Your SEND Partners

Working Together in Partnership 

It is really important that we all work together in partnership to make sure we get the best outcomes for your child. To do this it requires trust, commitment and respect. It is particularly important to develop positive relationships between everyone who is involved with your child or young person.

All partners have an important role to play in developing positive and constructive relationships with your child or young person. This includes the local authority, schools and settings, outside agencies as well as parents and families.

Various people ‘partner’ in providing an education for your child:

  • Parents and Carers
  • The Early Years’ setting, school or college
  • The Headteacher
  • SENCo
  • Class or Form teacher
  • Key worker
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Educational Psychologists 
  • Specialist Advisory Teachers
  • The Local Authority
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist

As part of the continuous cycle of helping your child, there are FOUR very important stages in meeting children’s ‘Special Educational Needs’. These include:

  • the identification and assessment of your child’s needs,
  • planning suitable provision,
  • implementing agreed actions with clear intended outcomes,
  • reviewing the provision to ensure it is meeting your child’s needs.

This is known as the graduated approach.

What is effective partnership working?

Any partnership requires commitment, trust and respect from both parties to be effective. 

For children to gain the maximum benefit from their schooling, the development of positive relationships between their parents and school is vital.

The five ‘Rs’ of partnership are:

  • Rights
  • Responsibilities
  • Relationships
  • Resources
  • Reality

Effective partnerships are facilitated by the following:

  • each partner recognises the different skills, experiences and knowledge of each of the other partners,
  • each partner values the skills, experience and knowledge of the other partners,
  • all partners recognise the need for the input of each of the partners,
  • each partner feels valued.

The following four key factors are also vital to help partnerships work and assist in reducing conflict and disagreement:

  • mutual understanding,
  • trust,
  • respect,
  • empathy between all partners.

All partners have an important role to play in identifying positive and constructive relationships- including the school or setting, the Local Authority, outside agencies and parents. It is crucial for everyone to work together to ensure your child or young person can reach their full potential.

Teachers and parents should make every effort to relate well with each other.

The key components for building healthy relationships are:

  • a need for all other parties in the partnership to work together,
  • getting to know each other,
  • determining parents’/teachers’ aspirations,
  • agreeing how to work together,
  • establishing genuine trust to enable openness and challenge,
  • teacher building parents’ self-esteem and confidence, 
  • parents showing confidence in their child’s class teacher/school.

Teachers should explain the intended outcomes for the child and have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-limited) intended outcomes.

Teachers should also:

  • predict and prepare for any possible barriers,
  • set a date for reviewing the child’s progress,
  • set out the agreement in an individual plan for the child,
  • support the parents in their role (e.g. give encouragement, praise and feedback).

Parents and teachers should agree a reviewing process:

  • individual parents and teachers should meet to evaluate the progress with regard to the agreed actions and intended outcomes,
  • teachers should recognise the parents’ contribution,
  • an agreement should be reached about what needs still have to be met,
  • revise the agreed actions and intended outcomes as appropriate,
  • set a new date for reviewing progress.

Roles and Responsibilities

Overview of Roles and Responsibilities

All partners have an important role to play in identifying positive and constructive relationships (including the school, the Local Authority, outside agencies and parents).

So, what roles and responsibilities should we expect of ourselves (as parents), from teachers, schools, settings and the Local Authority? 

Parents have an important role to play in the education of their child.

Here are some of the important responsibilities of parents:

  • to have regular contact with the school or setting,
  • to have good communication with teachers, – letting them know as soon as possible of any concerns about their child or school. Also, parents should inform the school or setting of any important information that they may need to know (as this may affect how they support their child),
  • to make sure their child attends their school or setting regularly,
  • to support their child with any home learning tasks,
  • to make sure they fulfil their duties under the home-school agreement,
  • to treat professionals with respect during their contact with them,
  • to be involved (and take part) in reviewing their child’s progress and in decisions made about their child’s education,
  • to accompany their child to any interview, medical appointment or assessment.

