SEN Frequently Asked Questions
What does special educational needs (SEN)
The term Special Educational Need
has a legal definition. Children with Special Educational Needs all
have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for
them to learn than most children of the same age. These children
may need extra or different help from that given to other children
of the same age. Children with Special Educational Needs may have a
range of difficulties with for example:
- Cognition and Learning
(Thinking and Understanding)
- Social, Emotional and
Mental Helath (How they behave)
- Sensory and/or
- Communication and
Interaction ( How they relate to others, does not include where
English is a second language)
I’m worried about a
child/my child's development, what can I do?
If you think your child
may have a Special Educational Need that has not been identified by
the school or early education setting, you should talk to your
child’s class teacher, to the SENCo or to the Head Teacher.
If your child is not yet
at school or not yet attending an early education setting, you can
talk to your doctor or health visitor who will be able to give you
advice about the next steps to take.
What is a graduated
The graduated approach recognises
that children learn in different ways and can have different levels
of Special Educational Need. So increasingly, step by step,
specialist expertise can be brought in to help the school with the
difficulties a child may have.
What is an Education,
Health and Care Needs Assessment?
This is a detailed investigation to
find out exactly what the child’s Special Educational Needs are and
what special help the child may need. An EHC Needs Assessment
is only necessary for those pupils with long-term and complex
Special Educational Needs and if the school or early years setting
cannot provide all the help that the child needs from within the
resources available to them.
When a parent/carer, the
early years education setting or the school ask the Local Authority
to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment, the Local Authority normally
have five weeks to decide whether to do so. They will consider very
carefully the child’s progress at school or college and the
guidance in the
SEN Code of Practice. They will also listen to your views and
to the views of your child’s school about your child’s Special
Educational Needs. The school or early education setting will tell
the Local Authority about any special help they have already given
to your child.
How long will it take to make a decision?
There is a statutory time period
for completing an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. From
the initial request to agreeing the outcome with the parents the
process must be completed within an 20 week timeframe.
Who will make the
The Bedford Borough SEND Panel will consider cases
put forward for EHC Needs Assessment as advised in the SEN
Code of Practice. This panel will have a multi-professional
membership. The SEND Team Manager acting on behalf of the
Local Authority (LA) will convene and chair it, and will invite
specialists as appropriate. The panel will consist of
representatives from the following according to
need, the SEND Team, the Psychology Team, the
Advisory Teacher Team, the Early Years Support Service,
the Sensory and Communication Support Team, the Inclusion
Support Team, special schools, mainstream schools
and Independent Parental Supporters.
The Education Panel’s role is to advise
the SEND Team. The SEND Team are responsible for deciding on
whether young people match the guidance for
EHC Needs Assessment.
All decisions following panels will be
communicated verbally (where possible) and in writing to the
What if I disagree with a
Local Authority decision?
You will be informed in writing of
the Local Authority decision and when you have the right to
appeal. As a first step you should contact the SEND Team to discuss the way
forward. You may also wish to contact the SEND
Advice Service/Core Assets or KIDS which is an independent
What is an Education, Health and
Care Plan (EHCP)?
An Education, Health and Care Plan is a legal document that
outlines all the child’s special educational needs and the
objectives and provision to meet those needs.
Can changes be made to an EHCP once it’s in
Changes to an EHCP are usually
considered by the Local Authority following the Annual Review,
which should take place at least once a year, or every 6 months for
a pupil under the age of 5. The school will make
recommendations which the Local Authority will consider to see
whether any amendments to the EHCP are appropriate.
Elective Home Education FAQs
Will there be any support from the
Bedford Borough Council if I am educating my child at home?
There is a specific advisor within
the SEND Team who can provide advice and guidance
Please see this page for further information