Special educational needs (SEN) support

Every child who has special educational needs should have SEN support to help them achieve their outcomes or learning objectives. SEN support means support that is additional to or different from the support generally made for other children of the same age. 

All schools must provide this for children with special educational needs. The SEND Code says that all schools must:

  • use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN
  • ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision – the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCO
  • inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • publish an SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time

Your child’s school must publish information about the SEN provision that they make on their website in the SEN Information Report. You can also ask your child’s teacher or the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator for information about the SEN provision made by the school.

The support can take many forms. This could include:

  • a special learning programme for your child
  • extra help from a teacher or a learning support assistant
  • making or changing materials and equipment
  • working with your child in a small group
  • observing your child in class or at break and keeping records
  • helping your child to take part in the class activities
  • making sure that your child has understood things by encouraging them to ask questions and to try something they find difficult
  • helping other children work with your child, or play with them at break time
  • supporting your child with physical or personal care difficulties, such as eating, getting around school safely, toileting or dressing.
  • seeking and using advice from some specialists in the planning for your child.

Who decides what SEN support my child has?

The school decide what SEN support your child will have, but they should talk to you and your child about this. If you are not happy about the support your child has you can ask to talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) or Head teacher.

To assess your child's needs, the school should use a graduated approach based on four steps. These are:

  1. Assess - Your child’s teacher/teachers should work with the SENCo to assess your child’s needs. They will also agree what outcomes should be set. They should involve you in this and, where possible, seek your child’s views.
  2. Plan- If the school decide that your child needs SEN support they must tell you. The school should talk with you about the help that will be provided and set a date for progress to be reviewed.
  3. Do - Your child’s class or subject teacher is responsible for the work that is done with your child, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff who may also be involved.
  4. Review - The school should review your child’s progress, and the difference that the help they have been given has made. You and your child should be involved in the review and in planning the next step.

Sometimes it may be helpful to involve other professionals in further assessment or to help with planning what should happen next. If your child has not made reasonable progress it will be important to agree with the school what should happen next.

Where can I get more information, advice or support?

You can find out more about SEN support at your child’s school by:

  • Looking at the SEN Information Report on the school website
  • Talking to your child’s teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

You can also get in touch with the Parents Advice Centre (PAC) who can give you:

  • more information about SEN support
  • advice about what to do if you are not happy with the support your school is providing
  • information about other organisations, support groups and information services that may be of help
  • information and advice about your rights to request a statutory assessment of your child’s needs. 

You can read about SEN Support in the SEND Code of Practice Chapter 6.

Contact us

Parents Advice Centre
30 Greatorex St
E1 5NP

Tel: 020 7364 6489
Email: pac@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Both services operate a drop-in on Tuesdays and Fridays between 9.30am and 3pm.

Tower Hamlets Special Educational Needs Section
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent 
E14 2BG

Tel: 020 7364 4880