What can early education settings and schools do to help?
Early education settings and schools place great importance on identifying special educational needs (SEN) early so that they can help children as quickly as possible. Once it has been decided that your child has SEN, staff working with your child should take account of the guidance in the SEN Code of Practice. The Code describes how help for children with special educational needs in schools and early education settings should be made through a step-by-step or `graduated approach'. The Code also gives you information about the Parent Partnership Service.
The graduated approach recognises that children learn in different ways and can have different kinds or levels of SEN. So increasingly, step by step, specialist expertise can be brought in to help the school with the difficulties that a child may have.
The approach may include:
- an individually-designed learning programme
- extra help from a teacher or learning support assistant
- being taught individually or in a small group for regular short periods
- drawing up an Individual Education Plan, including setting targets for improvement, regular review of progress before setting new targets.
The early education setting/ school must tell you when they first start giving extra or different help because your child has special educational needs. This is called Early Years Action or School Action.
If your child does not make enough progress, the teacher or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) should then talk to you about asking for advice from other people outside the school, for example, a specialist teacher, an educational psychologist, a speech and language therapist or other health professionals. This kind of help is called Early Years Action Plus or School Action Plus.
Within this framework your child’s progress will be carefully recorded, monitored and reviewed.
The SENCo should try to include you in any discussions, and should consider your views in making any decisions about how best to help your child. They should keep you informed about your child’s progress.
After this `step by step' approach there should be a clear written record about what the early years setting or school has done to assess and provide for your child's needs. The content of this record will be discussed with you. There will be an education plan for your child with clearly recorded reviews and outcomes, and reference to the involvement of other professionals, where relevant. In this way the level of help will be carefully matched to your child's needs.