1 Duties on Schools and post 16 Institutions Date of resource: June 2016 Page 1 of Learning Aims The learning aims of this legal briefing are to enable you to understand: 1 The duties imposed on schools (and other institutions) and their governing bodies by the law relating to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (called in this briefing SEN Law ); 2 The scope of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015 ( the Code ); and 3 The duties relating to the right to an inclusive education, with particular reference to children and young people who do have special educational needs ( SEN ) but not to the extent that they require an Education, Health and Care Plan ( EHC Plan ). Level: Introductory 1. Introduction This legal briefing will look at the general duties imposed on schools and other educational institutions in England by SEN Law. For each type of duty it is important to check to which type of school or institution it relates as not all of the duties apply to all types of school/institution and this will be referred to in the relevant paragraph. The law contained in the Children and Families Act 2014 ( the Act ) and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 ( the SEN Regs ) concerns in the main duties around EHC Plans - how to obtain an EHC Plan, the contents of an EHC Plan and what happens to an EHC Plan. However, in fact most children and young people with SEN will not need or indeed have an EHC Plan in place and will be supported successfully in their nurseries, schools and post 16 institutions without one. This briefing will deal with key aspects of the law most relevant for this group. In order to do this we will need to look at the few relevant provisions of the Act and the SEN Regs. This is an aspect of SEN provision where parts of the Code become particularly important. References in this learning text to sections are to sections of the Act.
2 Page 2 of 2. Law Statute: The key sections of the Act are: Sections 34 and 35 children and young people with SEN without EHC Plans; Section 66 the duty to best endeavours to secure special educational provision; Section 67 - relating to SENCOs (special educational needs co-coordinators); Section 68 informing parents and young people that special educational provision is being made; Section 69 the SEN information report duty. Regulation The SEN Regs: Remaining in a special school or special post 16 institution without an EHC plan SEN Reg 48; The qualifications of SENCOs SEN Reg 49; The SEN Information Report SEN Regs 51 & 52 and Schedule Guidance The SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015 Chapter 1 general principles paragraphs 1.29 to 1.39, about children with SEN without EHC Plans; Chapter 5 - early years settings; Chapter 6 - schools; Chapter 7 - further education settings. 4. Types of Schools & Nurseries/FE Institutions/Alternative Provision Schools and other institutions use various descriptors, e.g. infants, junior, primary, secondary, but in order to determine which parts of SEN Law apply to a particular school, you will need to know into which category the school falls. Basic division between types of schools The basic division between types of school and other institutions (including post 16 institutions and early years providers) is between: those controlled by a local authority ( LA ) referred to as maintained shorthand for maintained by a local authority ; those controlled by the Secretary of State referred to generically as Academies;
3 Page 3 of those which are neither of the above, which are usually controlled by private contracts between the parties. There is another overlapping division which is between schools/other institutions which can be categorised as mainstream or special which can be controlled in various ways which is explained in more detail below. NB. There can sometimes be some confusion between the similar sounding words Maintained and Mainstream : Maintained and Mainstream. The word Maintained defines a school/institution by reference to how it is controlled, e.g. most commonly, a school maintained by a local authority (which may happen also to be a mainstream school but it could also be a special school); The word Mainstream defines a school/institution not by who controls it but by its provision, and this generally refers to provision other than special schools, hospital schools, alternative provision and the like (examined in more detail below). Maintained Schools/Institutions Educational institutions controlled and funded (maintained) by local authorities (sometimes referred to as state schools/institutions) can include mainstream schools (such as mainstream community schools, voluntary-aided, trust or foundation, grammar schools), nurseries (free-standing or part of a community primary school), Special schools, Alternative provision (including Pupil Referral Units); and Post-16 institutions (Further education colleges and Sixth form colleges). These are regulated by statute, regulations and statutory guidance. Academies These are schools controlled and funded directly by the Secretary of State for Education and include Academies, free schools, UTC Schools and Studio schools, Academy special schools and alternative provision and Academy boarding schools. These are not maintained or controlled by LAs and are registered as independent schools. They are subject to a contract between the Academy trust (owner) and the Secretary of State known as the Funding Agreement. Much (but not all) of the law and guidance for maintained schools applies to them as do many of the regulations for independent schools. They are subject to the same inspections as state schools by Ofsted. Schools/institutions not controlled by either an LA or the Secretary of State Independent schools these are mostly controlled by charities (and therefore, not for profit ) but there are some private for-profit owners.
