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Rice Lane Primary School

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How do you know when a child has a special educational need?

In the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (2014) the definition of SEN is:

‘A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, that is provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.’ 

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Knowing a child has a special educational need arises from a four part cycle known as the graduated approach.  The graduated approach starts at whole-school level. Teachers are continually assessing, planning, implementing and reviewing their approach to teaching all children. However, where a potential special educational need has been identified, this cyclical process becomes increasingly personalised. The four stages of the cycle are:

• Assess

• Plan

• Do

• Review



 Assessment of need starts with a whole school approach that can identify quickly where a child is not making expected progress. At Rice Lane we hold termly pupil progress meetings to identify this issue. Teachers meet with Senior Leaders (including SENCos) to discuss the progress and development of children in their class.   For children identified as underachieving or not developing socially or emotionally, further assessment may indicate the cause of their difficulties and suggest what might need to be done to enable them to get back on track. When a child may have SEN and is not making expected progress despite high quality, suitably differentiated teaching a  Record of Concern is drawn up  to;


  • highlight concerns
  • evidence high quality teaching targeted at areas of weakness
  • involve parents or carers and obtain their views
  • collate any assessments that have been carried out
  • involve the SENCo


With the support of the SENCo further information is gathered such as;

  •  Advice from external support services
  • Standardised tests
  •  Profiling tools, for example for emotional and social well being and speech, language and communication needs
  •  Observation schedules and prompt sheets
  •  Screening assessments, for example for dyslexia
  • Specialist assessments, for example from a speech and language therapist or an educational psychologist.


Any concerns raised by parents or carers will be taken seriously and the process is the same.


After continuing with the assess, plan, do, review cycle ( adapting teaching, resources and the environment) some children make expected progress.  However some do not and require something that is additional to or different from that which is normally available to children of the same age, meaning they require SEN Support.



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