What you can do:

  • support your child or young person’s education and help them to achieve their potential,
  • take an active part in your child’s education, attending parents’ meetings and supporting them to do their very best at all times,
  • support your child at home with any homework or reading activities and by following the advice of the nursery/school/college on other activities that could help your child or young person’s education,
  • talk to nursery/school/college staff with any concerns.

What you can expect:

  • to know that the wishes of your child should be listened to,
  • to be informed by school when they first start giving extra or different help for your child,
  • to be consulted about decisions that affect your child,
  • to have your views taken into account,
  • to have a copy of your child’s learning plan/SEN Support Provision Plan/Education, Health and Care plan.

All staff with schools and settings have an important role to play in developing positive and constructive relationships with parents.

Schools and settings should accept and value the contribution of parents and encourage their participation. Every effort should be made to identify how parents prefer to work with schools and setting, with the recognition that some families will require both practical help and emotional support if they are to play a key role in the education of their children.

Schools and settings should seek to develop partnerships with local parent support groups or voluntary organisations to help this process.

Policy on Meeting ‘Special Educational Needs’

Schools and settings need to have policies that show:

  • how they identify pupils with Special Educational Needs and ensure that their needs are met,
  • how they ensure that pupils with Special Educational Needs join in with all the activities of the school or setting,
  • how they ensure that all learners make the best possible progress,
  • how they ensure that parents are informed of their child’s Special Educational Needs (and the provision made for them); and that there is effective communication between parents and the school or setting, 
  • how they ensure that learners express their views and are fully involved in decisions that affect their education,
  • how they promote effective partnerships and involve outside agencies when appropriate. 

Schools must have regard to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015)

The school governing body has an essential role in:

  • doing its best to ensure that the necessary provision is made by the school for meeting the Special Educational Needs of its pupils,
  • ensuring that, where the ‘responsible person’ (the headteacher or an appropriate governor) has been informed by the Local Authority that a pupil has Special Educational Needs, those needs are made known to all staff who are likely to teach that pupil,
  • ensuring that teachers in the school are aware of the importance of identifying and providing for the Special Educational Needs of pupils,
  • consulting with the Local Authority with regard to the provision of children and young people with Special Educational Needs,
  • establishing, and then reporting annually to parents, the school’s policy for meeting Special Educational Needs,
  • ensuring that pupils with Special Educational Needs join in the activities of the school together with pupils who do not have Special Educational Needs, so far as that is reasonably practicable and compatible with the pupils receiving the necessary Special Educational Needs provision, the effective education of other pupils in the school and the efficient use of resources,
  • having regard to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015) when carrying out their duties towards all pupils with Special Educational Needs.

The School Governing Body should also, in co-operation with the headteacher:

  • determine the school’s general policy and approach to provision for meeting Special Educational Needs, 
  • establish the appropriate staffing and funding arrangements,
  • maintain a general oversight of the school’s work.

The school headteacher or setting manager should, in co–operation with the governing body:

  • determine the school’s general policy and approach to provision for meeting Special Educational Needs,
  • establish the appropriate staffing and funding arrangements,
  • maintain a general oversight of the school’s work.

The school headteacher or setting manager has responsibility for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the school’s work, including the provision for Special Educational Needs. The headteacher will need to keep the governing body fully informed. The headteacher will also need to work closely with the school’s designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) to ensure effective and efficient provision is made to meet Special Educational Needs.

The school or setting’s designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, working closely with fellow staff within the school or setting, has an important role in the day-to-day operation of the school’s policy on meeting Special Educational Needs and in overseeing the provision to meet Special Educational Needs.

A ‘Special Educational Learning Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)’ should be responsible for:

  • the day-to-day oversight of the school’s Special Educational Needs policy and liaising with and advising fellow school or setting staff,
  • co-ordinating the Special Educational Needs provision,
  • maintaining the school or setting’s Special Educational Needs register and overseeing the records of children or young people receiving Special Educational Needs provision,
  • overseeing the liaison with parents of pupils with Special Educational Needs, contributing to the professional development of fellow school or setting staff on appropriate areas of Special Educational Needs provision,
  • liaising with appropriate external support services.