4 Page 4 of Due to their independence their provision is not standardised across the sector as for the state sector. They include prep schools, public schools, and private nurseries (early years provision), whether free standing or part of a prep or all-through independent school. An important group of these schools from the perspective of SEN are private schools registered as specially organised to make provision with pupils for SEN. Note on private schools specially organised to make provision for pupils with SEN These may, for historical reasons, be called independent special schools although for legal purposes independent schools are neither special nor mainstream, but all simply independent 1. This is the type of school which may opt in to become a Section 41 school. This is a new category of specially organised independent school or post-16 institution, which chooses this status. The effect is that parents or young people may request that such a school is named in an EHC Plan (examined in detail in our briefing Naming a School ). Not all though will do so. Non-maintained special schools all charitable foundations and not for profit. This type of school will take a mixture of children and young people with and without Plans (including during the transition period children with statements) but in practice almost 100% of their pupils are publicly funded through EHC plans or statements; Private post-16 institutions. These may also opt for section 41 status. Mainstream or Special As referred to above this is a different way to categorise schools/institutions and overlaps the above divisions. This distinction becomes particularly relevant when considering the right to a mainstream education (referred to below in connection with children and young people without EHC Plans; for an analysis in relation to children and young people with EHC Plans, see our briefing on Naming a School). 1 Section 347 of the Education Act 1996 created a legal category of independent special schools. This was abolished by the Education and Skills Act Thereafter, although the same schools themselves continued to exist, for legal purposes they are simply independent. However, independent schools must be registered and in so doing must make declarations to the Department for Education about their provision and the nature of the pupils for whom they will cater. This includes a declaration as to whether they intend to be specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN, (section 98(3) (f) Education and Skills Act 2008). In addition to specially organised, the phrase wholly or mainly is used to describe these schools. This phrase comes from the wording of the registration form. Not all schools registered as specially organised have become or will become Section 41 schools as this is optional and has both advantages and disadvantages for the sustainability of the provision.
5 Page 5 of A special school is defined in Section 337 of Education Act 1996 ( EA 1996 ) as amended by Schedule 3, para. 36 of the Act: Section 337 EA 1996 as amended A school is a special school if it is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN, and it is (a) maintained by a local authority, (b) an Academy school, or (c) a non-maintained special school. A mainstream school is a school which is not a special school but it must be either a maintained school or an Academy, as defined in Section 83 of the Act: Section 83 mainstream school means (a) a maintained school that is not a special school, or (b) an Academy school that is not a special school; Edubase The official list of schools with their registered category and other skeleton details is kept by the Department for Education and called Edubase. It is easy to search. The introduction to inspection reports, obtainable form the Ofsted website, also gives a brief outline of the type and characteristics of educational institutions. 5. Reciprocal Co-operation duties There are strategic planning duties in the Act with which local authorities must comply. Underpinning the LA strategic duties are general provisions about cooperation and assistance which impose reciprocal duties on schools and other institutions. Under section 28: A local authority must co-operate with each of its local partners; and Each local partner must co-operate with the local authority, in the exercise of the local authority functions under Part 3 of the Act. A local partner includes: the governing body of a maintained school or maintained nursery school; the proprietor of an Academy;
