Every child and young person has the right to an effective education. Every local authority has a legal duty to ensure that each child fulfils his or her educational potential and the authority must be a champion for the best interests of the pupil.
They need to listen to the concerns and interests of parents and carers and the local authorities must monitor the performance of maintained schools in its area and ensure that where improvements are necessary, these are carried out efficiently.
The information in this section is around other aspects of education that you may have to deal with at some point of your child or young persons educational journey. To see more information about how Torbay are responding to these duties, take a look at the local offer
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
If you have a child with SEND, you may find that it affects their ability to learn and may have an impact on their:
- Behaviour or their ability to socialise, meaning they might struggle to make friends
- Reading and writing, in some cases meaning dyslexia
- Ability to understand things clearly
- Concentration levels, in some cases your child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Physical needs or impairments and are entitled to support within school
Children with SEND are entitled to support within their school to help meet their individual needs. All schools provide planning, teaching and assessment which takes into account the wide range of abilities and interests of their children.
Most children’s needs will be met by the support from their school, whilst other children may need more specific support.
To find out how your child’s school supports pupils with SEND, look at the school website or contact the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at the school.
In September 2014, changes were made to the Children and Families Act. A single category called “SEN Support” replaced School Action and School Action Plus in mainstream schools.
The Code of Practice is statutory guidance for organisations that work with and support children and young people with SEND. By law, the SEND Code of Practice: 0 – 25 must be issued and this guidance must not be ignored. There is also a Special Educational Needs and Disability Guide for Parents/Carers Code of Practice available.
The ‘basic’ school curriculum includes the ‘national curriculum’, as well as religious education and sex education. The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so that all children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the attainment targets that children should reach in each subject at each age. Other types of school like academies and private schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum including English, maths and science as well as religious education. The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, your child’s teacher will formally assess their performance to measure your child’s progress.
|Key stage (KS)
|3 to 4
|Early Years (EY)
|4 to 5
|5 to 6
|6 to 7
|7 to 8
|8 to 9
|9 to 10
|10 to 11
|11 to 12
|12 to 13
|13 to 14
|14 to 15
|15 to 16
Pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to free school transport if they live beyond the statutory walking distance and attend the school designated by the County Council to serve the child’s home address. Free school transport is not an automatic entitlement for children who attend special schools or have SEND. The normal entitlement criteria would still apply. In some cases, where transport is provided for children with special needs, the type of transport will be in line with the recommendations made by the professionals involved in placing the child. Transport will also be provided (where requested) if pupils are registered at a school that is not the designated school but which is the nearest to their home. In this case, the school must be beyond the walking distance and suited to the age, ability and aptitude of the child. Parents must arrange for their children to travel in safety between their home and the transport picking-up and setting-down points. Parents are also responsible for their children while they are waiting for transport and when they leave the transport at the end of the day.
Exclusion from school means that a pupil is not allowed in school for disciplinary reasons. The exclusion can be either a temporary fixed period exclusion or a permanent exclusion. Either way, a child being excluded from school can be both stressful and emotional for the parents, as well as for the child. Only a head teacher (or deputy head if the head teacher is off site) can exclude a child. If your child is excluded, it is important that you have the right information and support and that you ask the right questions about options for the future. Exclusions can take the form of;
- Fixed term (an exclusion for a set number of days)
- Permanent (your child is asked not to return to school)
- Unofficial (an illegal exclusion without an exclusion letter)
- Lunchtime (an exclusion for a set number of lunchtimes – these should be recorded as half day exclusions)
A pupil may be excluded from school for one short period of time, several fixed periods (up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year), or permanently. A fixed period exclusion does not have to be for a continuous period. In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a fixed period exclusion may be extended or converted to a permanent exclusion.
Any admission to a mainstream school, whether your child has SEND or not, will go through the normal route via the local authority in which you live. If you live in Torbay then you need to contact Torbay school admissions.
An EHC plan is an Education, Health and Care plan, a single action plan that incorporates a child’s education, health and care needs.
From September 2014, EHC plans replaced the previous provision plans for children with SEND, known as Statements. Any requests for statutory assessment will now be actioned under the new legal framework.
A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs and prepare an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person through an EHC plan. This is likely to be where the special educational provision required to meet the child or young person’s needs cannot reasonably be provided from within the resources normally available to mainstream early years providers, schools and post 16 institutions. This statutory assessment should not be the first step in the process; rather it should follow on from planning already undertaken with parents and young people in conjunction with an early years provider, school, post-16 institution or other provider.
EHC plans must be focused on the outcomes the child or young person seeks to achieve across education, health and care. EHC plans must set out how services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and in support of those outcomes. EHC plans will be based on a co-ordinated assessment and planning process which puts the child and young person and their parents at the centre of decision making
Transfer from Statement to EHC Plan
Statements of SEN will remain in force until the transition to an EHC plan has been completed. Part IV and Schedule 27 of the Education Act 1996, relevant regulations and the 2001 SEN Code of Practice will continue to apply until the end of the process.
Transition requires, as a matter of law, an EHC needs assessment to take place under the new legal framework before the LA either finalises the EHC plan or makes a decision not to issue a plan. As the legal tests for a plan is at least the same, if not wider, than the test for a statement, decisions not to issue a plan should be happening in a minority of cases where the child or young person’s needs have changed.
Coming to an agreement
When other people are involved in the process of making decisions about the future of your child, there may be times that you might disagree with some of the decisions or be unhappy about some of the choices that have been made on your child’s behalf. The first step to resolving any disagreement is to talk to the other party, explain your concerns and see if you can come to an agreement that suits you better. If after a meeting, your concerns have not been resolved, you may want to consider other ways forward to resolve the situation. Methods include disagreement resolution, mediation, an appeal to the SEND tribunal or a complaint.