What if I think my child may have Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND)?
Most children and young people with special educational needs make progress in education and social development through the support that is generally available in their school or setting, and can make a successful transition into adulthood.
If you are concerned that your child is not making the expected progress through the school's normal teaching arrangements, you should discuss this with your child's teacher. You may want to include the school or setting’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in these discussions.
As a result of your conversations, the school may decide to carry out an informal assessment of your child's needs and create an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a Learning Support Plan (LSP). These normally include:
- short term targets for your child to achieve
- teaching methods that are additional to and different from the school’s normal teaching arrangements
- additional resources such as special teaching materials or more adult help
- when the plan is to be reviewed.
If it is agreed during the review of the IEP or LSP that your child is still not making the expected progress for their age, then the early years setting or school may need to seek additional help or advice from an outside specialist, such as an educational psychologist or advisory teacher.
Educational psychologists (EPs) are trained teachers who have additional qualifications, including a degree in Psychology. Their training helps them understand more about the way children think, behave and learn. They work with children and young people up to the age of 19 with a variety of needs, such as learning needs, speech and language needs, and medical and physical needs.
You can find more information about educational psychology services in the City on the FIS Directory or by contacting the EEY team.
You can seek independent support from Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) at Tower Hamlets, where there is a dedicated Family Partnership Officer to support City families:
Parents Advice Centre
30 Greatorex Street
London, E1 5NP
Tel: 020 7364 6489
You will be able to seek help from SENDIASS in preparing for meetings at schools and understanding and responding to letters.
For more information, download the SENDIASS leaflet at the end of this page.
The role played by SENCOs is to help your child's teacher identify, assess and respond to the needs of children with Special Educations Needs (SEN) or a disability. This will include:
- taking a lead in any further assessment of a child's individual strengths and needs
- planning support for your child
- ensuring that records are made of actions taken to support your child and the progress they make as a result
- advising and supporting other members of staff within your child's school
- liaising with specialist staff who visit your child's school
- ensuring that parents are properly involved
Early years settings are also required to have access to the support of a SENCO and, in the case of small or part-time settings, a number of different groups can pool resources and appoint a shared SENCO.
You can contact the SENCO directly at your child’s school.
If your child attends a nursery or a pre-school setting in the City of London, you can contact the area SENCO within the Education and Early Years Service:
Tel: 020 7332 1002
Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Your child's school or early years setting should vary the way they support your child's learning by choosing from a range of activities based on the way your child learns best. This is called differentiating the curriculum. This should be the normal teaching arrangement for all children in schools or early years settings.
If you are concerned that your child is not making the progress they should be making through the school's normal teaching arrangements, you should continue to discuss this with your child's teacher at the school or early years setting. This discussion may also involve the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).
This may then result in the school deciding to carry out an informal assessment of your child's needs and creating what is called an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a Learning Support Plan (LSP), as discussed above. This should include:
- short term targets for your child to achieve
- the teaching methods that are additional and different to the normal teaching arrangements
- any additional resources that may be allocated such as special teaching materials or more adult help
- when the plan is to be reviewed