6 Page 6 of the proprietor of a non-maintained special school; the governing body of an institution within the further education sector; the management committee of a pupil referral units; the proprietor of an institution approved by the Secretary of State under section 41 (independent special schools and special post 16 institutions: approval). Section 29 contains a corresponding obligation on schools (including Academies) and post 16 institutions to co-operate with local authorities (and vice versa) in the carrying out of their functions under Part 3. These are provisions which dove tail with each other and require schools and other institutions to help local authorities to comply with their duties and vice versa, extending much further than just maintained schools, where a level of co-operation is to be expected. These reciprocal duties are not only upon schools and institutions in the area of a particular local authority; it specifically includes out of area settings which provide for children and young people for whom the LA is responsible. This is recognising that children and young people are often educated or trained out of area. 6. Inclusion Part 1 - Education in Mainstream Settings for Children and Young People with SEN without Plans Section 34 applies to children and young people who have SEN without an EHC Plan. Such children must be educated in mainstream settings subject to some rare exceptions. Section 34 (1) This section applies to a child or young person in England who has special educational needs but for whom no EHC plan is maintained, if he or she is to be educated in a school or post-16 institution. (2) The child or young person must be educated in a maintained nursery school, mainstream school or mainstream post-16 institution, subject to subsections (3) and (4). Section 34 does not apply where the cost is not met by the local authority or the Secretary of State. There is nothing therefore to prevent children and young people being educated privately in a specialist setting at their own cost. The other exceptions are: Where the LA, the head teacher or principal and the parent or young person are in agreement, a child or young person can be admitted to a specialist provision for the purposes of an EHC Needs Assessment; (section 34 (5)). In this case the child or young person may remain
7 Page 7 of admitted to the specialist setting until an EHC Plan is made unless the LA decides not to issue an EHC Plan, in which event the child or young person may only stay for a period of ten school/institution days after service of notice of the LA s decision (SEN Reg 48); A child or young person can be admitted to a specialist setting without an EHC Plan where there has been a change in his or her circumstances (section 34 (7)). The Code refers to this as an emergency placement and says that the LA should immediately initiate an EHC Needs Assessment or re-assessment (see paragraph 1.29 of the Code). For this exception to apply there will need to be agreement between the LA, the head teacher or principal and the child s parent or the young person; A child or young person can be admitted to a special school which is established as a hospital (section 34 (8); and A child can be admitted to a special Academy if the Academy arrangements (i.e. the funding agreement) permit it to admit children and young people with special educational needs for whom no EHC Plan is maintained (section 34 (9)). This last provision was the cause of much concern when the Act was going through parliament particularly taken together with the fact that the provisions of the Code dealing with SEN support and the section 66 best endeavours duty do not apply to special schools (see below). The Code (at paragraph 1.30) says that such Academies will make clear through their funding agreements that a child or young person with SEN but no plan should only be placed there at the request of their parents or at their own request and with the support of professional advice such as a report from an Educational Psychologist. 7. Inclusion Part 2 Inclusion in the Activities of a School Section 35 contains an important duty which applies to maintained nurseries and maintained schools, where such settings are concerned with the making of special educational provision for a child. This applies only to children, i.e. up to the end compulsory school age at (usually) 16. The duty is to ensure that the child engages in the activities of the school together with children who do not have special educational needs, subject to certain exceptions. This applies only so far as is reasonably practicable and is compatible with: The child receiving the special educational provision called for by his or her special educational needs; The provision of efficient education for the children with whom he or she will be educated; and The efficient use of resources.
