.

After deregistering, it is your responsibility to organise the education of your child. The local authority cannot send anyone to your house to teach your child.

The National Curriculum

The education you provide has to be full time, efficient and suitable.

You do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but you may find it helpful to use it as a framework, both for subjects to include and to get an idea of levels of achievement.  The government website includes guidance and tools for both Primary and Secondary.

You might follow a timetable that you have devised; most home educators have a "flexible" timetable. You may choose to follow a form of 'discovery' education, in which the interests of your child are the focus. Or you might use mixture of these methods. It's entirely up to you. Oak National Academy has lots of resources to support home learning.  If you intend to send your child to school in the future, then it would be wise to be aware of what is taught in school so they are not disadvantaged. There are many textbooks and workbooks based on the National Curriculum and these may be useful. 

Exams

It is up to parents to investigate and pay for your child's exams. There are some schools in the local area that will agree for home educated children to sit exams at their school. The schools which offer this are subject to change, as it depends on how many of their own students are sitting exams as to whether they can accommodate any more.

You can contact Access and Inclusion or other professionals to find out if they are aware of any currently taking students, or please let us know if you have found a school that will.

Sending my child back into school

If you decide to send your child back into school please contact the school admissions team by completing an online form. There is no guarantee that a place will still be available at their previous school.

Support for parents or carers

Here are some of the ways the local authority can support parents or carers if they are considering home education as an option:

  • how to deregister your child from school
  • advice on different approaches and ensuring that your child receives an education suitable for their age, aptitude and ability
  • particular advice on contacts around issues of special educational needs. For example, SEND Advice contacts, information on requesting an assessment of needs, careers and counselling contacts
  • reports may be provided to support parental appeals, for example, admissions or college entry
  • personal or telephone contact to discuss issues at any time
  • general advice about the different ways families home educate in Central Bedfordshire

Home education resources

EOTAS (Education Other Than At School)

The best place for children to receive their education is in a school or post-16 setting, with their peers, where each pupil’s full range of learning and developmental needs can be addressed. However, there are circumstances where a young person may require a period of educational provision delivered otherwise than at school. If school or college is not appropriate for the child or young person, the Local Authority can arrange for any special educational provision which the child or young person requires to be delivered somewhere other than in a school, college or early years setting. This is often known as ‘education otherwise than at school’ or ‘EOTAS’.

EOTAS is provided to meet the specific needs of children and young people with an EHCP who, for whatever reason, cannot attend an educational setting. In order to agree to a package of EOTAS, the Local Authority must decide that it is necessary to make special educational provision that is not in a school, post-16 institution (such as a college), or an early years setting. EOTAS will only be agreed in circumstances where the Local Authority is satisfied that a school, post-16 institution, or early years setting would be inappropriate for the child or young person and would only be in place for the duration of the period that accessing an educational setting would be inappropriate. If agreed, an EOTAS package would be reviewed regularly by the Local Authority with a view for the young person to resume attendance within an educational setting as soon as practically possible in relation to their needs.

Post 16 Education

Most young people who have learning difficulties or disabilities will be able to take up a course at school or college as these providers will be able to provide additional support needed to learn. Most colleges also offer specialist entry level supported learning courses that focus on developing basic skills and life skills.

Other options that may be available to those with Education Health and Care Plans, dependent on need, are bespoke mixed packages of education and care, more specialist independent provision and supported internships.

If you are still in education your school or college should provide you with careers information, advice, and guidance. Contact the on-site careers advisor for more information or ask your tutor or SEND contact on how to request this.

You will find lots of useful information around making education and careers choices, apprenticeships and finding work, on our Find Your Future Careers Portal.

If you are aged 16 to 19 years old and not in education, employment, or training (NEET) and need support, the Youth Support Service Personal Guidance Advisors can provide careers advice, information and support to young people living in Central Bedfordshire.  

More information can be found on our Further and Higher Education page.

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