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.

Here is a terminology guide for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to explain some of the acronyms that are used.

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.

There is a button at the top of every page which offers a translation function into over 40 other languages.

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

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.

SENDIASS Frequently Asked Questions: Response to Independent review

Please find some frequently asked questions here on SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs Information Advice and Support Services).