Topic of the month: SEND meetings

Article source: The Adopt South West Co-Production Group and FASD South West

Our topic of the month for October shines a spotlight on Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) meetings, as we know this is something that is very current for many families.

  1. What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?
  2. Is your School providing regular SEND meetings through the 4 part cycle?
  3. Why do you need them?
  4. How do I request a SEND meeting?
  5. What can nurseries do to meet the needs of children aged 0-5 with SEN?


  1. What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

Section 20 Children and Families Act 2014 defines a child as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) if he or she “has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special education provision to be made for him or her”.

A child is considered to have a learning difficulty if she or he:

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post 16 institutions.

In the Equality Act 2010  a person is classed as disabled if they:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
  1. Is your school providing regular SEND meetings through the 4 part cycle?

Support for adopted children should be provided through a continuously repeated 4-part cycle known as the ‘graduated approach’, revisiting and reappraising the support, and concentrating on what works best for your child.

In this way, the support should become more refined and specialised over time, to ensure that your child continues to make good progress at school and that the desired outcomes are reached.

Every school is required to have systems in place to identify children who are in need of support and to ‘assess’ (part 1), ‘plan’ (part 2), ‘do’; secure appropriate support for any SEN they may have (part 3); review (part 4).

Paragraph 6.2 of the Special educational needs and disability code of practice (0 to 25 years):

“Each school must:

  1. use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – what this means is doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN;
  2. ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN;
  3. designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision – the SEN co-ordinator, or ‘SENCO’ (not applicable to 16 to 19 academies);
  4. inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child;
  5. prepare SEN information report and setting out:
  6. their arrangements for the admission of disabled children;
  7. the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others;
  8. the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children; and
  9. their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time.
  10. Schools are also required to involve parents in the process (a termly SEND review meeting that is minuted is good practice, the Dept for Ed states min 3 times a year )


Schools are provided with additional money to provide support for children with SEN, this is called their ‘delegated budget’. Each child with SEN is entitled to receive up to £6,000 funding from their school per year; this is before an EHCP is granted.

School would apply for an EHCP if they predict that they will go over that budget to support need.

  1. Why do you need a 4 part process?

You will need the evidence of the ‘Access’, ‘Plan’, ‘Do’ & ‘Review’ evidence to support the EHCP application.

The 4-part cycle is as follows:

  1. Assess

This is when a child’s class or subject teacher along with the school’s SENCO work together to carry out a clear analysis of a child’s needs. This assessment process should not just involve the school themselves, the views of parents should also be sought and where appropriate the views of the child or young person. Where outside professionals are also involved with the child or young person, for example Children’s Services, Adoption Support or health professionals, it may also be appropriate to seek their views. This assessment should be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that the support being provided to a child continues to be effective and best matched to the child’s needs.

  1. Plan

Where a school does decide to put in place Additional SEN support for a child, the parents should be formally notified of this. The child’s teachers and the school’s SENCO should then, in consultation with the parents and the pupil if appropriate, agree on the following:

  • the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place;
  • the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour;
  • the desired outcomes for the child; and
  • a clear date for review

All teachers and support staff that work with your child should be made aware of their needs and of the above plan, so they can make sure the ‘Plan’ is correctly implemented. The ‘Plan’ should also be placed on the child’s school record and should be accessible by parents.

  1. Do

The child’s class teacher still remains responsible for working with the child on a day-to-day basis; this remains the case even if the support offered includes group or one to one teaching away from the child’s main class. This should all be done whilst working closely with any support or specialist staff involved.

The SENCO should remain closely involved in supporting the child’s class teacher, both in terms of continuing to assess the child’s progress and needs and ensuring the planned support is being implemented properly.

  1. Review

The success and effectiveness of the support provided should be reviewed on a regular basis and in line with the date agreed in the ‘Plan’ stage. During this ‘Review’ stage, the impact and quality of the support in place should be evaluated and the views of the parents and child should again be sought.

This review process should feed back to Part 1 of the cycle – the needs should again be assessed and the cycle should flow through again, with any changes needed to the support provided being implemented.

The Department for Education recommends that reviews with parents should take place at least 3 times a year.

  1. How do I request a SEND Meeting?

Ask your child’s Teacher or School Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) to arrange one; you may like to take someone with you who can support you. This meeting will often involve the Class Teacher, the Teaching Assistant and sometimes the Headteacher. If there are specific areas of concern this meeting could also involve the Virtual School Headteacher, the Designated Teacher and Post Adoption Support.

  1. What can nurseries do to meet the needs of children aged 0-5 with SEN?

All state maintained nurseries must use best endeavours to ensure that the SEN of children attending the nursery are identified and met as quickly as possible. The nursery should have a detailed SEN policy about the support available, they will have a SENCo who you can arrange to speak to. Refer to good practice in the Foundation Stage link below.

Source and further reading

Good Practice Graduated Response Foundation Stage:

SEND Child law; This page provides information on the duties of schools and local authorities to assess, identify and provide for a child’s SEN within school: