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Education for children with Special Educational Needs

Children with Special Educational Needs may need extra help because of a range of needs, such as in thinking and understanding, physical or sensory difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to and behave with other people.

Many children will have Special Educational Needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily, but a few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.  In Peterborough we have 67 primary and secondary schools, and a further 10 special schools or pupil referral units.  

What does the term special educational needs mean?

Children engaging in craft at school

A child of compulsory school age or young person will have special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means that they:

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

This definition is set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0-25 years (2015). You can find out more about the SEND Code by going to the GOV.UK website.

SEN can be characterised by a range of needs and difficulties, children and young people with SEN may have problems with;

  • physical or mental impairments
  • concentration levels
  • ability to read or write
  • behaviour or ability to socialise
  • ability to understand things

Specialist Hubs

School children eating their lunch at school

To keep improving the expertise available to our children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in all education settings in the Peterborough area, we have established a growing network of specialist hubs.

A guide to the Peterborough hub network can be seen on this page.

The purpose of the hubs is to help raise the quality of support for all children with SEND in all schools in the Peterborough area. Each hub is a commissioned service arising from a partnership between the City Council and the host school / academy, with senior staff from each organisation working together. 

You can view the map of special schools and hubs in Peterborough on this page.

Each hub has a designated type of SEND, eg Autism or Physical Disability.  A centre of expertise might support a local school by:

  • Offering specialist resources and training;
  • Modelling high quality support in mainstream classrooms;
  • Providing telephone helpline and/or drop in sessions.

There are a limited number of places in the hubs for children and young people with particular types of SEND to be directly supported by the school / hub. These places are allocated by the SEND Panel as part of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment process. For full details please see the Assessment and EHC Plan page of the Local Offer.

What can I expect from a school or educational setting?

Every school is required to identify and meet the learning needs of every child in their school, including those learners identified as having a special educational need or those with a disability.

At school, most children will make progress with the support of their class
teacher through the school’s arrangements known as SEN Support.  School
governing bodies are required to publish detailed information about their
arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN.
This must be school-specific and describe a school’s arrangements for providing a graduated response to children’s SEN.

For the small number of children with complex/severe needs who do not make enough progress despite intervention from the school, it may be necessary for a statutory assessment of the child’s special educational needs to be undertaken by the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS).

‘Mainstream schools’ are maintained schools and academies (that are not special schools); maintained nursery schools, 16 to 19 year old academies and Pupil Referral Units.

Mainstream schools must:

  • Use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s special educational needs
  • Ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • Designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision (the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCo)
  • Inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • Prepare an SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time

Admissions Guidance for Peterborough Special Schools

Children at school

Peterborough special schools provide appropriate placements for children and young people with the most significant needs and who require a curriculum which is wrapped around them so that they can engage in learning.

There are overlaps between the provision of services in some of the Peterborough special schools to enable the right of parents to express a choice for a type of school (including a mainstream school).

Peterborough recognises the 'presumption' of mainstream outlined in the Code of Practice. However, for some children and young people the combination of their needs and current context suggests the appropriateness of a special school placement.

The Local Authority is responsible for the decision to place a child or young person in a special school.  A provision panel with a multi-professional membership considers individual children or young people with a statement or Education Health and Care Plan where a special school placement is requested and advises the Local Authority.

Children and young people who are successful in a specialist setting may return to a mainstream setting at any time, following appropriate review of their statement of SEN/EHCP.  However it is especially important to consider mainstream options at times of transition, e.g. transfer between primary and secondary phases.

Detailed guidance for making the decision about whether a child or young person would be appropriately placed in a particular special school is available to download

SEN Information Report

Schools are required to produce a SEN Information Report every year.  The report
must include:

  • the kinds of SEN that are provided for
  • policies for identifying children and young people with SEN and assessing their needs, including the name and contact details of the SENCO (in mainstream schools)
  • arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education
  • arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education
  • arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes. This should include the opportunities available to work with parents and young people as part of this assessment and review
  • arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood. As young people prepare for adulthood, outcomes should reflect their ambitions, which could include higher education, employment, independent living and participation in society
  • the approach to teaching children and young people with SEN
  • how adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN
  • the expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN, including how specialist expertise will be accessed
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN
  • how children and young people with SEN are enabled to engage in activities available with children and young people in the school who do not have SEN
    support for improving emotional and social development. This should include extra pastoral support arrangements for listening to the views of children and young people with SEN and measures to prevent bullying
  • how the school involves other bodies, including health and social care, local authority support services and voluntary sector organisations, in meeting children and young people’s SEN and supporting their families
  • arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school

It should also include arrangements for supporting children and young people who are looked after by the local authority and have SEN.

