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What are Reasonable Adjustments?

Introduction

Reasonable adjustments are positive steps educational settings must take to enable a disabled pupil to participate in nursery, school or college life. The term ‘reasonable adjustment’ applies specifically to changes made to support children with a disability, but it is often used generally and applied to all children with SEND.

The SEND Code of Practice defines reasonable adjustments as:

‘All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage. These duties are anticipatory – they require thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage. Schools also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations.’

Types of reasonable adjustment include:

  • Adjustments about the way in which school operates such as flexibility around timings or school uniforms
  • Any help or support for a pupil that supports them to access the curriculum
  • Adjustments to the physical features or layout of a building.

What is considered ‘reasonable’?

Sendandyou.org.uk says settings should consider:

  • How much difference the adjustment would make to the pupil
  • How practical the adjustment is
  • The cost implication
  • The resources available
  • What funding is available
  • Health and safety implications
  • How the adjustment might affect other pupils

Examples of Reasonable Adjustments in School

There are many adjustments that schools can make, here are just a few examples:-

To support a pupil with learning needs:

  • Printing resources on dyslexia friendly paper and font
  • Printing out lesson notes or Powerpoint slides
  • Use of laptop to record information instead of writing

To support a pupil with sensory needs and/or autism:

  • Access to ear defenders
  • Late entry and early exit to school
  • Access to busy areas of school at a quieter time – lunch hall, cloak room
  • Designated quiet space/area available and agreed routine in place to access it
  • Regular movement breaks

To support a pupil with communication needs:

  • Allowing extra processing time
  • Breaking down instructions into small chunks
  • Visual timetables or task boards

To support a pupil with vision or hearing needs:

  • Placement at front of class
  • Additional resources such as radio aid, brailler

To support a pupil with medical or health needs:

  • Flexibility around school uniform for pupils with fine motor difficulties
  • Toilet pass
  • Able to sit on chair instead of on the carpet
  • Use of lift instead of stairs

What can I do if I think my child requires a reasonable adjustment in school?

If your child has SEND and needs reasonable adjustments in school you can:

  • Speak to the school SENCO: discuss your child’s needs and the reasonable adjustment that you think would help. If you have other professionals involved they may liaise with the school or produce documents or plans that detail what reasonable adjustments should be made and why.
  • Speak to other professionals: such as nurses, educational psychologists who are involved with your child if you think a reasonable adjustment might help.

Who can I speak to if school is not making reasonable adjustments for my child?

In the first instance you should speak to the school SENCO and/or Head Teacher. It may be that it is not practical or possible to make a particular reasonable adjustment due to the layout of the building for example, or availability of funding.

If you still feel school should be making a reasonable adjustment for your child, contact Leeds SENSAP to discuss your concerns.

Additional support from Leeds MENCAP

Speak to other parents with children with SEN and disabilities on our closed Facebook group.

Follow us on Facebook to hear about our upcoming events.

Check out the rest of our Family Support offer. We have:

  • Weekly Chats and Tots coffee morning
  • Family Support workers who can offer advice, signposting and support
  • Lots of tips and resources on our website

Additional support and Resources:

This information is not affiliated with Leeds MENCAP.

Read more about reasonable adjustments from the government: Reasonable adjustments: a legal duty – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Specialist Settings in Leeds

Introduction

1.5 million children and young people have SEND in England and 4.5% of these have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) (Special educational needs in England, Academic year 2022/23 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk)

By law, every mainstream school, nursery and college must provide support for pupils with SEND. The support that is available may differ from school to school, but all schools have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to support pupils with SEND. A reasonable adjustment is any alternation or change to teaching methods, resources or the physical environment. Schools are required to take proactive steps to identify and implement such adjustments, and to involve parents, carers and the children and young people themselves in this process.

Find out more about mainstream schools and SEND: Check out Leeds MENCAP’s ‘Mainstream Schools and SEND‘ information

For some children and young people with SEND a mainstream school may not be able to meet their needs and a specialist setting may be better able to do this. All children and young people need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to attend any type of specialist setting.

Find out more about EHC Plans: Check out Leeds MENCAP’s ‘EHC Plans’ Information

What is a specialist setting?

A special school or specialist setting is a school that is “specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN” (Section 337 of the Education Act 1996).

They can:

  • Specialise in one of the 4 areas of SEND:
    • Cognition and learning needs
    • Communication and interaction needs
    • Social, emotional and mental health needs
    • Physical and sensory needs

  • Meet the needs of children and young people with more specific SEND such as autism, visual or hearing impairments

  • Meet the needs of children and young people with a range of SEND needs

What different types of specialist settings are there in Leeds?

