SEN support in schools, colleges and early years settings

Most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will have help given to them by their school or college.

SEN Support is available for children who have SEND but do not have an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Schools must identify pupils who have SEND and need extra help through SEN Support. They should record this in the school records. They must tell parents if they are making special educational provision for your child.

Schools must have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) who is responsible for arranging and co-ordinating extra help for pupils with SEND. The SENCO works with class and subject teachers to plan and deliver support.

The school should draw up a plan, involving you and your child, focusing on the outcomes your child needs and wants to achieve and detailing how the school will support them to achieve these.

The SEND Code of Practice says that schools should use a graduated approach, or four-part cycle (Assess, Plan, Do and Review) to support your child. The actions taken to help them should be reviewed and revised as the school understands more about how your child learns and the support they need.

You should be fully involved in discussions about the support your child needs, how it will be delivered and when it will be reviewed. School should meet with you at least three times a year to review how your child is progressing. This should be in addition to scheduled parents’ evening meetings. The school must provide a report at least once a year on your child’s progress.

 If your child is not making the expected progress following the SEN Support approach then they may need more specialist input and you as the parent/carer or the setting may request an assessment as part of an Education Health and Care plan.

The complete guide to SEN Support can be found in the downloads section, but each section can also be found below.

Communication and interaction

Needs, intervention and resource examples

The following section provides some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

Communication and Interaction

Social communication and interaction difficulties, social imagination difficulties, behavioural difficulties, sensory difficulties, language difficulties, speech difficulties

 Examples of pupil needs

 

  • problems understanding non-verbal communication such as gesture, body language
  • short attention span, easily distracted
  • lack of awareness of own and others states of mind, including thoughts, feelings and motives
  • unsuccessful at negotiating and compromising in social situations and imagining how situations affect others
  • has trouble coping with change or unfamiliar situations
  • does not easily follow an appropriate adult agenda or understand adult roles
  • has trouble starting or retaining focus on activities not of their choosing or not of immediate interest, resulting in repetitive play / interests
  • Hyper- or hypo- (over or under) sensitivity to noise, light, texture, smell, colour, people in close proximity, busy social environments
  • misunderstands some words or sentences
  • difficulty comprehending written material
  • issues understanding aspects of speech such as intonation and has a literal interpretation of language
  • difficulties saying words or sentences, slow speech, lisp, missing out sounds

 Examples of interventions

  • consistent use of language, routines and rules
  • clear and simple explanations
  • use of descriptive praise, concrete and specific language so the pupil understands their achievement and can repeat it
  • consistent learning environment including in lunchtimes / breaks
  • preparation for change of activity or lesson; predictable routine
  • support for high anxiety levels such as relaxation techniques
  • alternative methods of recording work
  • support for attention and listening skills
  • support for language and literacy (including comprehension, prediction and inference)
  • backward chaining, which means working backwards from an end point / goal
  • interventions to support social inclusion such as:

o social stories / social review

o cartoon conversations

o peer support overseen by teaching staff

o buddy systems, circle of friends

o flexible grouping in class

  • break instructions into smaller chunks and check understanding regularly
  • multi-sensory teaching, such as visual materials, hands-on learning and active interactive learning

Examples of resources

Environmental examples

  • low arousal areas available in the learning environment, including work spaces and space or time for homework
  • areas clearly defined and labelled, such as visual timetables, schedules, task breakdown sheets, symbols including tactile symbols
  • printed vocabulary cards such as Talking Frames, Barrier Games
  • calming activities such as sensory activities (e.g. tactile items, chewables, music, soft play)

Resources within the learning environment

  • Time to Talk / Talkabout programmes, Talk buttons, Talking Postcards
  • Social Stories (Carol Gray)
  • Cartoon / Comic Strip Conversations (Carol Gray)
  • for engagement purposes: Helen Sanderson Associates materials

 Staffing

support from outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy, Educational Psychology, SEN Specialist Support team (SENSS)

  • access to Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA)
  • Personal, Social, Health Education sessions (PSHE)

Technology

 •  tablets, laptops

Understanding, cognition and learning

The following are some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

Examples of pupil needs

  • difficulty acquiring new skills (particularly literacy and numeracy)
  • difficulty in dealing with abstract ideas or in forming concepts
  • some speech and language difficulties, such as generalising information, understanding abstract language
  • some difficulties with fine or gross motor skills
  • some signs of frustration or episodes of disengagement
  • difficulties with skills such as sequencing, ordering, word finding
  • some phonological and short-term memory difficulties

