If you believe your child may has special educational needs (SEN) or is struggling with his school work, such as reading and writing, comprehension or any other difficulties, you should contact the child's teacher or the school's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) to discuss your worries or concerns, and the appropriate support that the school could put in place.

SEN Support is the support that a school or college should put in place for any child or young person with SEN. A pupil does not need to have an official diagnosis of a learning difficulty in order for support to be given. However, a diagnostic assessment can be an advantage and can ensure that any additional support is targeted to the pupil's specific

areas of weakness and strength.

There are 4 stages of SEN Support:

(1) Assessing your child's needs:

Firstly, you should talk to your child's teacher or the school's SENCo about your concerns and give examples of how your child struggles.

Alternatively, if a teacher or SENCo has concerns about your child's progress, they should contact you directly to discuss your child's difficulties and the appropriate support to put in place. If the young person is over the age of 16 they should be fully involved in designing their own SEN support and provision.

The SENCo should spend time with your child to work out what kind of extra support they might need. Every child's SEN Support needs are different, depending on what kind of difficulties they have and how serious these are. If necessary, other specialists, such as an educational psychologist, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapist or others may be involved.

(2) Planning SEN Support:

You and your child's educational setting, for example, the preschool, school or college need to agree how your child will benefit from any SEN Support they get. As Parents, you should be fully involved in discussions about the support that should be put in place for your child. Again, If your child is 16 or over, they should be involved in this process, but children can be involved at any age and getting their input and opinions is important to their progress.

(3) Putting the plan into action:

Your child's educational setting will put the planned support into place, whilst their teacher remains responsible for working with your child on a daily basis - this may include working with a Teaching Assistant who works in the teacher's class, who may work with your child in small groups, or on a one-to-one basis. However, the SENCo and any support staff or specialist teaching staff involved in providing support, should work closely to track your child's progress and check that the support is working.

(4) Review the outcomes of the support:

The SEN Support should be reviewed at the time agreed in the initial plan. Parents, teachers and SENCo should always try to agree and should work together to decide whether the support is having a positive impact, whether the agreed outcomes are being met and if any changes need to be made. Regular reviews will map the progress of the child and

can help to identify any 'holes' that need to be rectified.

Parents may also want to involve other professionals reports in the reviews or ask them if they can attend the review with them - I was fortunate enough to receive this kind of assistance when my children were being reviewed at school, however, it is usually parents who will need to pursue the help their child needs and your persistence will usually pay


If you feel your child is still not getting enough help at school, you may wish to enrol them in extra tuition - in which case you will need to search for the right kind of tuition and tutor who can help your child with their specific needs.

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