Many children with autism have a Statement or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), but this doesn’t apply to everyone. It may be that your child can manage without one, or it may be that you’re in the process of applying for one and it’s taking a long time; either way, you’re still entitled to extra support at school.
Before 1 September 2014, schools had two categories of support: School Action and School Action Plus. Now the process has been revised, and it’s all done under a single category: SEN Support.
How does SEN Support work?
SEN Support has four stages:
Teachers or SENCOs are responsible for keeping a written record of your child or young person's needs. This record should be reviewed regularly and parents should be involved in the process.
If the school decides that your child or young person needs SEN Support, they have to tell you. Together, the teacher, you, and your child or young person (if possible) should get together to agree:
- What support and teaching strategies should be set up
- What effect you expect it to have on your child or young person's progress
- A clear date for the support and progress to be reviewed
Once this has been decided, the school should make sure that all the teachers and support staff who work with your child or young people are aware of the plan and know how to follow it.
The plan goes into action. Your child or young person's teacher or teachers are responsible for making sure the plan is followed day to day, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff who may be involved.
At least three times a year, the school should meet with you to discuss how the plan is working out. Your views, both on the quality of support and on the good it’s doing, have to be taken into consideration, as do the views of your child or young person (assuming he or she is old enough and has enough communication skills to speak for him or herself).
The school has to keep a record of the support agreed, what action is taken and what progress is being made. It’s up to them what format is used for their records and they should also share a copy with you.
SEN Support can be an interim measure while you’re waiting for an EHCP, or it can be an alternative if your child or young persondoesn’t need one. The main advantage is that it involves fewer formalities and does not require Local Authority involvement, meaning that if you’re concerned about your child or young person, you should be able to get SEN Support set up fairly quickly.