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When exploring new jobs and specific roles, it is important to know everything about it to decide if it is the one for you. Or if you simply want to learn more about the topic then read on! Here's everything you need to know about Special Educational Needs.

What is SEN?

SEN stands for Special Educational Needs. These specific needs can impact a child's ability to learn and socialise in specific settings.

These needs may include:

  • Behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • Reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • Ability to understand things
  • Concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • Physical ability

What is a SEN school?

SEN schools provide education for children with special needs or disabilities which some mainstream schools may fail to meet certain support these students need. Students at special schools were enrolled there after parents or carers agreed or requested for placement in this setting.

As an SEN Teacher, Teaching Assistant or Learning Support, you will most likely be working at a special school, although there are opportunities at mainstream primary and secondary schools all across the UK. These roles require specialist training, experience and qualities as you are in a position of high responsibility, with children requiring more support and hands on looking after. Read one of our previous blogs to find out more about the role!

What is SEN support?

SEN Support is what schools and similar settings use to find and meet the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN). Outside the special school setting, mainstream schools have a duty to provide access to support and identify children who need extra help. SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015 involves providing support in:

  • Communication and interaction;
  • Cognition and learning;
  • Social, emotional and mental health;
  • Sensory and/or physical needs.

The expectation is that schools will plan how to deal with each of these areas of need, and ensure that their staff have relevant training and are equipped to respond.

The school should use a graduated approach following the cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review:

Assess: The class teacher or subject teacher (working with the SENCO) is responsible for carrying out a clear analysis of a pupil’s needs, drawing on teacher assessments and experience of the pupil.

Plan: Where it is decided to provide a pupil with SEN Support, the parents must be notified. All teachers and support staff who work with a pupil should be made aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies that are required.

Do: The planned interventions should then be put into place. The class or subject teacher should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved and the SENCO should support the class or subject teacher.

Review: Reviews should take place and inform feedback into the analysis of the child’s needs. The Code is not prescriptive about how often reviews should take place, but given the Code suggests schools should meet with parents three times a year, good practice would indicate that such reviews will be at least termly. The decision to involve specialists can be taken at any time and should always involve parents