Mainstream Education and young people with Education, Health and Care plans

What Research Tells Us

Most children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) go to a mainstream school or setting.  There are huge benefits for children who remain at their own school.  It is better for them:

  • socially
  • emotionally
  • academically

Mainstream schools and settings include:

  • local authority-maintained schools
  • nurseries
  • academies that are not special schools
  • alternative provision settings
  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

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Dame Rachel de Souza the Children’s Commissioner for England wrote:

“School is the right place for children to be. They are safe and fun places where they can get a great education, unlocking the doors to their future, and access enriching opportunities and make lasting friendships. School is absolutely central to children’s lives”.

Evidence suggests that children who miss periods of schooling can find it harder to catch up.  They miss:

  • having the chance to learn
  • being around their friends and socialising

What the Children and Families Act 2014 says

Under section 66 of the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools must do everything they can to meet a child or young person’s SEND.

What extra support in school is available for my child?

Sheffield City Council have teams to support pupils with SEND in Mainstream schools and settings.  The details of those teams are included further down on this page. They help families to feel happy with the provision on offer so a child reaches their full potential.

Mainstream schools and settings provide extra help for children with SEND through a system called SEND support.  This makes sure that provision and support is in place and reviewed regularly for those with an EHCP.

The SEND Code of Practice (section 6.27) suggests four broad areas of need which schools and settings should plan for.  They should have a clear plan in place of how to support:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Social, emotional, and mental health difficulties
  • Cognition and learning
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

The role of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

It is the responsibility of the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at the school or setting to arrange extra support for those who need it. The SENCO will work with teachers and staff to make sure that their setting is accessible for all children and young people.  This means so children and young people can go to school and into their classroom.

The SENCO should give you clear information about the extra help your child is getting.

The SENCO must keep a record of the support a child receives and their progress. This will include the Annual Review process.  This covers the whole year and arranging the meeting at the end of the year. (The year is from the date of the EHC Plan).

You can find out more about what a SENCO is and does by clicking here.

SEND Information in schools

Schools and settings must publish information about how they support children with SEND. They must also have a policy that tells you how they are included in activities.

If you have any questions for the school or setting about how they will meet your child’s needs, you can speak with:

  • the SENCO
  • class teacher
  • staff members
  • setting leaders

Areas to think about for your child’s strengths and needs

Talking about Preparation for Adulthood (PFA) is a must for children with EHCPs from Year 9. In the SEND Code of Practice, it advises to talk about Preparation for Adulthood from as early as possible.  This means right from the Early Years.

The PFA conversation helps us to think about children in all areas of their life so they can live their best lives.

The 4 areas covered in Preparation for Adulthood are:

  • What does your child want to be when they’re older?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What support might they need?
  • How can your child engage with their community, at home, in school?
  • Do they have, or do they want friends?
  • How can they best access their community in the local area?
  • Are there groups they could join?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What would help them?
  • How independent can your child be – are they able to let someone know if they need help?
  • Can they go to the toilet on their own?
  • Can they play independently?
  • Have they got self-help skills?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What would help them?
  • Has your child got access to the right health support?
  • Do they have a healthy lifestyle?
  • Do they need specialist help with their health?
  • What would help them?

What if I have questions about my child’s support?

It’s a good idea to ask for a meeting with the class teacher, setting leader, form tutor or SENCo for next steps.  This is for how the setting or school are planning on meeting your child’s SEND at their setting.

Look at the school/setting policies on SEN, equality, and behaviour.  This is to see how the school supports children with SEND.

Collect your own evidence to show your child’s strengths and barriers. The preparation for adulthood questions can help with this.

Things to consider before a meeting

  • Is Section F in place for my child? This is the part on the EHCP that says what needs to be in place for your child in school.  Is it helping them?
  • What ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ are in place daily and consistently for your child? These are changes in school that allow for a child to access their learning.  For example a safe space to go, changes in curriculum, additional adult support.
  • Does your child get extra help from a teacher or another adult?
    • What do they help them with? 
    • Is the help in a group or individually?
    • Is it every day?
    • How long is that for?
  • What makes your child happy? What are they interested in? What are their future goals and aims?
  • How are school helping your child reach their future goals and aims?
  • How do school measure your child’s progress? Is he/she making the progress you would expect?
  • Has your child had their voice heard…what is she/he saying they like/dislike about school?

Annual Review Process

An Annual Review is a statutory process that reviews your child’s EHCP at least once per year. 

At this meeting key professionals will all attend to make sure the information on the EHCP is correct.  This is your time to raise any concerns and worries you may have.  This information will be recorded.

Where do I go for support?

In Sheffield City Council, there are Education Services that are there to support your child to thrive at a mainstream setting.  Click on the links below to find out more about each service.  Here you will also find their contact details.

Autism Social Communication Team

Educational Psychology Service

0-5 SEND Service

Service for Deaf and Hearing Impaired

Vision Support Service

Inclusion and Attendance Team

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Sheffield transition principles to support children and young people

You can read the Sheffield transition principles by clicking here.