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What is Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support?

SEN Support is the extra help offered to a child or young person to enable them to learn and make progress in their learning alongside other children of the same age.

It might be adapted teaching methods and materials to suit the child's style and rate of learning or one-to-one support from a teaching assistant. SEN support is tailored to a child's particular needs and should be agreed with parents and carers in a SEN Support plan which is regularly reviewed.

For further information read chapters five and six of the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

Read about how your child's place of learning supports children who have special educational needs in their SEN information report.

How does SEN Support work?

You and your child should be at the centre of any decision-making. This is called person-centred planning and can include person-centred reviews. It may be useful for a one-page profile to be drawn up so your child's voice can be heard.

The early years' keyworker or teacher, and the place of learning's special educational needs and disabilities coordinator (SENCO), will all work together using the graduated approach to create a SEN Support plan.

The graduated approach to SEN Support 

Places of learning must use a graduated approach with four stages of action: 

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Do 
  • Review

It is called the graduated approach because it may take several cycles of intervention and different strategies being tried before support needs are understood and met.

A place of learning is able to access more specialist assessments and provision from external agencies if necessary. This should be clearly set out in a school's SEN information report.

Step 1: Assess

The child's needs are identified so that the right SEN Support is given. The assessment should include:

  • Asking parents and the child or young person for their views
  • Undertaking assessments and tracking progress
  • Talking to professionals who work with the child

Step 2: Plan

  • The child's place of learning and parents agree on the outcomes that the SEN Support is intended to achieve
  • Everyone who is involved in the process has a say in deciding what kind of SEN Support will be provided. Together they decide a date to review
  • The plan will be written down. This is so that everyone is clear what different, additional support is going to be put in place 

Step 3: Do

  • The place of learning will put the planned SEN Support into place 
  • The keyworker or teacher(s) remains responsible for working with the child daily
  • Everyone involved working with the child or young person will work closely together

Step 4: Review

  • The SEN Support will be reviewed by the time agreed in the plan 
  • Everyone who is involved in the process should decide together: 
    • Whether the SEN Support is having a positive impact 
    • Whether the outcomes have been, or are being, achieved 
    • Whether new outcomes need to be identified
    • Whether the support needs to continue or different support needs to be tried

The assess, plan, do, review cycle starts again.

Information for parents

What do to if you have concerns about your child's SEN Support .