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Special Educational Needs help in Suffolk
What are Special Educational Needs in Suffolk?
Special educational needs are any difficulty a child or young person has in accessing education. Special educational needs (SEN) affect how a person learns. The needs can affect everything from:
- Reading , writing or number work
- Expressing themselves or understanding information
- Making friends or relating to adults
- Personal organisation
- Tasks or activities which depend on sensory or physical skills
In England, special educational needs are defined by the Children and Families Act 2014.
If a child or young person has difficulties in accessing school, education, or facilities at school and requires support beyond that typically made for young people of the same age, they likely have special educational needs.
If you are not sure whether your child or young person has special educational needs, you should seek specific legal advice.
Suffolk SEN teams operate under their own policies, but also must comply with the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice 2015. Whilst the law can be complicated, in our experience the policies can overly simplify the law and confuse quite complex rules. This can result in poor decision making. That is often why parents in Suffolk seek special educational needs advice from us.
Suffolk’s SEN policies and guidance can be found here:
We would always advise parents to make sure that they focus on the Special Educational needs Code of Practice, rather than Suffolk’s SEN policies only. The SEN Code of Practice can be found here:
What is SEN Support in Suffolk?
Suffolk’s special educational needs team have prepared a Local Offer. The Local Offer explains what support is available for special educational needs in Suffolk. The Local Offer can be found here:
Normally, school will identify that a child or young person has special educational needs. When this happens, the class teacher and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), will plan additional support. This follows a cycle called “Assess, Plan, Do, Review”.
If the school does not identify a pupil with special educational needs, it may be necessary to seek an EHC needs assessment of their special educational needs from the local authority.
The child, young person and their parents / guardian should be involved in discussions with the school about planning support for special educational needs. It is important to be aware that schools receive a specific amount of money – often called a Delegated Budget – to support children and young people with special educational needs. As the Delegated Budget is finite, this can often limit the amount of support that can be available unless the local authority makes an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
If the child or young person needs more support than the school can provide, an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) may be needed. The school should discuss with the child, young person and their parents / guardian requesting an EHC needs assessment. It is very important to note that there is no requirement to try to cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review before seeking an EHC needs assessment or an Education Health and Care Plan.
How can I get an EHCP in Suffolk?
The guidance for securing an EHC needs assessment and EHCP in Suffolk can be found here:
This can be a helpful guide to know how to qualify for an EHCP in Suffolk. However, it is important to know that the local authority must comply with legal duties, as well as operating its own policies.
Before an EHCP can be issued, the local authority must make an EHC needs assessment.
The local authority will write to you explaining the assessment process and asking for the views of you and your child.
The local authority must ask for advice from:
- school or early years setting
- an educational psychologist
- health professionals working with your child
- social care team
- anyone else you ask them to contact who may be able to provide relevant information
You views are very important to the process and we can give you advice and support on how to provide them.
At the conclusion of the EHC needs assessment, the local authority will decide whether an EHCP is necessary,
The term “necessary” has been the focus of much litigation. It means that the local authority must consider the subjective needs of the child or young person, the special educational provision that they need and whether it is reasonably likely that a mainstream school can deliver that support.
If the local authority refuses to make an EHCP, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
Where can I find SEN legal advice in Suffolk?
Our specialist education law solicitors have experience of working across the country. We have helped many parents and young people in Suffolk. We have provided expert education law advice in Suffolk to secure special educational needs support for several children, young people and families.
Our special education needs solicitors provide advice in Suffolk. To contact us, please call 02920 291 704.