What is Special Educational Needs (SEND) Support?

 1.  What is SEND support?

Sometimes, your child or young person will need more help to learn – this is often called a ‘special educational need’.  When this is the case, their education setting must provide suitable support to help them make more progress.

Special educational needs support is to help children and young people to reach their outcomes or learning goals. These outcomes and goals are set for them by their educational setting, with you and your child. It is very important that children and young people with special educational needs join in and participate with the learning experiences of children (of the same age) who do not have special educational needs.

There is a clear process for identifying special educational needs. The process is: planning what is needed, putting in place suitable support and reviewing progress. This is often called the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle, or the ‘Graduated Response’. You, and your child, should play a full part in this process.


 2.  How are children and young people supported?

What is provided specifically for your child will vary depending on your child’s strengths and their needs, and on what is agreed through the Graduated Response (see section 3). However, support from a school or setting may 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
  • helping other children work with your child or play with them at break time.

Additionally, every school within Sutton must publish a SEND information report about the SEND provision the school makes. You can find this on the school’s website. You can also ask your child’s class teacher or the school’s Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCo) for information on the SEND provision made by the school.

The Local Offer at www.sutton.gov.uk/localoffer (external website)  sets out what support it expects early years settings, schools and colleges to make for all children and young people with SEND or disabilities.


3.  What is the Graduated Response?

When pupils may have SEND, the first step is to make sure they receive high quality teaching which meets the needs of individual pupils. Settings should make sure that staff understand how to identify and support children and young people. It is important that teachers have up to date and relevant knowledge of the range of special educational needs that will be found in most mainstream schools.

Where a child or young person has special educational needs, settings should use the Graduated Response to work out what support is best for the child or young person.  This is the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle:

Assess – A difficulty or challenge for a child / young person has been identified. The setting then collects information and assessment to get a full picture of the pupil’s strengths and difficulties.

Plan – The setting decides on appropriate targets and how long they need to be in place for – this should take place through discussion with you and your child. Targets should look at the next steps and the support needed to get there.

Do – Support is put in place.

Review – The child’s progress is reviewed and discussed with you and your child. This review should cover questions such as:

  • 1) Has your child made progress?
  • 2) Where is your child in comparison to their expected progress, given their needs/age?
  • 3) What has worked well and is it no longer needed?
  • 4) What has not worked so well and needs to be changed?

The Graduated Response is a cycle, so after Review, it returns to Assess (i.e. what are the strengths and difficulties now, and how can outcomes be improved even more?)


You can find out more by looking at the SEND Code of Practice 2015.  This sets out what SEND Support is. The Code of Practice sits alongside The Children’s and Families Act 2014. Copies of these two documents can be found by using the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25 (external website)(paragraphs 1.24-1.25; 6.14 – 6.24 and 6.44 – 6.71)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/part/3/enacted (external website) (Part 3)