How children with SEND are supported in education 

​The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years’ settings, schools or colleges through the resources delegated to them by SEN Support funding.

SEN Support: where a child or young person has been identified as having special educational needs, schools should put in place a four part cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review. This is a graduated approach to understanding the child or young person’s needs and removing their barriers to learning.

Schools use criteria about expected progress to decide when the child isn’t making enough progress so they can arrange extra support. The criteria are used to make it fair when schools are deciding which children should have more or less help.

Sometimes children don’t make enough progress or continue to have difficulties managing in school, even with extra support.  In these cases schools will get advice from other professionals. This might include further more detailed assessment so that good advice can be given to the school and family. You will always be given copies of any reports written about your child and be able to discuss them.

Examples of additional and extra help for pupils with SEND:

  • Individualised targets set for the pupil following discussion between school, pupil, parents and other professionals.
  • the SENCO involved in assessing, planning and reviewing progress.
  • making a task different so it is manageable, for instance a pupils with literacy difficulties might show learning by making a poster rather than writing an essay.
  • regular planned support from the teacher, teaching assistants and the SENCO.
  • flexible group work to support individual learning targets.
  • individual sessions or small groups for literacy and numeracy.
  • social skills groups*
  • changes made to the classroom such as a quiet study area, reducing glare by putting up blinds or putting soft feet on chairs to reduce noise.
  • access to ICT solutions and specialist materials and equipment.
  • specialist support or advice from other professionals like an educational psychologist or speech and language therapist or
  • a programme to improve handwriting or other physical skills.

This support is usually provided by the school using its delegated budget. For pupils with greater needs which cannot be met within this budget, schools and parents or young people can request a top up through an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.

Further guidance about SEN Support in schools is contained in Chapter 3 of the Golden Binder

Examples of SEND Support Plans used in schools and links to other relevant reading are in Appendix 1 of the Golden Binder shown below:

Appendix 1 – SEN Support                                                                                             


SEN Threshold Guidance

These documents are based on the ‘Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years, statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities.’ January 2015.

The guidance is intended to be used by schools, AfC officers, health professionals, social care professionals and families. It is a guide to the difficulties and challenges that pupils are likely to be experiencing when identified as needing special educational needs (SEN) support or statutory action (that may lead to an education, health and care plan (EHCP). The aim is to ensure transparency and parity between schools in terms of identification and ensuring clear expectations regarding the support provided at each step. Any specific interventions or assessments named in the guidance are intended as examples rather than as endorsements or requirements. Needs and strategies included in this document are not intended as checklists, but as guidance that can be interpreted flexibly according to the needs of the pupil.

SEN Threshold Guidance - Pupils of school age Year 1 to Year 11 2nd edition (pdf)

SEN Threshold Guidance 2nd edition - summary of changes (pdf)

SEN Threshold guidance for young people aged 16-19+ (opens a pdf)

They should be read alongside the code and other local guidance such as:

Support for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (often known as the "Golden Binder)

Guidance on reasonable adjustments

Guidance on making school trips accessible

What if SEN Support is not enough?

Sometimes a child or young person needs a more intensive level of specialist help that cannot be met from the resources available and this is the time to consider an EHC needs assessment. Some children may require an EHCP assessment very early on and in these cases the local authority should liaise with the appropriate professionals and start the process without delay. Anyone can contact the SEND Team to ask for advice on the best route to requesting an EHC needs assessment; this will most often be through a multi-agency meeting with those involved, at the educational setting (e.g. school). Following this meeting, either the educational setting or the parents may submit a request. If the young person is over 16, they can ask for an assessment themselves. An EHCP brings the child or young person’s Education, Health and Social Care needs into a single, legal document. The child or young person must have special educational needs to be eligible for a plan.

How to apply for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

The "Golden Binder" contains all the guidance, forms and templates to be used for:

We recommend that the accompanying guidance is referred to when completing requests for a EHC Needs Assessment or completing the Education, Health and Care Plan templates. This guidance is contained in the relevant chapters of the Golden Binder.

View the Golden Binder