Examples of interventions

  • say pupil’s name and eye contact established before giving clear and simple instructions, broken down into chunks and given one at a time
  • visual cues and prompts, visual timetable
  • clarify, display and refer back to new and/or difficult vocabulary and  key vocabulary displayed or available
  • multi-sensory approach to learning (Visual Auditory Kin-aesthetic)
  • consistent use of terms, positive language and positive marking
  • consistent implementation of rewards and sanctions
  • repetition and reinforcement of skills
  • targeted / guided lessons in literacy and/or numeracy
  • develop a range of working memory strategies and study skills

Examples of resources

Environmental examples

  • writing frames (tables or headed boxes to provide structure / prompts)
  • individual whiteboards
  • vocabulary, memory or flash cards

Resources within the learning environment

  • ACE dictionary (for spelling, a look-up system using vowel sounds)
  • Cloze passage (pupil fills in missing words from a word bank)
  • Numicon, Unicornmaths, Rapid Maths
  • Communication Toolkit – objects, film clips, concrete apparatus
  • reading programmes such as Rapid Reading, Letters and Sounds, Wellington Square, Oxford Reading Tree, Every Child a Reader
  • Wave 3 maths resources

Staffing

  • specialist support from outside agencies including Educational Psychologist, SENSS, Therapy Services

Early Literacy Support (ELS)Technology

  • laptop / tablets / Dictaphones,
  • spellcheckers, predictive text, speak to text software
  • Wheel of Apps LiteracyBBC touch typing, Dragon Software, Clicker, Textease, Texthelp, Wordbar, Clicker 6, Easispeak
  • catch up programmes such as reading phonics

Social, Emotional and mental health difficulties

The following are some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

Examples of pupil needs

  • presenting as withdrawn or tearful, significantly unhappy or stressed
  • disruptions or attention-seeking behaviours in lessons
  • showing signs of frustration and early indications of disaffection
  • fluctuations in mood or unpredictability over attitude to learning tasks
  • difficulty making and maintaining healthy relationships with peers
  • increasing inability to follow instructions and routines and remain on task
  • sudden increase or decrease in habits such as eating, group engagement, arousal level, level of interest
  • seeking frequent adult support

Examples of interventions

  • visual prompts for positive behaviours, reinforcement of rules
  • consistent use of rewards and sanctions, structured routines and clear guidelines
  • social seating and consideration of proximity to adult
  • time out and calming systems within the classroom
  • supportive peer systems, Buddy systems, friendship strategies, circle time, peer mediation / mentoring scheme
  • provision of a significant adult
  • pastoral support plan
  • anger-management programmes, solution focused problem solving

Examples of resources

Environmental resources

  • ‘Drop In’ centre for pupils
  • Referral to Learning Support Unit

Resources within the learning environment

  • Thrive individual assessments, Emotional Literacy Assessments.
  • SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning) (Silver Set), small group work, nurture groups
  • differentiated curriculum including PSHE/Citizenship Curriculum
  • cross-agency assessment of need
  • informal behavioural analysis such as. ABCC (antecedent, behaviour, consequence, communication approach), if advised by Educational Psychologist
  • individual behaviour plan
  • supervision systems for Out of Class behaviour

Staffing

  • advice from external agency (such as mental health nurse, Educational Psychology Service, counselling services, behaviour consultant)
  • Family support workers
  • visit/observation by external agencies for advice e.g. Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TAMHS), 
  • Home School Liaison Officer
  • outreach support work from Advanced Skills Teachers, Special Schools
  • staff training in Positive Behaviour Support principles

 Technology

  • Miss Dorothy.com, Watch Over Me app

Physical and/or sensory needs

The following are some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Merton 

Examples of pupil needs

  • mild or moderate hearing impairment
  • unilateral hearing impairment
  • fluctuating hearing loss
  • mild or moderate visual impairment
  • dual impairment with a mild or moderate loss in both modalities
  • difficulties with moving around the environment
  • missing spoken information leading to misunderstanding
  • difficulty retaining information
  • processing of unknown language takes longer 
  • difficulty with new social situations

Examples of interventions

  • frequent checking of understanding using open questions which require more than a Yes / No answer
  • summarise key points at start and end of lesson
  • preferential seating of student and unobstructed view of early years practitioner / teacher
  • reduce background noise to improve acoustic environment; consider personal FM System use
  • practitioner/teacher repeats the spoken contributions of others
  • support for theory of mind development, emotional literacy and peer relationships
  • use of large print, visual aids and prompts including to changes to routine
  • specialist touch-typing teaching sessions
  • Sensory integration programmes

Examples of resources

Environmental resources

  • Improved lighting
  • blinds/curtains to block sun
  • subtitles on audio visual material
  • high colour contrast materials, including on whiteboard
  • high quality print and photocopier facilities
  • well supported and comfortable seating
  • uncluttered and well organised learning environment
  • sloping boards
  • use of carpets and curtains and other soft materials to support acoustics