A class teacher is a professional who has responsibility for educating a class of children or young people. The relationship between children and their teachers tends to be closer in the primary school where they act as form tutor and specialist teacher throughout the course of the day. In secondary schools, class teachers specialise in a specific subject area (e.g. Biology or English).

A Teaching Assistant (TA) is a person employed in school to support children’s learning under the direction of a class teacher.

Educational Psychologists support schools and settings in the delivery of Special Educational Needs for children and young people.

The work of an Educational Psychologists involves:

  • assessment
  • observation
  • intervention
  • consultation
  • training
  • research

They work mostly in schools, but also in preschool settings and at home. Sometimes Educational Psychologists work with children and young people. At other times, they work with teachers and other adults on the child’s behalf. Their main task is to help with issues that are causing problems or concerns to children. These can be about learning, behaviour, social interactions or emotional well-being.

Through consulting with children, young people and the teachers that work with them, they decide on a plan. This plan will have actions that should lead to a solution. They set a time to review progress to see if the plan is working. Educational Psychologists also play a part in the multi-agency process of identifying significant Special Educational Needs and recommending how they can best be met.

Find out more about the Birmingham Educational Psychology Service

A Specialist Advisory Teacher provides an advisory role for school and settings in a specific additional need, of which they have expert knowledge and experience. They are provided by the Local Authority and are experienced, qualified teachers who provide skilled support for children with communication, behavioural and sensory impairment as well as general learning difficulties

In Birmingham we have a range of different Advisory Teaching Teams.

Find out more about the Birmingham Advisory Teaching Teams.

Key responsibilities:

The Local Authority has an essential role and responsibility linked with:

  • keeping under review the arrangements it makes for meeting the Special Educational Needs of all children and young people,
  • ensuring that suitable provision is made for children with Special Educational Needs who require education other than in a mainstream classroom,
  • working closely with health and social services, and other appropriate statutory, voluntary and private agencies in making suitable provision for children with Special Educational Needs,
  • having regard to any regulations and guidance produced by the Government and providing suitable guidance for schools and parents on how practices and procedures for meeting Special Educational Needs should be implemented.

A speech and language therapist is a professional employed by the Health Trust to work with the child, parents and teachers. They use therapeutic techniques to support, improve and care for children and young people who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.

All Local Authorities have a statutory duty to provide Parent Services, but do not have to deliver the service themselves.  Parents, schools and settings should receive clear information about services and providers (including, where relevant, the involvement of voluntary groups).

Find out about Birmingham’s Parent Services

Local Authorities may wish to develop consultation arrangements with voluntary organisations and parent support groups to ensure that they are aware of local policies and procedures for children with Special Educational Needs.  They should be made aware that voluntary groups can make a positive contribution to the development and review of Special Educational Needs policies and practices.  

Local Authorities have a responsibility for the provision of a wide range of information materials for parents.  Local Authorities should also inform parents of any responsibilities that schools have in publishing policies relating to Special Educational Needs. 

In addition, the Government’s Special Educational Needs & Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015) and its ‘Guide to the SEND Code of Practice: for parents’ give details of the types of parental rights that are connected with the education of children with Special Educational Needs.  

For example, a Local Authority must arrange for the parent of a child with Special Educational Needs to be provided with advice and information about matters relating to those needs.  Local Authorities must take whatever steps they consider appropriate to make Parent Services known to parents, headteachers, schools and others that they consider appropriate.

In addition, parents must be informed of their rights to access a local Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) in seeking to resolve any disagreement that may arise either with their school or their Local Authority.  They should also be informed of their right to appeal to the independent Special Educational Needs Tribunal,  if they are not happy with how a Local Authority plans to provide for their child.

Don’t forget, this website contains lots of pages of helpful information and relevant links to help keep you aware of what is available and the processes involved.

If you want to talk to someone who knows about Special Educational Needs, you can get help and advice from our Parent Services.

What to do if you are unhappy

Parents and carers have an important role in the partnership between schools and professionals and their child / young person. Many problems can be solved informally by talking to the teachers at your child’s school. Before taking further action, make sure that you have shared your concerns. 

If you are still unhappy there are a number of other things you can do.

Learn more about what to do if you are unhappy.