SILCs – Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres

  • A Specialist school that supports children with lifelong and complex SEND who are unable to access mainstream school
  • There are 5 SILCs in Leeds:
    • West SILC
    • North West SILC
    • East SILC
    • North East SILC
    • South SILC

Resourced Provision

  • A mainstream school that has specialist resources to support children with SEND
  • Children are on roll of mainstream school but receive specialist support to meet their needs

Partnership Provision

  • SILCs have arrangements with local mainstream schools to support children to access elements of mainstream education
  • Children are on roll at the partnership SILC but access education at the mainstream partnership provision and are supported by SILC staff

Specialist Free Schools and Academies

  • Operate independently from the Local Authority
  • Have more control over how they operate
  • There are several Free School and Specialist Academies in Leeds, such as Springwell Leeds Academy for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, and The Lighthouse Free School for children with Autism

Click here for a list and information about all the specialist settings in Leeds from SENDIASS: Specialist provision (leeds.gov.uk)

Additional support from Leeds MENCAP

Speak to other parents with children with SEN and disabilities on our closed Facebook group.

Follow us on Facebook to hear about our upcoming events.

Check out the rest of our Family Support offer. We have:

  • Weekly Chats and Tots coffee morning
  • Family Support workers who can offer advice, signposting and support
  • Lots of tips and resources on our website

Supporting your child’s SEND Needs

Introduction

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

  • Behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • Reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • Ability to understand things
  • Concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • Physical ability

Being a parent of a child with SEND can be challenging, and knowing how to support your child and the type of support they could receive or are entitled to is important.

School support

Overview

Most children with Special Educational Needs will have some type of SEND support. This means help that is additional to or different from the support generally given to other children of the same age in a mainstream school. The purpose of SEND support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process.

All educational settings, nurseries, schools, colleges and further education must make sure they meet the “reasonable” special educational needs of children and young people they identify as needing extra support. Most educational settings should be able to meet the needs of the majority of children with SEND.

What school support might look like 

Support for children with SEND will very much depend on the child’s needs. Common support includes intervention groups that focus on a specific area of learning or communication, for example.

Children with significant needs may benefit from an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) which school can apply for with parent consent.

Learning

  • If a child has learning needs, school may support them within the classroom with a teaching assistant who may work with a child within a small group or 1:1 to support them to understand the learning.
  •  If a child has specific targets (often documented on an Individual Education Plan or IEP (please see documents school might use section for more details) they may work on these targets 1:1 or in a small group with the teacher or teaching assistant, sometimes outside the classroom.
  • If a child has a specific learning need such as dyslexia, the school may send relevant staff on specific training to ensure they can support needs.
  • School may also refer a child to an Educational Psychologist if they want more information about a child’s learning needs and how best to support them.

Speech and Communication needs

  • If a child has speech and/or communication needs, school may support them within the classroom with a teaching assistant who may work with a child within a small group or 1:1 to support them to understand the learning. For example, ensuring they have understood the instructions the teacher gives or helping to break down a task into shorter steps.
  • If a school has concerns about a child’s speech and language, they may make a referral to the speech and language therapy service. Schools in Leeds can use both NHS speech and language and/or private speech and language therapy companies such as Chatterbugs or Away with words .
  •  If a child has specific speech/communication targets, often documented on a Speech and Language Support Plan (please see documents school might use section for more details) they may work on these targets 1:1 or in a small group with the teacher, teaching assistant or speech and language therapist, sometimes outside the classroom.
  • The school may send relevant staff on specific training to ensure they can support a child’s speech and communication needs.

Autism

  • If a child has Autism, school may support them within the classroom with a teaching assistant who may work with a child within a small group or 1:1 to support them to understand the learning. They may also for example, support the child with social or unstructured times within the classroom.
  • If a child has specific targets, for example around developing play or social skills they may work on these targets 1:1 or in a small group with the teacher or teaching assistant, often outside the classroom.
  • The school may send relevant staff on specific training to ensure they can support a child’s needs.
  • School may also refer a child to an Educational Psychologist if they want more information about a child’s needs and how best to support them.

Behavioural and/or mental health needs

  • If a child has behaviour or mental health needs, school may support them within the classroom with a teaching assistant who may work with a child within a small group or 1:1 to support them to understand the learning.
  • If a child has specific targets, often documented on an Individual Behaviour Plan or IBP (please see documents school might use section for more details) they may work on these targets 1:1 or in a small group with the teacher or teaching assistant, sometimes outside the classroom.
  • A child with challenging or risky behaviour may need an Individual Pupil Risk Assessment (IPRA) which ensures all staff know how to keep them safe
  • The school may send relevant staff on specific training to ensure they can support a child’s behaviour or mental health needs.
  • School may also refer a child to an Educational Psychologist if they want more information about a child’s needs and how best to support them.

