Skip to main content

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service

Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Teachers take account of this in the way they organise their lessons and teach. Children making slower progress or having particular difficulties in one area may be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed. You should not assume that, because your child is making slower progress than you expected or the teachers are providing different support, help or activities in class, that your child has special educational needs.

What does Special Educational Needs mean?

The law says that a child has special educational needs if he/she finds learning significantly harder than most children of the same age, or has a disability, which makes it difficult for him/her to take a full part in Early Year’s education, School or Post 16 education (including Further Education or work based training programmes). The majority of children who have special educational needs (including learning difficulties, medical conditions and/or disabilities) can be educated successfully within their local mainstream school.

What is a statutory Education, Health and Care Assessment?

An Education, Health and Care Assessment brings together professionals from health, education and social care services through the Torbay Special Educational Needs and Disability Support Process. Professionals from health, education and social care services work in partnership with you and your child to listen, understand and plan support to enable your child to realise their full potential.

When may an Education, Health and Care assessment be carried out?

If the Early Years setting, School or Post 16 provider cannot meet your child’s needs through their own programme of support, or if your child’s needs change dramatically (e.g. for health or social reasons). For further information please refer Statutory assessments - Torbay Council

Who can request an Education, Health and Care Assessment?

The following people have a specific right to request that the local authority conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:

•  The child’s parent (or an advocate on their behalf)

•  The young person over the age of 16 (or an advocate on their behalf).

•  A person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible).

In addition, anyone else can bring a child who has (or may have) Special Educational Needs to the attention of the local authority. This could include, for example, foster carers, health and social care professionals, early years practitioners, youth offending teams or probation services, those responsible for education in custody, school or college staff or a family friend. Where possible, this should be done with the knowledge and agreement of the child’s parent or the young person.

If an Education, Health and Care Assessment is agreed for my child what will happen?

Requests for assessment are considered by a team from education, health and social care services.

If the team decide to conduct an Education, Health and Care Assessment then an SEN Officer will be appointed. This will be the person who keeps you updated on your child’s assessment. The SEN Officer will meet with you, listen and collate the information from previous assessments.

When all of the information has been gathered, those involved in the assessment stage along with yourself will propose the support needed for your child to achieve their required outcomes. This will be recorded in your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan.

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan?

The Education, Health and Care Plan will describe what outcomes we all want for your child, what support is needed to achieve these outcomes, who will provide the support and when the support will happen.

Who is involved in the process?

Your Plan Co-ordinator will be your first point of contact, responsible for overseeing the Education, Health and Care Plan and arranging reviews of your child’s plan. The Plan Co-ordinator will be a professional with whom your child has regular contact, for example a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), teacher, health visitor, social worker or school nurse.

A Plan Co-ordinator can help you organise your often busy schedule of appointments, by working with you, and the professionals to ensure your child has one clear and effective plan of support.

An SEN Officer will continue to monitor your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan.

How will reviews work?

The reviews will happen through a meeting which you will be invited to alongside all of the services and professionals involved in your child’s EHC plan. They will happen at least once a year or more frequently if your child has very complex needs or circumstances change.

•   The Education, Health and Care Plan will be reviewed annually. If still required, the plan will follow the young person until they leave education, which could be up to the age of 25.

•  There could be opportunities for you to have more choice and control over what support services you/your child receives through Personal Budgets. Your Plan Co-ordinator will be able to talk to you about this.

Where can I find out more information?

For more information please contact the Special Educational Needs team using the details below.

Privacy notices for the activities carried out by Children's Services in Torbay

Who to contact

01803 208274

Where to go

2nd floor, Electric House
c/o Torbay Council
Castle circus

Other Details

Local Offer

Making a request for an EHC needs assessment