The Local Authority (LA) has a general responsibility to promote high standards for all pupils, including those who have special educational needs (SEN). The aim of this policy is to describe the provision of support for children/pupils with SEN within the LA. A key feature of this provision is a commitment to the principles of inclusive education. Underpinning these principles is a national framework, which provides guidance as to the way in which the LA and local partners will implement the policy.
This framework includes:
- The UNESCO Salamanca Statement (1994) which reinforces the notion that all pupils should attend their local community mainstream school “unless there are compelling reasons for doing otherwise.”
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which aimed to end discriminatory practices faced by many disabled people.
- The 1996 Education Act, which made provision for the publication of the SEN Code of Practice, designed to give education providers guidance on the identification and assessment of children and young people with special educational needs.
- The 1997 Government publication “Excellence for All Children – Meeting Special Educational Needs” which sets out a strategy for improving the standards for pupils with SEN
- The 1998 publication “Meeting Special Educational Needs – A Programme of Action” which, in conjunction with the 1999 Disability Rights Task Force Report “From Exclusion to Inclusion”, reinforces the rights of all pupils to be educated in mainstream schools
- The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001), which amended the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) to make it unlawful for education providers to discriminate against disabled pupils, students and adult learners. As a result, education providers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people in education do not suffer a substantial disadvantage in comparison to their peers who are not disabled. Part 1 of the Act strengthens the rights of children and young people with special educational needs to be educated in mainstream settings. The Act also requires schools and LAs to plan strategically to increase access to education.
- The revised SEN Code of Practice (effective from January 2002), which takes account of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001) and “provides practical advice to Local Authorities, maintained schools, early education settings and others on carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for pupil’s special educational needs
- The Government Green Paper “Every Child Matters” (2003), which describes a commitment to partnership and a multi-agency framework within the Children’s Services proposals
“Removing Barriers to Achievement – The Government’s Strategy for SEN” (2004), which focuses on
- Removing Barriers to Learning
- Raising Expectations and Achievement
- Delivering Improvements in Partnership
- The Disability Discrimination Act (2005), which places a duty on all public bodies to promote disability equality. This is a positive duty, which builds on disability equality from the outset, as opposed to the practice of making adjustments at the end of any given process.
Special Educational Needs Defined
Special Educational Needs are defined in the revised Code of Practice and 1996 Education Act as follows:
- “Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them".
Children have a learning difficulty if they:
- Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age: or
- Have a disability which 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 area of the Local Authority
- Are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition at a) and b) above or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them.
Special educational provision means:
For children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the Local Authority, other than special schools, in the area
For children under two, educational provision of any kind.
In order to deliver a high standard of educational provision for pupils with SEN, the LA will:
- Invest in a wide range of choice of provision and service.
- Prioritise resources accordingly to ensure support to children/young people and their families through collaborative early identification and intervention.
- Adopt a structured approach to assessment, as described in the SEN Code of Practice, and ensure consistence of practice across all sectors in support of children and young people with SEN.
- Take into account the view points of parents/carers, children/young people and professionals involved.
- Respect pupil and parental choice, notwithstanding the need to meet the statutory duty of maximising pupil potential by appropriate interventions.
- Support all partners to facilitate children’s/young person’s involvement in decision making processes where appropriate.
- Maximise pupil participation in their own education and their role as citizens within their learning, family and social communities.
- Match pupil need with relevant support interventions and school placement – mainstream or special school as deemed appropriate. Mainstream options will always be pursued if parents request this.
- Provide a broad, balanced and suitably differentiated curriculum in support of children and young people with SEN and severe low incidence disabilities.
- Ensure that pupil progress is reviewed regularly against clearly defined learning outcomes suited to the child or young person’s abilities, aptitudes and potential.
- Provide a comprehensive programme of continuing professional staff development for teaching and support staff commensurate with their defined areas of responsibilities.
- Ensure that there are comprehensive and effective support services, staffed by appropriately qualified professionals, to support children/young people with SEN, their parents/carers and schools.
- Facilitate inter-agency collaboration in support of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
- Implement consistent procedures in respect of placement decisions and the allocation of resources and ensure that additional SEN resources provided to schools are used effectively and in line with the principles of Best Value through a clear monitoring process.
- Develop the effectiveness of support services through quality assurance mechanisms, recognising the principles of Best Value.
Inclusion – Defined
The Authority recognises the duty within the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 to ensure that every young person achieves their potential.
It also recognises the expectation within the Act that, where at all possible, this will be achieved within a mainstream school.
However, the presumption of mainstream provision has to be balanced by the appropriateness, for some children and young people, of more specialist provision when this is requested by parents/carers, within certain parameters. The Authority also recognises the right of young people to be consulted on choices which affect them. The LA will maintain a range of special schools for children and young people with severe low incidence disabilities or who have complex learning needs.
Continuing Professional Development
The Authority is committed to ensuring that all staff have access to appropriate training to enable them to fulfil their statutory and contractual duties in relation to children with special educational and additional support needs. A comprehensive CPD framework is available covering the duties and areas of responsibility for all staff; senior managers, class and peripatetic teachers, classroom assistants, SEN auxiliaries and clerical staff. All LA staff will participate in regular supervision and appraisal meetings with line managers. One aspect of this process will be the identification of training needs and appropriate training opportunities to meet those needs.