Physical and/or medical needs

  • If a child has specific physical or medical targets, for example from a physiotherapy programme, they may work on these targets 1:1  with the teacher, teaching assistant within PE Lessons or sometimes outside the classroom.
  • A child with physical and/or medical needs may need an Individual Pupil Risk Assessment (IPRA) and/or an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHCP) which details the child’s medical condition/ mobility issue and ensures all staff know how to keep them safe and the procedure to follow in the event of an emergency (please see documents school might use section for more details)
  • The school may send relevant staff on specific training to ensure they can support a child’s physical or medical needs. This may involve being trained to safely move and handle a child, or to administer a specific procedure such as for a diabetic child.

Documents school might use

Learning needs

Individual Education Plan (IEP) (sometimes called an Individual Learning Plan or Support Plan) – a school generated document with short term targets, how and who will help the child achieve them. View a sample IEP here

Specific programme from an outside agency – this could be a targeted programme from the local authority SEND Team for a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia

Communication needs

Speech and Language Support Plan – generated by a speech and language provider (either NHS or a private company the school has commissioned) with targets and resources to help improve a particular area of speech.

Autism

Pupil passport ­­– usually a school generated document which details a child’s strengths and needs, what staff can do to help them etc. School often uses this to ensure all staff that come into contact with the child are aware of their need. View an example pupil passport from STARS. View an example pupil profile template from Leeds MENCAP.

Sensory profile – a document that captures a child’s sensory needs. This usually details the things a child is over and under sensitive to. View an example sensory profile from STARS.

Visual timetable – often used to support children with autism. A visual representation of the child’s day or part of the day. Can also be used as a visual representation of a specific task such as the steps involved in going to the toilet. Find out more about visual timetables

Behavioural/ and or mental health needs

Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP) – a school generated document similar to an IEP document with short term targets, how and who will help the child achieve them. View an example IBP

Individual Pupil Risk Assessment – a Leeds local authority document that details the health and safety measures a school puts in place to support a child

Time out/take a break cards – a school generated card for children to use if they need a break from the classroom. This is often part of several strategies a school might put in place to support a child’s behaviour or mental health needs

Pupil passport ­­– usually a school generated document which details a child’s strengths and needs, what staff can do to help them etc. School often uses this to ensure all staff that come into contact with the child are aware of their need.

Physical and/or medical needs

Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) – a document generated by school or a medical professional that details the child’s medical condition, medication – when and how it is administered, procedures to follow in an emergency situation and contact details of parents and relevant medical professionals. This document may be accompanied by an IPRA (see above).

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) – a document generated by school for pupils with mobility difficulties which details how they will be supported to evacuate the school building in the event of a fire or other emergency situation.

Professionals that school might involve

  • Educational Psychologist (EP)– all schools have an assigned EP who they can make a referral to, to gain more information about how to support a child’s needs. The EP may observe a child in the classroom or playground, chat to them or complete some assessments with them. Schools need parental consent to make a referral.
  • Special Educational Needs Inclusion Team (SENIT) – the Leeds special needs team. Schools can make a referral for support about how best to meet a child’s needs. SENIT workers will come into school and work directly with school staff such as the class teacher or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and may also work with the child. They have staff who specialise in the Early Years (Nursery and Reception), Learning needs and Behaviour and mental health needs. Schools need parental consent to make a referral.
  • Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) – many schools now buy in SLT services either from the NHS or from a private company. An SLT will assess a child’s speech and language needs and put together a programme of work around the child’s area of need. They may also provide resources for parents to use at home. Schools need parental consent to make a referral.
  • Special Training around Autism and Raising Standards (STARS) – a Leeds based team that support children with Autism in school. School can make a referral for support on how best to meet a child’s needs. A STARS practitioner will come into school and may observe or talk to the child, meet school staff and parents and make recommendations for the school to put  in place. Schools need parental consent to make a referral.
  • Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist (OT) – would usually only be involved in school if the child has been referred by a medical professional. They can come into school to share information, assess and check a child’s progress, or put a programme in place for school to follow.
  • Other professionals – may ask to come into school to share information. This is usually linked to a medical condition and could include:
    • A dietician
    • A specialist nurse – diabetes, epilepsy, allergy, feeding

Other support

There is other support that parents with a child with SEND can access in Leeds, other than that provided by schools. The Leeds Local Offer is a website that details everything on offer in Leeds. Look at the Local Offer here – Directory (leedslocaloffer.org.uk)

Clubs

There are various groups and charities in Leeds that offer after school or holiday clubs and playschemes.