Funding for SEN

Funding for SEN

Arrangements for funding educational provision for pupils and students with high needs were introduced in 2013 for maintained schools and academies. Funding for all high needs pupils in mainstream schools and academies is broken down into 3 main elements.

Element 1 - the basic entitlement

This is the basic amount funded to the school for each pupil and varies between primary and secondary schools.

Element 2 - additional need funding

Part of the overall school budget is classified as the notional Special Educational Needs budget. It is from this budget that mainstream schools and academies are required to put in place support for all children with SEN and to contribute the first £6,000 (equivalent to approximately 11.8 hours teaching assistant time per week).

Element 3 - top up funding

Where the cost of additional support is more than £6,000, the council will provide funding from their high needs block. The level of need is agreed by the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities panel and funding is provided to the school for that pupil.

Although academies receive their main funding directly from the Education Funding Agency, the top-up funding (element 3) is still the responsibility of the council.

Defining high needs

Children and young people with high needs are those who need educational provision that costs more in total, including the provision given to all pupils, than about £10,000 per year. This threshold defines the level of need that would be expected to be met through mainstream funding and those for whom additional funding is required.

Post-16 students with special educational needs

Like academies, all post-16 providers receive their main funding directly from the Education Funding Agency. However, the funding for students with special educational needs follows the same principles as for mainstream schools and academies.

They will receive:

Element 1 – core funding for each student calculated by a national 16 to 19 funding system
Element 2 – an allocation of up to £6,000 to support identified students with special educational needs based on agreed numbers
Element 3 – top-up funding from the council to meet the agreed needs of individual pupils placed with them who require additional support.

This funding applies to:

  • Mainstream school sixth forms
  • Sixth form colleges
  • Post-16 in special schools
  • Colleges of further education
  • Specialist colleges
  • Other providers such as training providers
  • Out of area post-16 providers

Independent Special Schools and Colleges

The Government produces a list each term of the approved independent special institutions who have specific duties to work with the council in relation to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

SEN Home to School Transport

Girl in wheelchair in school library

Travel assistance is not automatically given because a child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, and many children with special educational needs and disabilities travel to school without special provision.

However, some children with specific needs will require additional support, often for an agreed period of time and in such cases we will arrange transport to meet the specific needs of the students.  This might include various forms of transport including public transport, taxi, minibus, wheelchair accessible vehicle and bus/coach. 

See our school transport page for more information.


Youth Custody

Professionals at a desk discussing a report

The Local Authority (LA) will promote the fulfilment of detained young people's learning potential whilst they are in custody and on their release.  The LA will use the EHC plan to actively monitor progress towards outcomes.  The LA and Youth Offending Service will prepare for release of the young person by reviewing their educational progress and their continuing special educational and health needs.

The LA will keep the EHC plan while the detained young person is in custody and will review it as soon as possible on release.

Support will be available to young people who are being released from custody. On the day of release from custody, they will report to the Youth Offending Service office, where their educational needs will be reviewed, linking to any agreement made whilst the young person was serving a custodial sentence and ensuring agreed provisions are in place.

Support to engage with provision being offered will be given by either the Youth Offending Service case manager or the Youth Offending Service Education, Training and Employment Officer or both to maximise the young person’s opportunity and ability to engage with the education, training or employment provision offered. The level of support provided will depend on the young person’s assessed needs and wishes.

Complaints and Mediation

If parents or young people are unhappy about certain decisions made by the Local
Authority, they have a right to appeal. This would include the following areas:

  • not carrying out an EHC needs assessment
  • not issuing an EHC plan
  • content of a final or amended EHC plan
  • decision not to amend an EHC plan
  • cease an EHC plan
  • placement named in a plan

Educational Psychology Service

Thought bubble drawn on a blackboard with a lightbulb in the thought bubble

The Educational Psychology Service is for children and young people aged 0 to 25. All of the Educational Psychologists (EPs) we employ are registered with the Health Care Professions Council and have specialist training and qualifications in Child Development, Psychology and Education.

You can see more on our Educational Psychology Service page

Alternative Provision Census

The Alternative Provision Census is a statutory return that Local Authorities are required to send to the Department for Education on an annual basis.

The census covers pupils attending a school not maintained by an local authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees, or educated otherwise than in schools and pupil referral units, under arrangements made (and funded) by the authority.

You can view the Alternative Provision Privacy Notice and the Education Privacy Notice on this page.

SEND Resources and Training

Professionals around a desk

The SEND Resources and Training page hosts a collection of resources, newsletters and training opportunities. 

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