How is support co-ordinated for children and young people with SEND?

Most children with special educational needs do not need a statutory assessment.  Their needs are identified and the right provision is made by the school.

In County Durham, head teachers in mainstream schools and staff in colleges have been asked to produce a SEN Support Plan that gives guaranteed levels of support.  This is part of the arrangements that nurseries, schools and colleges should be making to ensure that any child’s needs are identified and that the right provision is made.  This is called The Graduated Approach to SEND.

The SEN Support Plan should be developed with parents and the child and this should help to re-assure you that the school is providing the right level of support. Some children with significant learning difficulties might need an Education, Health and Care assessment.

This assessment could lead to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, which is a legal document. This means that the local authority must ensure that the support that is included in the plan is in place for your child. The plan will be reviewed at least once per year.

It also means that the people who support your child must provide the services identified in the plan.  If these things do not happen you can make a complaint.
Both the SEN Support Plan and the EHC Plan, will include a personal profile of your child, a description of their needs, information about the support they need to succeed and achieve and a list of the people who support them.

If your child receives an EHC Plan, you will be sent a list of the schools that are suitable for children with special educational needs.  This will include details of mainstream and special schools in the area. You will also receive a list of all ‘non-maintained’ special schools and independent special schools.

Can I ask for a place at a particular school?

You have a right to say which education setting you would like your child to attend, either mainstream or special. This can be the setting they already go to. The local authority must agree with your preference as long as:

  • The school you choose is suitable for your child’s age, ability, skills and SEN;
  • Your child’s presence will not have an effect on the education of other children already at the school; and
  • Placing your child in the school will be an efficient use of the authority’s resources.

All of the mainstream schools in County Durham are able to support children with special educational needs and you can ask to see their policies or local offer information so that you know what they provide.

Some mainstream schools also have enhanced provision for children with particular difficulties. There are also ten special schools that meet the needs of pupils with the most severe and complex special educational needs. These are listed on our provision for children with special education needs page.

Deciding which school you would like your child to go to is an important matter.  If you need any help, information or advice about which schools will be able to meet your child’s needs you can contact the SEND, Looked After and Vulnerable Groups Casework Team or the County Durham Special Educational Needs Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

When the draft EHC plan is issued, you will have 15 days to tell the SEN Casework Team which school you would like your child to attend.  If you need more time than this, or would like to discuss it, you can contact the SEN Casework Team and they will try and accommodate your request.

We have to consult the school before naming it in your child’s EHC plan, but the authority will make the final decision. You will be fully informed about this and we will explain our decision to you.

You will receive a final copy of your child’s EHC plan, containing the name of the school, within 20 weeks of us receiving the assessment request.


Durham County Council's Families Information Service does not promote nor endorse the services advertised on this website. Anyone seeking to use/access such services does so at their own risk and may make all appropriate enquiries about fitness for purpose and suitability to meet their needs.
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