Resources within the learning environment

  • visual aids and prompts
  • subject vocabulary dictionary
  • tactile calendars
  • large print books, electronic books

Staffing

  • Monitoring advice / support from HI/MSI/VI Sensory Support Service advice, specialist Habilitation Officer in mobility and life skills

Technology

  • specialist equipment e.g. iPad, Soundfield
  • Radio Aid/FM System
  • SFS (Speech Filing System)
  • processing and keyboard training
  • ICT training to increase independent access
  • Laptop/board connection via appropriate links

Independent living

The following are some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

Examples of pupil needs

  • difficulty making some day to day choices or longer-term decisions
  • difficulty managing own safety in the community and travelling independently
  • vulnerable to abuse as a result of disability or special educational needs (sexual, financial, bullying)
  • unable to manage own finances
  • unable to find own accommodation
  • difficulty managing emotions in education settings and in the community

Examples of interventions

  • language and communication support focussed on communication of critical needs
  • communication support focussed on reduction of vulnerability and lowering risk in the community
  • communication systems for pupil to seek guidance and support, when necessary
  • targeted PSHE sessions and introduction to travel training skills
  • functional maths curriculum
  • structured conversations (agenda-driven)
  • accessible transition plans
  • decision-making and personal responsibility actively encouraged in schools and colleges
  • support to understand how to seek help and to understand risks

Resource examples of resources

  • advice available about benefits, bursaries and other financial advice services (including via SEN Local Offer)
  • IT / mobile technology to provide reminders, guidance and information and to promote independence skills
  • specialist software / equipment to support independent working
  • intervention and advice from outside agencies e.g. adult mental health, speech and language services

Staffing

  • peer mentors
  • personal tutors
  • voluntary sector services
  • leaving care services
  • advocacy and/or counselling

Pathways to employment

The following pages provide some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through.

Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

 Examples of pupil needs

  •  not able to apply for work
  • not able to attend an interview
  • not able to understand employment options
  • not able to learn work skills independently
  • unable to accept correction or constructive criticism or offer it
  • unable to communicate with colleagues or seniors in the workplace
  • unable to communicate needs in the workplace or make a complaint
  • unable to understand how to adapt communication for different settings

 

 Examples of interventions

  • systematic instruction to help with learning new skills
  • visual guidance and tasks broken down step by step
  • teaching about self-employment, applications and CVs etc.
  • social/work skills development work in small groups
  • CV writing and face to face careers guidance tailored to the individual (Government Guidance January 2018)
  • sessions to develop awareness of rights to reasonable adjustments in the workplace, Access to Work etc.

 Examples of resources

  • Disability Employment Services, Hounslow Local Authority
  • Connexions careers Advice service, Hounslow Local Authority
  • Job Centre Plus Disability Employment Advisors
  • schools /colleges careers advice services
  • social skills groups and sessions
  • GOV.UK for information on apprenticeships, traineeships, supported internships and benefits
  • Hounslow Local Offer

Participation in society

The following are some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

Examples of pupil needs

  • unable to make friends easily / at risk of social isolation
  • planning or accessing outings or attending events is challenging
  • tends to get into conflict situations / unable to maintain friendships
  • unaware of rights and / or place within society

Examples of interventions

  • opportunities for structured social contact
  • support to join interest groups / clubs
  • support to develop confidence with regard to social media
  • support to research or apply to appropriate venues / clubs
  • support with managing emotions / impulsivity
  • PSHE curriculum
  • support to engage in representation activities

Examples of resources

  • access to social skills groups
  • staff training with regard to pupils with social communication issues / ASD
  • advice about finding specialist clubs / activities and accessible mainstream settings / activities
  • mentor time
  • staff training with regard to behaviour / mental health

Health

The following are some examples of the types of interventions and resources available. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list nor is it a checklist to be worked through. Branded tools / resources referred to are examples only and not approved, recommended or quality assured by London Borough of Hounslow.

Examples of pupil needs

  • not able to access health services independently (GP, A & E, preventative screenings)
  • not able to self-regulate diet or exercise levels
  • not able to self-medicate or make own health-related decisions
  • requires significant medical input (e.g. long term condition, mental health condition)

Examples of interventions

  • PSHE curriculum adapted to cover healthcare, healthy eating etc
  • support to access physical activity
  • may require medical plan in school or college including reference to SEN support needs

Examples of resources

  • nutritionist advice
  • support to register with a GP and access annual health checks
  • use of fitness apps / technology
  • support to find suitable exercise opportunities
  • Hounslow obesity services (via GP)
  • referral to NHS or social care or specialist advice from NHS professionals, if appropriate

Where can I get more information

Where can I get more information, advice or support?

You can find out more about SEN Support through: