The law states that if a child is under the age of 5 then their Statement of Special Educational Needs must be reviewed at least every 6 months. Children who have reached the age of 5 must have their Statement of Special Educational Needs reviewed at least every 12 months.
The Annual Review meeting held at the school or LEA offices must comply with the relevant guidelines and statute law. It is an important opportunity for parents to be able to make a real difference to the special educational needs arrangements for their child.
Formal Statutory Assessment
For some children the School-Based Stages of SEN are not sufficient to meet the child's individual needs. For these children a Formal Statutory Assessment may be necessary.
A Formal Statutory Assessment can be requested by either the Head Teacher of the School or the parent. If you consider that your child requires a Formal Statutory Assessment do not wait for the Head Teacher to request the assessment - make the request directly to the education department within your Local Authority.
A Formal Statutory Assessment consists of a number of professionals assessing the child and providing further information to the Local Authority to enable them to decide if a Statement of Special Educational Needs is necessary or if a Note-in-Lieu of a Statement will be sufficient to meet your child's special educational needs.
It is important to obtain professional legal advice at an early stage to ensure that you are fully aware of the legal process and to obtain assistance in preparing your parental representations to ensure that you obtain the best outcome.
Identification and Assessment of SEN
If you consider that your child may have a special educational need then it is important to ensure that their special educational needs are identified as early as possible.
The majority of children with special educational needs are identified when they first attend a playgroup or nursery setting, or through the Portage Service. However some children can be identified at a much younger age through assessment by the Health Visitor or because the child has received a medical diagnosis at a very early age.
If your child is identified as having a special educational need the playgroup or nursery provider will discuss matters with you and then place your child on the School-Based Stages of SEN. This will be called either Early Years or School Action dependent upon the age of your child.
Local Education Authorities often mislead parents and advise them that their child cannot be formally assessed for a Statement of Special Educational Needs as they are below statutory school age. This is untrue as the Local Authority has a legal duty in respect of children who are 2 years of age or older and reside within the Local Authority area.
School Based Stages of SEN
Approximately 20% of children will have some form of special educational need during their school career. Some special educational needs will not be long term and will be remedied by action taken by the school at an early stage. Other children may have more complex and long-term special educational needs that will require long-term assistance over a number of years. A smaller number of children will have more complex special educational needs that cannot be met within the school-based stages of special educational needs (SEN). For these children a Formal Statutory Assessment may be necessary.
The School-Based Stages of SEN are as follows: -
- Early Years Action
- Early Years Action Plus
- School Action
- School Action Plus
Statement Implementation Difficulties
Many parents are relieved when their child receives a statement of special educational needs. However, difficulties often arise and there can be times when your child is not in receipt of the special educational provision detailed within part three of their statement.
The school is normally responsible for arranging the provision detailed in your child's statement of special educational needs, but it is the Local Authority who are legally bound to ensure that this provision is delivered to your child.