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How children get the help they need in school

What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?

Children and young people with SEND have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children and young people of the same age. These children and young people may need extra or different help from that given to others.

More information about this can be found on the What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer page (opens in new window).

All schools in Kirklees should offer a level of support for those pupils with SEND, this is called QFT or  Quality First Teaching (more information can be found on the QFT page).  When support is needed above Quality First Teaching, schools can offer SEN Support. 

Every school has a budget for providing this support, this is often called the "Notional Budget" and is a level of support that is expected to be delivered by schools for every pupil who needs it.  The level of this budget is set at £6,000, any school applying for additional funding to support a child or young person (where they apply for an EHCP) then they need to demonstrate that they have already put in support to this level.

What this means is that schools must put in additional support up to the value of £6000, this can be through additional staff, resources, as well as alternative lessons or interventions.

The Graduated Approach 

Whatever a child with SEND needs, schools should use the Graduated Approach which is often described as "assessed plan to review"This is explained more in the diagram below.

Children’s needs can be broken down into four main groups: 

  • Cognition and Learning 
  • Communication and Interaction 
  • Physical and Sensory 
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health 

Some children will have more than one sort of need. The school’s first job is to assess what sorts of needs a child or young person has. 

Kirklees have produced guidance for schools and professionals working with children with SEND regarding identifying and meeting SEND in mainstream school (click images to open the document)

NASEN have also developed a guide to SEND Support and the Graduated Approach (click image to open PDF in new window).

Have a look at the "What to do if you think your child has SEND?" page.

Talk to your child's school. They will listen and explain what they think and what will happen next.

The school’s SEND Information Report will be on the school website and will tell you who you can contact.

Schools must publish a SEND Information Report about how they put in place and their policy for pupils with SEN, and it should be available on the school's website. It should be written for parents and families and should give answers to the questions they may ask.

Schools should be involving parents/carers and young people in the development and review of their SEND Information Report which should be reviewed, updated, and amended regularly (at least every year) to show any changes in provision.

You can also get independent information, advice and support from various places.  Information about who you can speak with can be found on the Independent Information and advice page (opens in a new window)

Most children’s needs can be met by the teacher in the classroom – this is called Quality First Teaching. This is called the school’s core offer.  More information about this can be found on the Local Offer Quality First Teaching page (opens in new window).

Some children just need a bit of extra help to catch up with the other children – this does not mean that they have SEND.

When a school is worried about a child's progress, teachers should talk to parents/carers as soon as possible so that everyone understands what the child's strengths and difficulties are. The school will set individual targets for the child, do different things to help them to progress and will continue to review their progress. If the school is still concerned it might try to change what it is doing. However, it might decide that the child does have SEND because something additional and different is needed, over and above its core offer, to help them to make progress.

If the school or setting does decide that a child has SEND, then it must contact parents/carers to let them know and to discuss with them and the child what support to provide. Parents/carers will normally have already been involved in early discussions with the school, when concerns first started.

Every mainstream school must make sure that there is a teacher who is the SENDCO (special educational needs and disabilities coordinators) for the school. The main responsibilities of a SENDCO may include: 

  • co-ordinating provision for children with SEND
  • talking to the parents of pupils with SEND
  • talking to other schools where a child might be coming from or going to 
  • being a key point of contact for educational psychologists and other support services, health and social care professionals 
  • ensuring that the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEND up to date 
  • advising school staff on the graduated approach to providing SEND support 
  • working with the Headteacher and governors to develop the SEND policy and to oversee the day-to-day operation of the policy 


If a school decides that a child does have SEND, they will talk to parents/carers and the child about this and come up with a plan of what they are going to do. They will write this plan down and share it with all the child’s teachers and the parents/carers. There is no set way for schools to write these plans, most Kirklees schools use Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Additional Needs Plans (ANPs), provision maps and My Support Plans (MSPs). 

More information about these type of plans can be found on the IEP, ANP, Provision Map and My Support Plan page (opens in new window).

When a plan is written it will also be agreed when it needs to be reviewed. Any of the plans will be reviewed regularly, so that progress can be discussed along with any changes that need to be made.  The review and the changes will be written into the plan

Some money is already within school’s budget to support children with SEND as follows:

Element 1: Core Educational/School place funding (sometimes referred to as the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU))

Schools get most of their funding based on the total number of pupils in the school. Every pupil in a school attracts an amount of money and this is the core budget for each school. It is used to make general provision for all pupils in the school including pupils with SEND.

Element 2: The School's Notional SEND Budget

Within the schools’ block formula allocation there is a 'notional' budget for SEND. The amount in this budget is based on a formula which has been agreed between the schools and Kirklees. It is the responsibility of each school to make sure the 'notional SEND budget' caters sufficiently for the special educational needs of the children and young people in their school. Schools have a duty to identify, assess and make special educational provision for all children with SEND; and the council has a duty to set out what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget.

A school should use its notional SEND budget to fund up to £6,000 worth of special educational provision for a pupil with SEND (over and above the basic entitlement of all pupils including those with SEND (Element 1)), including those with EHC Plans. Not all pupils with SEND require special educational provision up to the amount of £6,000, it will depend on the individual needs of each pupil.

Element 3: High needs Block - Top Up (for those with an EHCP)

If the council decides that special educational provision for a child or young person should be made through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan then the council will give additional educational funding over and above the funding already delegated to the school (Elements 1 and 2). Top up funding is given to enable the school to make the special educational provision to meet the educational outcomes found in the EHC Plan. This is called high needs 'top up' funding. 

The Local Authority expects a school to fully use their Element 1 & 2 funding appropriately and in accordance with what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget.

Most children will have their needs very well met with SEND support. However, a small number may need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC Plan. The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet a child/young person's SEN and secure the best possible outcomes for them. When considering whether an EHC needs assessment is needed, the council will ask for evidence, including a lot of information from the school. Schools receive funding for children and young people at SEND Support (see funding below), but if they are spending more than this to meet need, they may decide to apply for an EHC Plan which may bring more funding.

Parents may also decide that their child needs and EHC Plan. They should discuss this with school first but can also contact the SENDACT team who will send them a form to fill in about their child’s needs.

Please see the How to get an EHCP Assessment and EHCP pages (opens in new window).

Last updated: 29/09/2020