What to expect from SEND Support

SEND support is the first level of extra support provided by:

  • mainstream schools
  • colleges
  • early years settings

It is for learners who have special educational needs but not an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).

SEND Support is delivered through a four-part cycle.  You may hear this called the “graduated approach”. This means that the school will:

  • assess your child’s needs,
  • plan the support they need,
  • do the work,
  • review whether it has made a difference.

With each cycle, the school should gain a better understanding of your child’s needs.  They can refine the provision they put in place.  The school should work to how your child learns.  Where it is decided to give SEND support to a child or young person, the parents must be told.


You can see flowcharts in the links and documents section of this page.  This is on the right-hand side of this page if you are on a computer or tablet.  On a mobile phone these will show at the bottom. These explain SEND support and the assess, plan, do and review process. Information in alternative languages is also provided.

Students getting SEND support

In school, students on SEND support will have a K code logged on their records.  This K code is logged so that schools and the Local Authority know which students are getting SEND support.  This means they should have a plan with specific outcomes to work on.  This will be reviewed 3 times a year.

Read more about each section of the assess, plan, do and review cycle below.

The class or subject teacher, working with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator), looks at your child’s needs.

If the school feel that it would be helpful to refer a child to an external professional, such as an Educational Psychologist or a Speech and Language Therapist, they must ask for parents' permission first. Afterwards, you and your family should be given a note of what was discussed or agreed with the professional.

If a child is on the waiting list for an assessment, the school should not delay putting support in place. This can always be changed following a diagnosis and/or advice from professionals.

If your child has recently had an assessment or a diagnosis from an NHS service (e.g. the Neurodisability Service), it is important that you share this information with the SENCO. Parents sometimes think that the school will be notified automatically – this is not always the case.

The school will use the Sheffield Support Grid (SSGe).  This helps them make decisions about your child’s package of support. They should tell you at which level(s) your child has been placed on the grid.  They should talk you through the package of support they will receive. They should use the advice from the assessment stage to do this.

You and your family should be given written information about your child’s SEND.  This should include:

  • the outcomes they are working towards
  • the support that is being provided.

This is likely to start with a Learner profile/single page profile and SEND Support Plan. This may progress to an Extended Support Plan dependent on your child's needs. The plan should be developed together with you and your child.

Learner Profile

A Learner Profile/single page profile is a good way of sharing key information about a child/young person.  This helps other people, such as teachers, childminders or support staff. It tells people on a single sheet of A4:

  • what their strengths are
  • what is important to them
  • how they can best be supported.

It helps to make sure that the child/young person’s voice is at the centre of everything.

Schools are expected to use learner profiles for most pupils with SEND. For those with lower-level needs, this will be a standalone document. For those with higher-level needs, the learner profile should form part of a bigger plan.

Preparing a learner profile should be a joint effort.  This should be with the pupil, parents and school staff all playing an equal part. Learner profiles should be kept under review and may need to be updated on a termly basis.

Each school will have their own version of a learner profile. They all do the same job and include similar information. The main purpose is to share relevent information.   This is so that adults working with your child/young person know what adaptations are needed.  It helps your child/young person access their learning.

SEND Support Plan

A SEND Support Plan is used when a child has been identified as having SEND and is placed on the SEND register (K code). The support plan shows:

  • annual outcomes
  • the steps the child will work through to achieve these.
  • the provision that will be put in place to help a child/young person achieve the outcomes.

Many schools have developed their own versions of this tool.

Reviews should take place on a termly basis. Some schools and local authorities call a SEND Support Plan:

  • an Individual Education Plan (IEP), or
  • Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP)

They should do the same thing as a SEND Support Plan.

Extended Support Plans

Schools are expected to use an Extended Support Plan where:

  • there is a need for co-ordination of provision because a child has long-term needs
  • requires support from a range of services.

In most cases before starting a extended support plan, a SEND support plan should be in place.  This follows the graduated response.

The Extended Support Plan is a document that is replacing the My Plan in Sheffield schools. The aims of the Extended Support Plan are the same as the My Plan.  As a document it allows us to:

  • build a much broader view of the child/young person
  • consider outcomes and actions to meet their aspirations.

The Extended Support Plan covers the four key areas of preparation for adulthood.  These are:

  • education, employment and training
  • health
  • community inclusion
  • independence

It includes questions to help capture the voice of the young person and their family.  It is a place to record a child’s/young person’s educational, health and social care strengths and needs. Unlike an Education Health and Care Plan an Extended Support Plan is non-statutory.  This means it does not have any legal rights.

The Extended Support Plan should gradually build to provide a full record of needs and support. School, parents and professionals all working together should develop this.

The Extended Support Plan should be reviewed at least three times per year. External professionals involved with a child/young person or their family should contribute to some of these reviews.  This could be either be by attending or providing reports. The Learner Profile and SEND Support Plan are built into the Extended Support Plan.  This is so there is good planning and review of provision.

The SENCO should make sure that everyone who works with the pupil understands the Extended Support Plan.  This is so they can put in place the agreed provision.

SEND Support can take many forms, for example:

  • Adjustments to the school environment. This could be:
    • creating a quiet base for a child to access when they feel overwhelmed
    • installing safety catches on doors
  • Changes to the way a child is taught. For example small-group work or a special learning programme
  • Reasonable adjustments and exemptions from school policies. This could be:
    • not giving a child homework
    • a child not having to do certain subjects or topics
    • some specific relaxation of school rules. For example, around wearing school uniforms
  • Help with personal care. For example, dressing, toileting or eating
  • Support at break times. For example a “circle of friends”, a library pass, or access to a staffed base

Training, advice and support for school staff who work with a child

The responsibility for progress in all pupils lies with their class/subject teacher.  This includes those with SEND.  This applies even if a pupil is getting support from a teaching assistant or external professional outside the classroom.

It is important that all teachers and support staff who work with a child are made aware of their:

  • Needs
  • Outcomes
  • The supporting and teaching strategies

The school should meet with you at least three times a year.  This is to review your child's progress and decide whether the support has been effective. These “SEND review meetings” should be led by the SENCO and supported by the class teacher or form tutor.  They should be longer than most parent-teacher meetings. You should get a written summary of the outcomes, actions and support agreed at these meetings.

If a child has not responded to the help they were given, the review should decide what to do next. This may include:

  • extra assessments
  • more help
  • different help

If a child/young person has needs that requires provision over and above what is available in mainstream schools, it may be decided to apply for an EHCP. EHCP stands for Education, Health and Care Plan. An EHCP shows the child/young person’s:

  • strengths
  • needs
  • provision needed to meet their needs.

An EHCP is a legal document.  This means that the Local Authority and schools must put in place what is written in the EHCP.  Find out more about EHCPs.

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