Monitoring and Evaluation Procedures
This policy will be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis.
The monitoring and evaluation procedures of the LA will contribute to the self-evaluation procedures of both schools and central services.
The LA will:
- work with all partners to ensure multi-agency evaluation
- monitor the effectiveness of schools in fulfilling their duties towards pupils with special educational needs
- ensure that its own arrangements and provision for SEN are kept under review and that resources are used effectively
- A key feature of this process will be to identify good practice, which can then be shared with colleagues.
In determining the most appropriate placement for a pupil the Authority will take into account the complexity of the needs profile, parental preference and pupil views. Placement in specialist provision is overseen by the Authority and is determined by the following process:
- Scrutiny of educational setting/programme reports, which will provide process evidence as to the level and nature of intervention made in response to the child or young person’s special educational needs or disability
- Consideration of assessment data, undertaken by the Educational Psychology Service and, where appropriate, contributed to by the Health Service and/or other appropriate professionals.
- Consideration of whether or not further modification of the curriculum, introduction of additional resources (both personnel and technical) or reasonable adaptation of the learning environment would address the identified special educational needs or disability.
- If such actions are viable, the child will continue in attendance at the current school. If they are not, the Authority will nominate a specialist provision or service which could more effectively meet the special educational needs, or disability, of the child or young person.
The LA is required to have in place a written Access Strategy and Plan, for all schools, which outlines action to improve, over time, accessibility for disabled pupils to:
- the physical environment;
- the curriculum;
- written communication.
All mainstream schools will have a special educational/additional learning needs policy which reflects:
- the current legislative and national policy framework
- the provision mapping processes undertaken in school to identify pupils in need of additional support and the nature of the support programmes/ staffing/time allocations to be provided
- a commitment to ongoing continuing professional development, in accordance with the authority policy which outlines remits and responsibilities
- identification of named members of staff who have specific responsibility in respect of children and young people with special educational (additional learning) needs. The Authority’s expectation is that this would be a member of staff who holds a teaching qualification.
- reporting arrangements to parents and pupils
- degree and nature of inter-agency working
- arrangements to ensure that pupils are as actively involved as possible in planning their learning
- deployment of support staff, on a minimal intervention model, aimed at assisting pupils to achieve their potential, develop their self-esteem and become increasingly independent in their learning.
- monitoring arrangements for individual pupil progress
- evaluation of practice and provision
Special Schools: Policy and Practice
The LA aims to ensure that its special schools are centres of excellence for children who have severe low incidence disabilities or who have a degree of vulnerability.
In consequence, special schools’ policies will reflect exactly the same points as those for mainstream schools (see 9 above).
The Early Years Quality and Inclusion Team, working in partnership with the Educational Psychology Service, has produced protocols to support access to Nursery Education, by children who have additional needs. These protocols include the documentation of the process of inclusion, providing clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of; Early Years Practitioners from Maintained, Private and Voluntary Provision, and those of LA staff. Further information can be found in the following documents:
- Surestart Inclusion Team Protocols for Nursery Schools and Schools with Nursery Classes
- Educational Psychology Service Protocols for Nursery Schools and Schools with Nursery Classes
- Supporting Children with Additional Needs (Appendices 7, 7a, 7b, 7c)
- Complementary Policy and Guidance Documentation
- Inclusion Statement/Executive Summary
- SEN Policy
- SpLD (Dyslexia) Policy
- Dyspraxia Protocol
- Transport Policy
- Access Policy/Strategy
- Children and Young People with Medical Needs (Medical Needs Procedure)
- Children and Young People with Medical Needs (Responsibilities for Schools)
- SureStart Inclusion Team Protocols for Nursery Schools and Schools with Nursery Classes
- Educational Psychology Service Protocols for Nursery Schools and Schools with Nursery Classes
- Asperger’s Syndrome Protocol
- ASD Protocol
- Children in Public Care Protocol
- Pupils Educated out of Borough Protocol
- Inclusion Support Protocol (Outreach)
- Education of Travellers’ Children Policy
- SIS Guidelines/Procedures
- Pupils Placed Out of Year Guidelines
- Ethnic Minority Achievement Strategy Plan
- Asylum Seekers’ Protocol
- Parent Partnership Service (Operational Policy)
- DfES (1997), “Excellence for All Children – Meeting Special Educational Needs”
- DfES (1998), “Meeting Special Educational Needs – A Programme of Action”
- DfES (2002), “Special Educational Needs Code of Practice”
- DfES (2003), “Every Child Matters”
- DfES (2004), “Removing Barriers to Achievement – The Government’s Strategy for SEN”
- Disability Rights Task Force (1999), “From Exclusion to Inclusion”
- HMSO (1995), Disability Discrimination Act
- HMSO (1996), Education Act
- HMSO (2001), “Special Educational Needs and Disability Act”
- HMSO (2005), Disability Discrimination Act
- UNESCO, (1994), “The Salamanca Statement and Framework For Action on Special Needs Education”
- Wigan LA (2006), “Supporting Pupils with Additional Needs
- DfES (2001), “Inclusive Schooling”
- DfES (2003), “Together from the Start – Practical Guidance for Professionals working with Disabled Children and their Families (Birth to 3 Years)