What is SEND?

SEND = Special Educational Needs and/or disability
SEN = Special Educational Needs

Do you think your child has or may have a learning difficulty or disability?

In any classroom, children learn at different speeds and in different ways. Teachers will plan their lessons and choose different types of lesson materials to help each child learn best.

Some children need more help than this and may have difficulty with:

  • Reading, writing, numbers.
  • Talking and listening.
  • Developing social skills.
  • Physical skills.
  • Emotion, mental health and behaviour.

A child who needs extra help in any of these areas may have special educational needs (SEN) and therefore require extra support.

  • Some children may have SEN because of a medical condition or disability.
  • Some children may have a medical condition or disability but not have SEN.
  • Children may have SEN without a diagnosis.

How to raise concerns

Every school must have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). They are responsible for the SEN policy and coordination of specialist provision within the school.

If you are concerned your child has or may have SEN you can request a meeting with the Class Teacher and the SENCo.

Before the meeting:

  • Write down your concerns
  • Gather evidence – schoolwork, homework, school reports, behaviour records, how your child feels about school.
  • Make a list of questions you would like to ask.

During the meeting:

  • Explain your concerns
  • Agree a plan of action
  • Set a review date

SEN Support – The Graduated Response

The SEND Code of Practice says that schools should use a ‘graduated approach’, or four-part cycle (Assess, Plan, Do and, Review) to support your child with SEN. This means that the SENCO and teaching staff should:

The SEN Support Plan

If your child is receiving SEN support, the school should draw up a SEN support plan, involving you and your child, focusing on the outcomes your child needs and wants to achieve and detailing how the school will help them to achieve these.

Dorset SEN Graduated Approach assess-plan-do-review (June 2021)

The school should give you clear information about the extra help your child is getting. The school should meet with you at least three times a year to review how your child is progressing and what the next steps will be. This should be in addition to scheduled parents’ evening meetings.

 Dorset SEN Graduated Approach document (June 2021)

Next Steps…

At the review meeting the next steps must be agreed:

  • The Child or YP has made good progress. No further concerns. Remove from SEN Support.
  • Some progress has been made. Further support required, through another plan, do, review cycle.
  • Little or no progress has been made. The school can ask for other professionals to provide specialist advice and support for example, educational psychology, behaviour support or speech and language therapy to carry out assessments and provide further advice and support if necessary, see Dorset Local Offer Professional List
  • Major concerns. SEN support isn’t working or your child needs urgent support

The next step may be that the school will apply to the Local Authority (LA) for an Education and Health Care (EHC) needs assessment.

You do not need to wait for the school to do this, you can make a request for an EHC needs assessment yourself.

Overview of SEN Support Process


If you require further help or advice please contact us