8 Page 8 of 8. The Best Endeavours Duty Section 66 Section 66 contains a key duty on the governing body of a school, proprietors or management committee to use their best endeavours to secure special educational provision for all children or young people for whom they are responsible. This duty applies to: mainstream schools (which includes state schools and mainstream Academies); maintained nursery schools] Academies; alternative provision Academies; FE institutions; and Pupil referral units. (NB: this does not apply to special schools). It is worth looking at this in full: Section 66 (2) If a registered pupil or a student at a school or other institution has special educational needs, the appropriate authority must, in exercising its functions in relation to the school or other institution, use its best endeavours to secure that the special educational provision called for by the pupil s or student s special educational needs is made. The reference here to the appropriate authority means in the case of a maintained school, maintained nursery or FE institution, the governing body; in the case of an Academy, the proprietor and in the case of a PRU, the management committee. The legal duty is directly on them as a body and not the head teacher of the school or principal of the college; the governing body is in a position to effect change as it is responsible for the appointment and performance management of such posts. These duties apply to all children with SEN whether they have an EHC Plan or a statement or neither. This means that the governing body or proprietor should be using their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision. This is not the same as the duty on the LA to secure the provision in an EHC Plan that is an absolute duty, there is no element of endeavouring about it but for children without a statement or an EHC Plan it is an important legal safeguard. It is a proactive duty that requires the appropriate authority to enquire and ensure that the school or college are actually making the special educational provision that children and young people require. It is not enough to accept the word of the head teacher, for example, that an adequate record keeping process is in place the school Governors in this case should ensure it is.
9 Page 9 of 9. SENCOs Section 67 contains the duties upon the governing bodies of mainstream schools and maintained nursery schools to designate a member of staff at the school as having responsibility for co-ordinating the provision for pupils with special educational needs to be known as the SEN co-ordinator usually referred to as a SENCO. It is useful to remember in this context that mainstream schools include Academies so this applies to mainstream Academies as well as to mainstream maintained schools. It does not apply to special schools but it does apply to maintained nurseries (although most of them are mainstream). The SEN Regs contain detail about the prescribed qualifications and experience of SENCOS (SEN Regs 49 and 50). There are two alternative ways to satisfy the qualifications. Either the SENCO must be a qualified teacher and be working at the school, or be the head teacher or acting head teacher. There is an additional requirement for new SENCOs who took up their posts after 1 st September 2009 who must hold a necessary qualification (The National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators). Paragraphs 6.84 to 6.94 of the Code explain the duties and role of the SENCO. 10. Duties to Inform if Special Educational Provision is made Section 68 contains a duty to inform parents and young people if special educational provision ( SEP ) is made for a child or young person at: A maintained school; A maintained nursery school; An Academy school; An alternative provision Academy; or A pupil referral unit. This only applies where no EHC Plan is maintained for the child or young person so this provision specifically relates to children and young people without EHC Plans. The law requires an LA to inform a parent or young person if they are considering making an EHC Needs Assessment of a child or young person s needs under section 36(7). There should therefore never be an instance where a pupil is receiving SEP and the parent or the young person does not know about it. This applies to all maintained schools and Academies and so does apply to special schools. All children in special schools will have a statement or a Plan and so this is less likely to be relevant for a special school but it would apply for those children without EHC Plans who are admitted to a special Academy by way of one of the rare exceptions to section 34 referred to in paragraph 6.
