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Request for access to SEND support – guidance

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All schools have clear duties in regard to the support of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities under the Children and Families Act 2014 and SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015.

Schools must ‘have regard’ to the code. This means that they should do what it says or be able to explain why they have not done so, and what alternative action has been taken. The law is underpinned by the principle that where a parent of a child with SEN, or a young person with SEN, wants a place in a mainstream setting, this must not be denied on the basis that mainstream education is unsuitable, or that their needs or disabilities are too great or complex.

Schools must put provision in place for learners with SEND. They must take into account all of the learner’s needs. Provision will be put in place for presenting needs and this should be done as early as possible and with or without a formal diagnosis.

One key duty under the Code of Practice is that schools must use their best endeavours to support learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This means doing everything that could reasonably be expected of them.

This legal duty sits with the Governing Body and applies to all those identified with SEN, not just those with an EHCP (section 66 of the Children and Families Act 2014). Under this duty the Governing Body must enquire and ensure that the school is actually making available to SEN provision the learner requires.

It is expected as part of the assess, plan, do, review process outlined in the Code of Practice (2015) that schools and settings will use a clear graduated approach to identifying and meeting children and young people’s needs.

In Devon, the graduated response tool has been developed to support schools. The tool outlines some of the practices and adaptations that are part and parcel of Quality First Teaching (QFT): the inclusion of all pupils in high-quality everyday personalised teaching.

The provision and strategies outlined in the graduated response may be required for children and young people with SEN and disabilities but will undoubtedly be of benefit to many of the learners in the school.

What support is available for schools?

Sometime schools may feel that they need additional support in implementing the graduated response or need some further support to ensure children and young people with SEND are making progress.

In Devon, schools can refer to the SEND and Inclusion Specialist Advisory Teams who are highly experienced teachers with additional qualifications in one or more areas of SEND.

The SEND and Inclusion Specialist Advisory Teams support schools and settings in identifying and removing barriers for children and young people with a wide range of needs. They work as part of the Multidisciplinary Team Around the Child and contribute to the creation and implementation of statutory and non-statutory plans.

The service provides specialist support, teaching and advice to schools, settings, parents and professionals for learners with SEND. They work with children and young people from birth to 19 years of age supporting their development, learning, achievement, safety and wellbeing. The teams promote inclusion; developing strategies for access to the curriculum and independent learning.

The SEND and Inclusion Specialist Advisory Teams offer support across the areas of need outlined in the Code of Practice under:

The SEND and Inclusion Specialist Advisory Teams operate a three-tiered approach to supporting the needs of learners across Devon.

Blue triangle with blue, green and pink blocks to the right hand side

Many learners’ needs are able to be met through a consultation clinic combining universal and targeted provision. Talking school staff through various practical strategies and signposting to useful resources to support their QFT teaching and planning. Typically, consultation clinics are being undertaken virtually.

Some learners will benefit from further observation and discussion within the school or classroom setting. In these cases a specialist advisory teacher will make direct contact with the school to arrange a suitable time to visit.

The SEN Support Outreach Service (SSOS)

This support is available for those learners who have identified needs at SEN Support. The child or young person will have needs that fall into the category of attachment, autism or SEMH and will be beginning to escalate with schools raising concerns around progress, access or response to provision in place or further support required to implement strategies at a universal and targeted level.

The SEND and inclusion specialist advisory teachers will determine whether allocation of this resource is appropriate on an individual case basis. Where this is identified, a specialist support assistant will work alongside existing school staff to model and develop strategies to meet the child or young person’s needs.

CPD opportunity

The SEN Support Outreach Service will be aligned with locality areas as part of the SEND Transformation and will draw capacity from the wider partnership. For schools who are interested in contributing staff to the SSOS through potential secondment opportunities please contact Jeanette.Savage@devon.gov.uk (Strategic Lead for SEND and Inclusion).

How do schools request support?

Learners needs will be best met through a robust cycle of assess, plan, do, review, as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice (2015). We are able to advise and support schools with this approach.

In order for us to triage and allocate the most appropriate support offer to you we need a certain amount of information. Please concentrate on the presenting issues. We request that you provide the following information with your request form:

  • parental consent
  • completed assessment indicator section from the graduated response tool (for the relevant area)
  • current school-based plan

Once completed the request form (and information above) should be sent to send@devon.gov.uk.

Contact will be made with the school within two weeks.

Flow chart with three down arrows in blue, green and orange with text to the right hand side

Request for access forms for primary and secondary and for early years are available to download at the top of this page – see document resources.


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