Endorphins – a company who offers various inclusive clubs aimed at children with SEND. Clubs are run from the South Leeds Hub and The Vinery Centre (Leeds MENCAP). Find the website here – https://endorphins.uk/

Leeds MENCAP – runs a variety of clubs for children and young people with SEND including a holiday playscheme. Check out our website for more information – https://www.leedsmencap.org.uk/

What you can do

Schools have a certain level of responsibility they must adhere to. The SEN Disability Code of Practice says:

“The School Admissions Code of Practice requires children and young people with SEND to be treated fairly. Admissions authorities:

  • Must consider applications from parents of children who have SEN but do not have an EHC Plan on the basis of the school’s published admissions criteria as part of normal admissions procedures.
  • Must not refuse to admit a child who has SEN but does not have an EHC plan because they do not feel able to cater for those needs.
  • Must not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they do not have an EHC plan.”

If your child has SEND you may need to be their advocate as well as their parent or carer. Being an advocate means making sure their rights are respected and their needs are met. Sometimes you may need to speak on their behalf. 

Tips for meeting with school about your child

  1. Identify a key person or people in school to speak to. This is likely to be the school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENDCo) but could also be your child’s teacher or a support member of staff
  2. Build a positive relationship with people in school who can help:
    • Make contact with staff early on and be positive. It might be helpful to:
      • Note down any day-to-day issues so you can discuss them. 
      • Ask for regular meetings and updates.  
      • Tackle issues as they come up to stop them from growing into problems.  
    • Use an agreed method of communication – staff may not always be able to speak to you face to face
    • Be patient but persistent if school does not respond to you straight away. Most school staff will try to acknowledge contact from parents within 48 hours or sooner if the issue is urgent. If you do not get a reply, send a brief follow-up e-mail or call the school office to ask to have a message delivered to the staff member.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the SEN Code of Practice and understand your child’s rights. This document provides statutory guidance on the SEND system for children and young people aged 0 to 25.
  4. Ask a relative or friend to attend any meetings at school with you. It is often useful to ask another person to come along to meetings at the school as it can be difficult to listen to what is being said as well as to think of the questions you might want to ask. Another person can remind you of what you wanted to get from the meeting.

Additional support from Leeds MENCAP

Speak to other parents with children with SEN and disabilities on our closed Facebook group.

Follow us on Facebook to hear about our upcoming events.

Check out the rest of our Family Support offer. We have:

  • Weekly Chats and Tots coffee morning. Some coffee mornings have a free legal advice drop in from SEND specialists at Irwin Mitchell solicitors
  • Family Support workers who can offer advice, signposting and support and may be able to support you with school meetings
  • Lots of tips and resources in our Member’s Area on our website

Additional support and Resources

This information is not affiliated with Leeds MENCAP.

Read the SEND Code of Practice: SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Read an overview of support for children with special education needs:

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): Special educational needs support – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): Extra help – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Read about support for meeting with school about support:

School support meeting (leeds.gov.uk)

Working_with_childs-school_I-A.pdf (autismeducationtrust.org.uk)

How can I get the right support for my child’s special educational needs? – Support for Parents from Action For Children

What SEN support can my child’s school provide? – Support for Parents from Action For Children

Seven ways to support your child with SEND at school – BBC Bitesize

Mainstream schools and SEND

What support is my child entitled to?

By law, every school, nursery and college must provide support for pupils with SEND. The support that is available may differ from school to school, but all schools have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to support pupils with SEND. A reasonable adjustment is any alternation or change to teaching methods, resources or the physical environment. Schools are required to take proactive steps to identify and implement such adjustments, and to involve parents, carers and the children and young people themselves in this process.

Relevant legislation (law) includes the SEND code of practice (2015) which details the responsibility of the Local Authority, including education establishments and The Equality Act (2010) which states you must not be discriminated against if you have a disability.

For further details about legal entitlement around SEND education visit IPSEA (Independent Providers of Special Education Advice).

What should my child’s school be doing?

The structure of SEN support in mainstream schools is as follows.


Quality First Teaching

The basis of provision for all pupils. Teaching is designed to be accessible to all children regardless of individual needs or abilities.

Quality First Teaching (QFT) can include: differentiation such as adapting the pace of content of the lessons, use of ongoing assessment to identify strengths and areas for development, inclusive classroom environment, flexible groupings in class, scaffolding of varying degrees and high levels of quality training.


