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Special Educational Needs

Special Educational Needs

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The Wokingham Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service undertakes the Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment for children and young people between the ages of 0 - 25 years. It arranges the provision required to meet the needs identified on an EHC plan and organises the appropriate reviews of a child's or young person's progress.

SEN Service Contact Details

Telephone: 0118 974 6216         Email: sen@wokingham.gov.uk
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Online information

As well as the information on this page, the other online locations listed below may be of use.

- Wokingham Local Offer: Special Educational Needs
- WSH website policies area: SEND policies

SENCO Update: Summer Term School Planning meetings

Dear Colleagues

I am writing to you on behalf of the whole Educational Psychology Service in the hope that you are well.  We thought we should contact you to share our thinking about what we should do about the Summer Term School Planning meetings (SPMs)

At the present time it seems unlikely that the situation with regards to school closures will have changed by the end of the Easter break.  If everything is back to normal then we can proceed with the meetings in the usual way.

However, in anticipation of that not being the case we propose that your link EP will contact you by email (school email  on which you have received this message) and arrange a remote SPM.  We will where possible use What’s App and may even be able to use video conferencing.  We will try keep to the date and time of the original meeting but are happy to rearrange if that suits better.  We will need to work out with you how you would like to be contacted for the meeting i.e. school telephone number or  home number. 

Secondary colleagues we will arrange with you by email when we can have a planning meeting as I appreciate we do not have the same routine as we do with our primary school SENCOs. 

You may not be aware but as yet the government has not changed any of the timelines around statutory work, Education, Health and Care needs assessments and annual reviews.  Obviously this is presenting us with considerable challenges as we still  have to adhere to the government’s guidance on social distancing. 

Therefore, the primary focus for the SPM needs to be

  • Children for whom you have already submitted a request for an EHC needs assessment to date. We will need to ensure we have as much relevant information as possible as we are  unable to meet with children, young people or their family. 
  • Children with EHC Plans who will have their year five or year 9 annual review in the Summer term.
  • Children who are transitioning to the next phase of education, leaving your setting for a specialist setting or starting your school for the first time.

It is not appropriate to be undertaking reviews of progress or new consultations as we do not know when the government guidance regarding social distancing and schools re-opening will change. 

We have also become aware that some parents have thought that if they ask for a consultation now they will be in a position to make a request for the EHC needs assessment as soon as things are back to normal.  We would like to remind you that while parents and settings can make a request at any time the code of practice still applies and SEND panel will be fulfilling its duty to have regard to the code and will require evidence of cycles of assess/ plan/ do/review  when considering whether to carry out an assessment.

None of us are sure how we will cope when we return to normal and what we will have support in terms of getting children and adults back into a routine, managing the impact of isolation and in some cases bereavement.

As a service we would like to be in a position to support you  through this, however if our time immediately following this crisis is taken with a large number of new statutory assessments and updating assessments that have had to be completed under the current restrictions this will make that task more difficult for us all. 

I would like to re-iterate that as things stand today no one’s statutory rights with regards to SEND assessments have changed, however, we thought it was important for us all to think collectively about not just what is happening now but what might happen in the future.  We all work to support vulnerable children so if we can we need to work  in ways that will maintain as much resilience in the system as possible.  Annual leave and illness not withstanding we are here to support you, in the first instance please email Wendy Webb or Kelly Hamblin CSEPA - Educational Psychology Admin CSEPA-EducationalPsychologyAdmin@wokingham.gov.uk  as they will know if we are around to return your call or email. If that does not work them please email me elaine.munro@wokingham.gov.uk

We have also posted some items on the Schools Hub for your information and support including some advice on mental health and well-being and stories for children to explain the corona virus pandemic. We will continue to add what we think might be helpful.

Finally we would like to applaud you for the work you are doing to support vulnerable children and families in your community as well as those children of other essential workers.  Remember that you need to look after yourself so that you can continue to do what you are doing.

Keep well, best wishes from the whole service.

Elaine Munro (Principal Educational Psychologist)

Educational Psychology Service, Wokingham Borough Council, Alder Grove, Shinfield RG2 9RA

What support is there for a child or young person at School or Further Education settings?

Most children with SEN will have their needs met through appropriate support in school, including additional teaching help, more time to complete lessons, or different teaching methods. If a parent is concerned about how their child is coping however, more input may need to be given.

The first point of contact for a parent should be the child’s teacher, either during a parent-teacher evening, or at a specific appointment. Parents may also wish to discuss their concerns with the school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). If they feel that their concerns are not being addressed, then they can contact the school head teacher, or the school governor with responsibility for SEN.

It is possible that a child’s teacher will identify concerns about their progress, and may approach a parent with these. They may also seek advice from the school SENCo about how best to help a child.

What happens next?

Through a discussion with the parent, SENCo and the child’s class teacher, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or provision map will be created. The IEP will relate directly to the child’s difficulties, and is a detailed plan of the targets that have been set and how the child will be helped to achieve these. Many children make sufficient progress with this help.

If a child is still struggling to make progress, then more advice and help may be sought from professionals outside of the school. This could be the Educational Psychology Service, or the Learning Support Service. They will support the school to make the necessary changes to help the child progress, and the advice they give will be written into a new IEP.

During this graduated response to the child’s needs, there will be regular meetings to review the IEP. These give parents, teachers and professionals the opportunity to discuss with how a child is progressing and what other strategies may help. Parents should be included in any discussions about their child, and their views will be considered in any decisions made about future SEN provision. SENCOs may wish to create a support document, also known as an SEN Support Plan (template in 'Useful Resources' below) to clearly outline the pupil's profile and the support being put in place.

What if there are still problems?

School may require additional interventions and resources to support the child or young person’s needs which cannot be met within their own budget. In these cases, school may have identified appropriate support; school can then demonstrate the progress made by the specific intervention in place and request the case be heard by their Cluster in order to receive Exceptional Needs Funding. If a child continues to  make little progress or is requiring a lot more help, then a parent or the child’s school can ask the Local Authority to carry out an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. Young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years may also request the LA to carry out an EHC needs assessment.

Useful Resources