There are some questions we get asked a lot. We call these frequently asked questions (FAQs). Here is a list of them and the answers we would give.
The Local Offer is the range of local agencies including education, health and social care the Local Authority has available to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities and their families. Each Local Authority has a duty to publish this information on a Local Offer Website so that it is all in one place.
Whilst we are refreshing the Local Offer Website the information is only available in English. We are working to allow it to be translated into different languages so that all our families can access the information.
Yes, if you do not have access to the website then various people can help you to access the information. You can speak to staff at your local school or setting. You can also call the SEND Parent Link Content Line for information. The phone number is 0121 303 8461 or you can email them at Parentlinkservice@birmingham.gov.uk
Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children or young people of the same age.
Special educational needs and disabilities fall under four broad areas:
Communication and interaction (including Autism)
Cognition and learning
Social, mental and emotional health
Sensory and/or physical
If you feel that your child has Special Educational Needs or a Disability and may need additional help, firstly please talk to your health visitor, the Head Teacher or Special Educational Needs Coordinator at your child’s nursery, school or college or your GP. If you are unsure who to talk to you can also call the SEND Parent Link Officers via the Contact Line (0121 303 8461) for more support.
Birmingham has a range of services available to support parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities:
A listening ear for families to talk things through, especially during difficult times
Help to gain understanding about a range of different support services.
Practical help in dealing with letters, filling in forms and understanding professional reports.
Support to make informed decisions about school and other educational placements.
Support to maintain good working relationships with relevant professionals.
Helping families play an active and valued role in their child’s education and development.
Ensuring families have a voice.
You can find out more about our parent/carer services here.
Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place. This SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes. This is known as the graduated approach.
You can learn more about the graduated approach here.
An assessment may be carried out with your child in order to identify their strengths and needs. Working in this way can help the school develop a plan of support and ensure that your child’s needs are being addressed in the most suitable way. Assessments can be carried out by school staff or by Local Authority Education staff (e.g. educational psychologists or advisory teachers).
Different types of assessments can target a range of areas (e.g. reading, understanding, language skills, number skills and self-esteem). The results of these types of assessments are used to plan the way ahead for your child. The assessments may be reviewed from time to time to make sure that the plan of support continues to be suitable for your child.
A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.
The EHC needs assessment should not normally be the first step in the process, rather it should follow on from planning already undertaken with parents and young people in conjunction with an early years provider, school, post-16 institution or other provider.
You can find out more about EHCPs here.
At least once a year your child’s Education, Health and Care plan will be reviewed and a meeting arranged to discuss your child’s progress. This is called an annual review. The purpose of the review is to make sure that at least once a year all the professionals involved monitor and evaluate the continued effectiveness and relevance of your child’s Special Educational Needs.
The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice is the guidance that all early education settings, schools, Post-16 providers, local authorities and any one else who helps to identify, assess and provide help for children and young people with special educational needs, has to follow.
You can find out more about the Code of Practice here.