10 Page 10 of 11. SEN Information Report Section 69 contains the information duties upon the governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nurseries and the proprietors of Academy schools. There is no corresponding duty on an FE college. This is a duty to prepare what is called an SEN Information Report. The SEN information is defined in section 69 (3): Section 69 (3): (a) Such information as may be prescribed about the implementation of the governing body s or proprietor s policy for pupils at the school with special educational needs; (b) Information as to: (i) The arrangements for the admission of disabled persons as pupils at the school; (ii) The steps taken to prevent disabled pupils from being treated less favourably than other pupils; (iii) The facilities provided to assist access to the school by disabled pupils (iv) The schools accessibility plan (required under paragraph 3 of Schedule 10 to the Equality Act 2010) The SEN Regs contain the detail about what must be included in an SEN Information Report (SEN Regs Schedule 1). It includes the kinds of special educational needs for which provision is currently made at the school, the school s policies for identification and assessment, and the school s approach to teaching children with SEN, all key information for children with SEN and their parents and young people with SEN. This information is to be published on the school s website (SEN Reg 52). 12. The Code of Practice - General The Secretary of State has a duty to issue a code of practice containing guidance on the exercise of their functions under Part 3 of the Act to the various bodies listed in section 77 (1). This includes: the governing bodies of schools (section 77 (1) (b)); the governing bodies of institutions within the further education sector (section 77 (1) (c)); the proprietors of Academies(section 77 (1) (d)); the management committees of pupil referral units(section 77 (1) (e)); the proprietors of institutions approved by the Secretary of State under section 41 (independent special schools and special post-16 institutions: approval) (section 77 (1) (f)); and
11 Page 11 of providers of relevant early years education (section 77 (1) (g)). This latter category means publicly funded nurseries. 2 All types of schools and post 16 institutions are included except, in practice, wholly independent schools not opted in under section 41. However there are sections of the Code which are specifically expressed only to apply to certain types of school and it should not be assumed that the whole of the Code applies to all of these institutions. All of these relevant bodies have a duty to have regard to the guidance in the Code and the First tier Tribunal must have regard to any provision of the Code that appears to it to be relevant. This means that the guidance must: always be considered; and should always be followed unless there is an exceptional reason not to (for example, because a school has found a better way of achieving the Code s aims for children with special educational needs). Much of the Code paraphrases the law, and when possible it is better to cite the underlying law rather than the Code. Where the Code reflects a legal obligation (i.e. either in a statute, a regulation or in case law) it uses the word must. Where what is being said is guidance, the word should will be used, which indicates that there is no corresponding underlying obligation in statute, regulation or case law but the duty to have regard applies. Where the Code is of particular importance is in the chapters dealing with children without EHC Plans or statements and the support which they should be receiving in nurseries, schools and FE institutions. It is statutory guidance and it cannot be ignored. 13. Code of Practice SEN Support in the Early Years Chapter five of the Code deals with early years. It applies to all children in early years settings whether or not they have an EHC Plan. This chapter refers at various points to the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, known as the EYFS. It is worth therefore understanding what this means. 2 This includes many private, voluntary and independent nurseries as many participate in the national scheme to provide parents with free child care up to a certain number of hours. The nurseries are funded by LAs for those hours.
12 Page 12 of All provision for children from birth to age five is regulated by an extensive statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) This is underpinned by the Childcare Act 2006 and various regulations made under it. The EYFS covers children both in pre-school settings and in reception classes up to their fifth birthday. It is a national play-based curriculum intended to be broad enough to cater for all children. All children must be assessed between ages two and three, and again in the final term of Reception. The latter assessment is in prescribed form and equivalent in status to Key Stage assessments. The EYFS therefore is not specifically for children with SEN but relates to all children under five. Chapter five of the Code emphasises the legal requirement upon early years providers to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with SEN and disabilities as set out in the EYFS. Chapter five then goes on to identify four broad areas of need which are reflected in chapter six as well: Communication and interaction Cognition and learning Social, emotional and mental health Sensory and/or physical needs Paragraph 5.33 explains that these areas give an overview of the range of needs that providers should plan for and recognises that individual children have needs that cut across all these areas and their needs may change over time. Paragraph 5.38 introduces the first mention in the Code of the approach which is contained in both chapters five and six the graduated approach which has four stages of action. In chapter five it is expressed to apply to all early years settings: Assess Plan Do Review Special educational provision given to children is referred to as SEN Support.
