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The SEND local offer

Parent/carers

As parent carers to a child or young person with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), we sometimes have questions about the future, about support we might want or need, and even about what’s happening locally for families. The information on these pages will hopefully help to answer some of these questions. Information about services can be found in our service directory.

What is a special educational need?

Children can have special educational needs for a range of reasons, including disabilities, health needs or a learning disability. 

If a child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or has a disability that makes it difficult for them to access the educational provision (including early years education) provided for other children of the same age, they may have a special educational need (SEN). Having a disability doesn't necessarily mean that a child will have a special educational need.

Who should I contact if I have a concern?

If your child attends an early years setting, school or college, your first point of contact should be their key person, teacher or tutor. It may be best to make an appointment to see them so that you'll be able to discuss your concerns fully and in private.

Your child’s setting, school or college should discuss with you their arrangements for identifying and supporting children with special educational needs, and what they can do to support your child’s learning if necessary. You're encouraged and entitled to be involved in any plans for your child.

All early years settings and schools will have a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO). SENCOs have had training to support children with SEND. Their job is to support your child’s key person, teacher or tutor in identifying, planning and meeting his or her individual needs. They may also liaise with other people who may be involved in your child’s care (always with your knowledge) and organise meetings and reviews when necessary.

What special educational provision is available?

Our special education provision page gives information about how we cater for young people with complex educational needs, and includes a list of specialist schools and academies set up to address those needs.

When should I request an education, health and care (EHC) plan?

If your child has a special educational need and, despite receiving additional help is not making expected progress, then you or your child’s school can request that we make an education health and care assessment. 

If your child is in an early years setting you'll need to request an assessment as your child’s parent. Your child’s setting will, however, be able to support you in doing this.

The procedure and forms for requesting an education, health and care assessment can be found in the 'requesting an assessment' section of these webpages.

What if I disagree with the plan?

The SEN team places children, young people and families at the heart of any decisions made about provision and EHC plans. Where agreements can't be reached an independent disagreement resolution can be provided from our disagreement resolution services. Contact us for more information.

What other support is available?

The Information Advice and Support Service (IASS) (formerly the Parent Partnership Service) offers free, confidential advice, information and support to parents and carers about special educational needs, specifically:

  • Clear information about special education needs issues
  • Signposting to helpful organisations
  • Information and support on the phone
  • Help with letters, reports and forms relating to your child’s education
  • A face-to-face meeting
  • Support at some meetings if available

For funding advice, take a look at the Department for Education's Making it Personal leaflet.

What other support is there in Shropshire?

You'll find additional support elsewhere on our local offer pages.

The purpose of the local offer is to enable parents, carers and young people to see more clearly what services are available in their area and how to access them. The offer will include services from birth to 25, across education, health and social care. Shropshire’s local offer is being developed in conjunction with children and young people, parents and carers, and local services, including schools, colleges, and health and social care agencies.