All schools support

The support that parents can expect from all mainstream schools, including free schools and academies, for their child with special educational needs (SEN) or a disability.

If your child has SEN and/or disability, but not a statement or education health and care plan (EHC), what support can you expect if they attend a mainstream school or early years setting?

Your child will be covered by SEN and Equalities law. This means that the leaders of early years settings, schools and colleges should make sure that there are high expectations of young people with SEN or disabilities and that they are included in all the opportunities available to other children and young people so that they can achieve well.

This includes state schools and academies that are not special schools, maintained nursery schools, 16-to-19 academies, alternative provision academies and pupil referral units. It does not include independent or private schools.

Schools and settings are required to do everything they can to meet the needs of their pupils.

This sometimes means making “reasonable adjustments” to ensure that children can access the full curriculum. For example, moving a classroom from the top floor to the ground floor if there is no lift for a physically disabled pupil. All schools must have a designated teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision (the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCO).

A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability means that they need different or additional educational provision to the normal provision for pupils of the same age.

Schools have a duty to identify any difficulties that a pupil may have with learning or access to the whole curriculum, and put in place provision to address the issues or remove the barrier. This may be through normal adjustments to teaching and/or providing additional targeted support. Schools may also want to use outside expertise to give them further advice and support depending on the level of need.

Mainstream schools should inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child.

All schools now have a duty to publish how they make provision for SEN in a way that is accessible for parents – for example, on their website. Different schools have particular areas of expertise and training, but all mainstream schools have a duty to support a wide range of pupils with SEN and to acquire additional expertise where needed.

For further information

The council’s educational psychologists can be contacted through Tower Hamlets schools. Parents who are worried about their child will need to talk to school staff first. To contact your local school, please refer to the list of primary, secondary, nursery and special schools we have in the borough.

For more information visit the schools in Tower Hamlets webpage.

The council’s educational psychologist team also offers monthly surgeries in partnership with the Parents Advice Centre. Please contact the PAC for more information on 020 7364 6460.

For information about additional support services available to schools please call Roland Ramanan at the Support for Learning Service on 020 7364 6440.