13 Page 13 of Chapter five is essential reading to understand this cycle of action recommended by the Code. This is commented on in more detail on the section on schools below. Paragraph 5.48 deals with involving specialists. The trigger given is where a child continues to make less than expected progress, despite evidence based support and interventions that are matched to the child s area of need.... The decision to involve specialists should be taken with the child s parents. Record keeping is dealt with in this chapter by referring back to the requirements of the EYFS Framework. Such records about their children must be available to parents and they must include how the setting supports children with SEN and disabilities. 14. Code of Practice - SEN Support in schools Chapter six of the Code deals with the actions that mainstream schools (i.e. mainstream state schools and mainstream Academies) should take to meet their duties in relation to identifying and supporting children with SEN. Chapter six therefore specifically does not apply to children in special schools. Pre - SEN support steps: Paragraph 6.3 describes how there should be a member or sub-committee of the governing body with specific oversight of the school s arrangements for SEN and disability. There should be regular reviews of the expertise and resources to address SEN with a view to improving provision and focusing professional development of teaching and support staff. There should also be arrangements for checking the quality of teaching throughout the school (paragraph 6.4 and 6.37). The systems for identifying SEN will be built into the school s overall approach to monitoring pupil progress and should be set out in both the Local Offer and in the school s SEN Information. Parents and pupils should be actively involved in decision making throughout (paragraph 6.7). Paragraph 6.14 requires all schools to have a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEN. Paragraph 6.16 says that schools should assess each pupil s current skills and levels of attainment on entry, building on information from previous settings and key stages where appropriate. At the same time they should consider whether a pupil has a disability under the Equality Act 2010, and if so, what reasonable adjustments need to be made for them. Class teachers and the subject teachers, supported by the senior leadership team have the responsibility under the Code to make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These should seek to identify pupils making less than
14 Page 14 of expected progress. Paragraph 6.17 gives four examples of what is meant by the less than expected progress referred to: Progress which: Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline; Fails to match or better the child s previous rate of progress; Fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers; Widens the attainment gap. The Four Areas of Need The same four broad areas of need referred to in chapter five are identified with more detail given in relation to each area. Again these are not boxes to fit children but four broad areas that schools should plan for (paragraph 6.27): Paragraphs 6.28 and Communication and Interaction These paragraphs refer to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (referred to as SLCN ). Children and young people with Autism Spectrum disorder, including Asperger s Syndrome and Autism are identified as being likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. Paragraphs 6.30 and 6.31 Cognition and Learning These paragraphs specifically refer to children with learning difficulties and mentions moderate learning difficulties (MLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD) through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) terms which it is well worth becoming familiar with. Children with PMLD as the Code explains are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment. Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) are also mentioned, as encompassing a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Paragraphs 6.32 and Social, emotional and mental health difficulties These paragraphs refer to children and young people with a wide range of social and emotional difficulties; the examples given include attention deficit disorder and attachment disorder. The Code says that schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so that it does not adversely affect other pupils. Paragraphs 6.34 and 6.35 Sensory and other physical needs This paragraph refers to children with disabilities such as visual impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi sensory impairment (MSI).
15 Page 15 of Early responses to needs Paragraphs The Code says that response to need begins with high quality teaching and amongst other things entails information gathering. In deciding whether to make special educational provision, the teacher and SENCO should consider all of the information gathered from within the school about the pupil s progress, alongside national data and expectations of progress. This information gathering should include an early discussion with the pupil and their parents and all the information gathered should be readily available to and discussed with parents (paragraphs 6.39 and 6.51). Paragraph 6.39 requires that a short note of these early discussions with parents should be added to the pupil s record on the school information system and given to the parents. Schools should also tell parents and young people about the local authority s information, advice and support service. Consideration of whether special educational provision is needed will start with the outcomes (paragraphs ) and, however support is provided, a clear date for reviewing progress should be agreed and the parent, pupil and school staff should each be clear about how they will help the pupil to reach the expected outcomes (paragraphs 6.43). Deciding that a pupil has SEN When there is a decision that a pupil does have SEN This should be recorded in the school records; and The pupil s parents must be informed that special educational provision is being made (paragraph 6.43). SEN Support As referred to in chapter 5, special educational provision in schools is called SEN Support and the cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review is set out in more detail. Again reading these sections is essential to become familiar with the cycle recommended by the Code (paragraphs 6.64 to 6.56). It draws on more frequent reviews and more specialist expertise in successive cycles. Identifying some key features: Assess The class teacher or subject teacher, working with the SENCO, should carry out a clear analysis of a pupil s needs, drawing on teacher assessments, national data and experience of the pupil. Plan Where it is decided to provide a pupil with SEN Support, the parents must be notified (this is the statutory requirement in section 68 reflected here). The Code says that parents should already have been involved in the assessment of needs at the first stage. All teachers and support staff who work with a pupil
16 Page 16 of should be made aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies that are required. Do The class or subject teacher retains the responsibility for working with the child on a daily basis. They should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved and the SENCO should support the class or subject teacher. Review Reviews should take place and form feed back into the analysis of the child s needs. The Code is not prescriptive about how often reviews should take place but refers to the agreed date, i.e. the date agreed in each individual case by reference to which progress should be reviewed. However given the requirement to meet with parents three times a year (see below under Focus on reporting) good practice would suggest that such reviews will be at least termly. The trigger for involving specialists - Paragraphs This decision can be taken at any time; the school does not have to wait, for example, until a decision has been made that the child certainly does have SEN. This reflects the triggers referred to in chapter five in relation to early years: Involving specialists 6.58 Where a pupil continues to make less than expected progress, despite evidence-based support and interventions that are matched to the pupil s area of need, the school should consider involving specialists, including those secured by the school itself or from outside agencies Schools may involve specialists at any point to advise them on early identification of SEN and effective support and interventions. A school should always involve a specialist where a pupil continues to make little or no progress or where they continue to work at levels substantially below those expected of pupils of a similar age despite evidence-based SEN support delivered by appropriately trained staff. The pupil s parents should always be involved in any decision to involve specialists. The involvement of specialists and what was discussed or agreed should be recorded and shared with the parents and teaching staff supporting the child in the same way as other SEN support. 15. Code of Practice Focus on Reporting One of the key elements for parents with children with SEN is obtaining information about what is happening at school. For this purpose the following
17 Page 17 of paragraphs of the Code will be useful for parents of children in mainstream schools: Paragraph 6.64 records that school must provide an annual report to parents on their child s progress. Whilst not recommending that this is the case, it says that many schools will want to go beyond this and provide regular reports for parents on how their child is progressing. Paragraph 6.65 says that where a pupil is receiving SEN Support, schools should talk to parents regularly, to set clear outcomes and review progress towards them. Schools should meet parents at least three times each year. Paragraph 6.71 says that a record of the outcomes, action and support agreed through the discussion should be kept and shared with all the appropriate school staff. This record should be given to the pupil s parents. Paragraph 6.72 says that it is for schools to determine their own approach to record keeping but the provision made for pupils with SEN should be recorded accurately and kept up to date. Paragraph 6.73 emphasises that in particular schools should record details of additional or different provision and that this should form part of regular discussions with parents about their child s progress, expected outcomes and the planning of next steps. Paragraph 6.75 makes it clear that the school should readily share this information with parents and provide it in a format that is accessible. The Code also refers to Provision Maps as an efficient way of showing all the provision that the school makes which is additional to and different from that which is offered through the school s curriculum. This is a whole school approach which usually does not fulfil the requirements to keep records for the individual child or young person but enables the school to plan strategically and spot areas for development. In the initial stages at least, we would expect that some schools will continue to use the Individual Education Plans which were a requirement under the previous Code of Practice but this is no longer a specific requirement under the current Code. 16. Code of Practice SEN Support in FE Chapter 7 contains the statutory guidance in relation to further education colleges, sixth form colleges, Academies and some independent
18 Page of specialist colleges to identify, assess and provide support for young people with SEN. This identifies the parts of the legislation which are applicable for FE and explains about SEN Support in colleges. The duty to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision that a young person needs applies to colleges. Paragraph 7.17 contains examples of what SEN Support might include in college including ranging from assistive technology to personal care. Paragraph 7.19 continues the theme from the earlier chapters of a cycle of action, refining and revising decisions about support as the college gains a richer understanding of the student. It also continues the focus on outcomes which is apparent from a reading on the Code. Paragraph 7.23 states that colleges should ensure they have access to outside specialist services such as CAMHS, specialist teachers, supported employment servies and therapists.