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Special Educational Needs

What are Special Educational Needs?

Some children find it much harder to learn than others of the same age and may need extra help. This may be because they have difficulties with:

  • reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • expressing themselves or understanding what is being said to them
  • organising themselves
  • understanding and following rules and routines
  • making friends or relating to adults
  • a medical condition
  • a sensory need such as a difficulty with seeing or hearing.

These children are said to have Special Educational Needs (SEN). But this does not include children who are having trouble keeping up because their first language is not English.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer

The Local Offer contains details of provision and support services that are available for children and young people with SEND in Southend and the surrounding areas.

The local offer is hosted on SHIP - Southend's Children and Families Information Point - and can be found by clicking here.

The Local Offer is published as part of the SEND reforms under the Children and Families Act 2014 and will be developed and reviewed over time, with the involvement of young people, parents and service providers. All information within the Local Offer is to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or a disability (SEND) and their families.

The Local Offer has two key purposes:

  • To provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about the available provision and how to access it, and
  • To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving disabled children and those with SEN and their parents, and disabled young people and those with SEN, and service providers in its development and review.

The local offer can signpost you to services from the local authority, schools, health and the voluntary sector that are available in Southend for children and young people with difficulties such as:
Autism, ASD, Asperger’s, Challenging Behaviour, Downs Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Epilepsy, Healing Impairment, Learning Difficulties, Mental Health, Physical Disability, Social Difficulties, Speech and Language Delay, Visual Impairment.

SHIP also has activities and services that any child may access (known as Universal services) and can be found in the main directory.

What should I do if I am worried about my child's progress?

You should firstly talk to your child’s school or early years setting. Ask them what they think and tell them your concerns. It is best to start with your child's teacher, key worker or tutor.

To make sure there is enough time to discuss any problems it may be necessary to request a meeting. You may wish to ask:

  • Does the setting (i.e. school, nursery, pre-school or playgroup) think my child is having any difficulties?
  • Is my child at the same level as other children of his/her own age?
  • Is my child already getting extra help? If so, what sort of help is being offered?
If after discussions have taken place you feel you need more information, you may wish to ask to speak to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).

What help can my child get?

Usually children with special educational needs will be able to have their needs met through Early Years/School Action and Early Years Action Plus/School Action Plus. This could mean:

  • using different teaching methods
  • giving them help from an extra adult
  • or if necessary, getting your child external specialist help, such as from a speech therapist.

But if the school or you as a parent feel that a child needs extra help or is not making progress through the support given through the school, we will make a statutory assessment of a child’s needs.

Page last updated: 29/07/2015