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What is the process for receiving SEN support?

SEN support has replaced school action/school action plus in schools.

Children and young people with more complex needs might instead need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. EHC plans have replaced statements of SEN and Learning Disability Assessments (LDAs).

SEN support is part of the ‘graduated approach’ and in general should work as follows.

  • If your child appears to have a barrier to making good progress in their learning, you may be contacted by your class teacher or the SENCo, to discuss support that they might need.
  • On the other hand you may feel that your child has SEN and will make contact with the class teacher to discuss this.
  • Teachers will follow a process of assessing, planning, doing and reviewing, so that they can monitor a child’s progress closely.

For many children, the school will be able to meet their needs through SEN support.

Sometimes a child or young person needs a more intensive level of specialist help that cannot be met from the resources available to schools and other settings to provide SEN support. In these circumstances, you or your child’s school could request your local authority for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment for your child. This assessment could lead to your child getting an EHC plan.

An EHC plan brings your child’s education, health and social care needs into a single, legal document. Your child must have special educational needs to be eligible for a plan.

Who can request an Education, Health Care Plan?

You can ask your local authority for an EHC needs assessment if you think your child needs one. Anyone at your child’s school (such as your child’s teacher) can also ask for an assessment to be carried out. Others who work with your child can also tell the local authority if they think an assessment is needed (such as your doctor, health visitor or nursery worker).

After your local authority has made its assessment, having involved you and your child fully in the process, it will then decide whether or not an EHC plan is necessary. If they decide that an EHC plan is not needed, they must tell you within 16 weeks of the date they received a request for an assessment.