My child is struggling in school
You know your child better than anyone else. You’ve realised they are not progressing in school as they should be. You may already know your child has SEND or you may feel that there are issues but aren’t sure what those needs are.
Here’s just a few examples of issues your child might be facing:
- failure to make sustained progress academically
- gap in attainment growing between your child and his/her peers
- inability to focus in the classroom
- finding the classroom overwhelming and noisy
- struggling to communicate, make themselves understood and make friends.
- struggling to process and understand information that is being shared by teachers
- behavioural issues at school as a result of their difficulties
- high levels of anxiety and emotional difficulties
- meltdowns at home and/or at school
- difficulties in coming to school
Many parents have been in this position and here’s a few steps that you can take to understand more about the issues, and what options are available.
What should I expect a school to be doing for children with SEN without an EHCP?
- Schools have obligations to identify and address the Special Educational Needs (SEN) of pupils. The school must use its best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need.
- Schools receive a notional SEN budget to provide what is known as SEN Support, or Graduated Approach. This SEN Support takes the form of a four-part cycle: Assess, Plan, Do, Review. You will want to talk to the class teacher and SENCO about this cycle and ensure that this is in place if your child does not have an EHCP.
- All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 and must make reasonable adjustments for disabled children to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage. These duties are anticipatory, so school must give thought in advance to what might be required to prevent disadvantage.
- Perhaps you are not sure whether your child even has SEN or the school are telling you that your child does not have SEN. It is useful to be aware of the definition in the SEND Code of Practice at Section 6.15 – “A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.”
- The school may be telling you that your child is making expected academic progress and that they therefore don’t need to do anything. However Section 6.27 of the Code of Practice indicates that there are four broad areas of need that should be planned for – Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Social emotional and mental health difficulties, and Sensory and/or physical needs.
- Speak with the SENCO and class teacher. They typically have the greatest insight into how your child is doing. If your child is already known to have SEN, what adjustments can be made to help support your child?
- Discuss with the school whether your child or young person should have an EHC needs assessment?
Child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP):
- Perhaps you feel that the support currently specified in Section F of the EHCP is not enough or it is not appropriate; it might be that it is written in vague terms and not sufficiently specific and detailed. You should discuss your concerns with school and request an early review of the EHCP.
- If your child is not progressing as you would expect because the support in Section F of the EHCP is not being put in place then, take a look at our Help Centre article on Not Getting Agreed Support in School and What recourse do I have?