SEN support

If a pupil’s needs cannot be met through QFT, the school may initiate SEN support – parents must be informed of this decision. SEN support needs are attempted to be met through a framework of carefully planned interventions and support called the Graduated Response Cycle. Read about the Graduated Response Cycle below.

SEN support can include: development of an Individual Education/Behaviour Plan (IEP/IBP), structured and targeted interventions, the consultation of external agencies (such as educational psychologists, speech and language therapists or SEN inclusion team (SENIT), applying for additional funding (FFI – funding for inclusion).


EHCP

If a pupil is still not making expected progress despite additional support and interventions the school may request assessment from the local authority – this may result in the creation of an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Read more about EHCPs here.


Graduated Response Cycle

The SEND Code of Practice requires schools to adopt a Graduated Response approach in supporting young people with SEND. It is part of ensuring SEN support is addressing the individual needs of the student and helping them reach their full potential.

Schools will need to evidence that they have completed all four stages of the Graduated Response Cycle twice before they can apply for an EHCP.


Assess

The child has been identified as not making expected progress and needing additional intervention.


Plan

Teacher, SENCO, parent/s and child agree to interventions to support expected outcomes. These are recorded in a plan – with a timescale and way of monitoring progress agreed upon.


Do

Implement the plan! The class teacher is responsible for implementing the plan on a day-to-day basis.


Review

In the agreed timeline, the child’s progress will be reviewed. If the interventions have worked, the child may stop receiving SEN support. If the child has not made expected progress the cycle will continue – with revised strategies, targets and provision.


Parents and child/young person’s views should be prioritised at all points in the cycle.

I’m concerned about my child’s progress

If you feel that your child may need additional support, isn’t responding to the help they are getting, or you want more clarification about what is in place you should ask for a meeting with the class teacher to discuss.

SEND code of practice states that schools should meet parents at least 3 times a year to discuss outcomes, assess support and review the progress of pupils receiving SEN support. However, you can still request a meeting if your child does not receive SEN support or an additional meeting alongside these.

Read the SENDIAS guide on asking for and preparing for a meeting with school.

I feel mainstream school isn’t right for my child

Although it is an aim of the SEND code of practice and a large focus for the Leeds SEND and Inclusion Strategy that most children should be able to participate in mainstream schools, some children may not be able to achieve their full potential in a mainstream setting even with additional support.

To get a place in a specialist school or setting your child must have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Read about the varying types of specialist setting in Leeds on the local authority website.

Supporting your child through transitions

Planning for transition is important and can help make your child’s move between settings and services as smooth as possible.

What is a transition

Transitions take place when a change happens. This might be when a child moves from one school to another, if they move house or when they turn 16 and seek employment. Any change to a school or setting can be considered a transition and should be prepared for as part of a child or young person’s SEND support.

Education transitions

There are 3 main educational phase transitions:

  • Early years to primary school.
  • Primary to secondary school.
  • Secondary school to further education or employment.

There are also year to year key stage changes like KS1 to KS2 or KS3 to KS4. It can help to think about these transitions, especially if your child finds changes to teaching staff or rooms challenging.

The SENDIASS website has lots of information on supporting a child or young person to move through schools and different educational settings, including how you can be involved in the planning and how to prepare for a school meeting.

Preparing for adulthood (PFA)

Preparing for adulthood is the process of your child moving from their childhood to adulthood.

This transition should start being considered from Year 9 (aged 13 to 14) in any SEND planning and if your child has an EHCP there should be a focus on this in their Year 9 review.

The PFA aims to prepare for:

  • Higher education or employment, including different options such as support from employment agencies and becoming self-employed.
  • Independent living, so that the young person has choice, control and freedom over their lives.
  • Participating in society, including having friends and being a part of their local community.
  • Being as healthy as possible in adult life.

Find out more about PFA on the SENDIASS website.

Tips to help you prepare

Think ahead – Think about any upcoming changes that may be difficult for your child and how you can support them with their transition.

Make a plan – Try to plan as early as possible so that all relevant information can be shared with the new school or setting.

Talk with your child’s school about transitions. This can help you find out about any support that is available.

Additional support

Our Family Support team at Leeds Mencap are here to help, call us on 0113 235 1331 or email info@leedsmencap.org.uk for further information and advice about transitions.

The Family Information Service has a dedicated Transitions team who provide specialist advice, guidance and support to young people aged 14 to 25. The team supports families, parents and carers during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Referrals to this service can be made by social workers.

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