Support at school and college

All schools in England follow the same law that explains how children with special educational needs and disabilities must be supported.

All infant, junior, primary and secondary schools have a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO).

Secondary schools may have inclusion co-ordinators and assistant SENCOs. Colleges also have staff support students with additional needs. They also have learning support departments.

SENCOs and staff who support children oversee day-to-day SEN support, which includes:

  • helping to identify special educational needs
  • communicating with staff and professionals outside the school or college
  • reporting information on the ways in which children and young people are supported.

Assessment and support

Children and young people are individuals. They make progress at different rates and learn in different ways. Your child’s school or college will let you know if they think your child has special educational needs.

They will use the Assess, Plan, Do, Review process to support your child, also known as the graduated approach.

    Help to learn

    Teachers regularly assess children's progress. They use the assessment to help them organise lessons and choose different materials and activities to give every child the best possible chance of learning.

    This is known as Quality First Teaching. Choosing different learning materials is called differentiation.

    Most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities can get the support they need from their school or college and specialist support teams, such as the Brighton and Hove Inclusion Support Service. This is known as SEN Support.

    SEN support may include:

    • a special learning programme for your child
    • extra help from a teacher or an assistant
    • making or changing learning materials, or equipment
    • observing your child in class, at break time, and keeping records
    • making sure your child understands things by encouraging them to ask questions and try something they find difficult
    • supporting your child with physical or personal care, such as eating, dressing, going to the toilet and getting around the school safely
    • input from specialist services listed below

    A small number of children may not be able to get the level of support they need from SEN support. If this happens your child may need an education, health, and care (EHC) assessment.

    Help from specialist services

    Specialist support services at school may include:

    Help on school trips

    Schools have a duty to support children with special educational needs and disabilities so that they can go on school trips, when it is safe and possible to do so.

    Help from special schools and specialist units in mainstream schools

    If your child has more complex needs, they may need to go to a special school or a mainstream school with links to a specialist school.

    Help for children who can’t go to school

    Find out about support for children who are too ill to go to school or staying in hospital.

    More information

    Read the Brighton and Hove SEND guide for professionals for more information, and view Ofsted inspection reports for schools and colleges.