SEND (and Local Offer) are the responsibility of Slough Borough Council
In a joint – and amicable -decision earlier this year (April), the Trust and the Council put a proposal to the Commissioner for Children’s Services in Slough to have the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) service, which includes the Local Offer, realigned with its key partners in the Council.
The move made sense as it would realign educational services for all and will allow for more seamless decision-making on educational matters. The transfer has now been formally approved by Robert Goodwill, Minister of State for Children and Families and the SEND service moved back to Slough Borough Council on October 1, 2017.
These pages offer useful information on SEND but for full details or to contact someone about SEND, please refer to the Slough Borough Council’s website and also the Slough Services Guide, for more information on the Local Offer.
What is the Local Offer?
The Local Offer gives children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), and their families, information about what support services are available in their local area. Every local authority is responsible for writing a Local Offer and making sure it is available for everyone to see.
What is SEND?
The definition of children young people and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities includes those with a range of underlying factors such as cognitive, physical or sensory difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties or difficulties with speech and language or social interaction.
It also includes those who have a disability that prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the local authority area.
Special educational needs could mean that a child has difficulties with:
- all of the work in school
- reading, writing, number work or understanding information
- expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
- making friends or relating to adults
- behaving properly in schools
- organising themselves
- some kind of sensory or physical needs which may affect them in school
What the law says (Children & Families Act 2014 and SEND Code of Practice 2015)
“Special educational needs (SEN)
- A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which requires special educational provision to be made for them
- A child of compulsory school age or a young person up to the age of 25 has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions
- For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant early years providers. For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind.
- A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she is likely to fall within the definition in paragraph 2 above when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them
- A child or young person does not have a learning difficulty or disability solely because the language (or form of language) in which he or she is or will be taught is different from a language (or form of language) which is or has been spoken at home”
Early Years settings, all schools and colleges are legally required to meet the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Up to 20% of all children have some level of SEND. Between 2.5% and 3% of all children will have a level of SEND that requires an additional statutory assessment of their needs and a legally-binding document to ensure (and fund) provision to meet those needs.
Education, Health and Care Plans
These documents were known as Statements of Special Education Needs and from September 2014 the Government introduced Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) to replace Statements. Statements will cease to exist after April 2018 and the Trust must have processes in plan to transfer Statements to EHCPs before then.
Parents and education settings can request a new statutory EHC assessment and, if agreed, the process has to be concluded within 20 weeks, including the agreement of funding and a suitable school place.
These Plans legally bind the organisations named in them to deliver the provision specified – whether they are an NHS Trust, school or social care service.
Children and Young People with EHC Plans are allocated a school place by the Plan. Most children or young people with an EHCP attend a mainstream school; some attend a mainstream school ‘Resource Base’ so that some of their education is in mainstream classes and some in the Resource Base; some attend Special Schools, with specialist expertise in a particular area of special needs. Very few attend residential schools or fee-paying day schools.
There must be an Annual Review of the child or young person’s progress in relation to the targets and outcomes agreed in the Statement or EHCP. This is normally led by the school, with parents and relevant professionals involved. It can lead to changes to those outcomes or targets, but those have to be agreed by the SEND Service before they can be implemented and the Plan updated, funding changed or school move agreed.