Special educational needs support in schools
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Special educational needs support in schools

This service is for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities age 2-19. Children and young people are referred to the service by a health or educational professional only. More information on all the services is available from the documents and related pages sections.

If you need advice or support about any education issue related to SEN and disability, you can contact the Leeds SEND Information Advice and Support Service (formerly Parent Partnership Service) on 0113 378 5020.

Support for children age birth to 3
Portage is a home visiting service provided through Barnardo's to support a young child with SEN and disabilities and the family. Portage Home Visitors work with the family to set both short and long term developmental goals. 

Support for children age 2 to 5 
Specialist teachers and inclusion workers support the development and learning needs of children age 2 to 5 years by:

  • providing targeted support for individual children; assessments and personalized learning programmes
  • working alongside staff in early years settings providing advice, support and training
  • sharing practical ideas and resources with parents and carers
  • submitting funding applications to support children’s inclusion in the pre-school setting (dependent on  criteria)

Some 2 year old children with SEND may be able to access a Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE).  

Support for school age children and young people
Specialist teachers work in schools with pupils who are experiencing difficulties with their learning and inclusion workers provide support to schools for children with social and emotional difficulties to raise pupil’s achievement by:

  • providing assessments of learning and social and emotional skills
  • providing targeted support to individual children
  • advising on interventions and resources that are focused on raising attainment 
  • providing advice on strategies to support pupils with specific and general learning difficulties
  • supporting children and young people to improve their relationships and understand their feelings and control their behaviour.
  • delivering a variety of training courses to staff​

Contact us

You can call us on 0113 378 5020 or email us at education.admissions@leeds.gov.uk


Click to expandWhat are special educational needs?

​The law says that a child has SEN if he or she has a learning difficulty of disability which requires special educational provision to be made.  School age children have a learning difficulty or disability if they:
-have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age,
 -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.

Children under compulsory school age have special educational needs if they are likely to fall within the definition above when they reach compulsory school age, or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them.

For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant early years providers. For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind. ​​

Click to expandI think my child has SEN, who can help?

Teachers, early years practitioners and special educations needs coordinators (SENCO) in schools and pre-school settings have  a responsibility to identify children with SEN and provide them with the extra support they need. This might include help with:
-learning and communicating
-social and emotional skills
-hearing, visual or physical needs

If you think that your child has special educational needs speak to their teacher, key worker or the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). If your child is below school age you may want to speak to your health visitor or doctor.  

Click to expandWhat will the SENCO, health visitor or doctor do?

In consultation with you the SENCO, health visitor or doctor should gather all relevant information in order to develop a good understanding of your child’s strengths and difficulties, agree outcomes and plan next steps.

If your child is identified as having SEN actions may include:
-provide additional support in pre-school setting or school known as ‘SEN Support’. This will involve assessments of your child’s needs, agreed outcomes.
-seek advice and support from other specialists e.g. speech therapist, specialist teacher, educational psychologist, inclusion worker.
-refer your child for an educational, health and care need assessment which could lead to an Education Health and Care Plan. This plan would outline your child’s needs, what support should be provided and a suitable education placement.

Click to expandWill my child need to attend a specialist school or nursery?

Most children with SEN will attend their local mainstream pre-school setting or school. Others may attend a specialist inclusive learning centre (SILC). This could be full time or part time in one of our mainstream secondary school, primary school or children’s centre partnerships. Some mainstream schools have additional resources for children with hearing or speech and language difficulties. 

Click to expandI think my child is dyslexic

If you think your child is dyslexic speak to their teacher and the SENCO at school.
Dyslexia can be identified by anyone with appropriate specialist training and qualifications, which could include teachers and SENCOs. Staff in schools will often find it helpful to discuss children whose progress causes concern with outside agencies such as an officer from the SEN and Inclusion team or their educational psychologist. The primary purpose of an assessment will be to suggest objectives for an appropriate teaching programme and to secure better progress, rather than to arrive at a diagnosis. You can download the Complex needs Service Dyslexia Guidelines information for parents from the documents section. ​​​

Dyslexia Action

Dyslexia Association

Click to expandWhat support is there for parents?

The health and educational professionals working with you to support your child’s needs should recognise that you know your child best, listen to your concerns and involve you fully in all decisions.

There are a number of voluntary organisations listed in the external links  on this page that work specifically with parents to offer advice and support ​

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