Coventry's SEND Local Offer
Portage is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.
The SEND Early Years team is a group of experienced early years practitioners who provide support for children and families by delivering high quality education for children 0-5 years old. We deliver this service in the home, in early years settings and in schools.
Portage is educational support for children aged birth-3 who have additional needs. It is provided in the home or school setting. Portage aims to improve areas of children’s development through play with the goal of enriching their life experiences.
Through our inclusive practice, we aim to reduce the barriers that young children and their families face.
Portage helps the family and early years setting to see the child’s strengths and challenges as well as their ability to learn. It gives the family confidence that they are doing everything they can to help the child achieve and reach their full potential. Portage helps people to understand the importance of breaking tasks down by teaching parents and practitioners how to teach small steps and celebrate each achievement as it happens.
Portage is part of the national and local development of inclusive services for children.
For more general information please visit the National Portage Association website
There are currently two groups for children with additional needs who are not in nursery or educational settings.
Together we can provide opportunities for children to play and learn in a safe environment with staff who understand their specific needs. We support children aged between 18 months and 3 years who are presenting with developmental delay by offering specialist play experiences and assessment. After a session, there will be time to discuss your child’s progress and to make referrals on to other agencies if needed. This is run in partnership with SEND Early Years Team and Central Health visiting team.
The Experience group is for non-mobile children and their parents/carers. It provides opportunities for children to play and learn in a safe environment with staff who understand their specific needs. It also provides a space for parents/carers to talk to others in similar situations.
We will also signpost to other services such as Coventry Speech and Language Service, Coventry Occupational Therapy Service and SEND Early Years Teachers to further aid a child’s development.
We support the early identification of children with SEND and aim to develop inclusive practice in settings and schools. We work in partnership with parents to improve the outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation stage. We support children to make progress from their individual starting point. SEND early years teachers offer support to children in their nursery year and support the transition into reception in mainstream schools.
Initial referrals can be made by teachers and professionals. For example, if a child is in a setting, the parent or carer would raise the concern with the SENCo. If a child is at home the concern could be raised via the health visitor. We have an open referral route and encourage schools and settings to refer in if they a concern about a child’s development. Once the referral has been processed a teacher from the team will be allocated and they will make contact with the school or setting and arrange to do an initial visit to observe the child. They will assess the level of support needed using the 4 areas of need in the Code of Practice and the Early Years Foundation Stage. Teacher will use a modelling and coaching approach in order to enhance the skills of the setting to be able to support the needs of the child and remove barriers to learning. If further support is needed we will signpost to other services including Educational Psychology Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy.
Send Early Years Complex Communication is made up of a teacher, a preschool coordinator and 2 Higher Level Teaching Assistants. We offer targeted support where it is most needed. Support is offered to children in early years settings with a diagnosis of Autism and for those on the pathway. We offer group sessions to children and support and advice to parents and carers. We are licensed to deliver the National Autistic Society Early Bird programme. Once an initial assessment has been completed targeted nursery support will be offered depending on the level of need. This could be from the teacher who will do observations and offer advice, strategies and support with target setting. Children may also be offered blocks of support from a higher level teaching assistant who will model strategies to staff and work on targets that have been set.
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All class teachers regularly assess the progress of each of their pupils to check that they are learning well. Once a teacher has identified that a child is not making the progress expected, additional support will be given by the class team- the teacher or/and a teaching assistant working under the guidance of the teacher.
If, after this additional help, the child is still not making good progress the teacher will usually ask for advice from the school SENCo (special educational needs coordinator) who will recommend extra help and support. A student who is being given this additional support will have their progress tracked using the Graduated Pathway (see below).
An EHCP is an Education Health and Care Plan, this used to be known as a Statement of Educational Need. In order to be eligible and considered for an EHCP Assessment, the school will have needed to use every resource available to them in order to support the child or young person with SEND. When a parent or professional requests an EHCP Assessment, Coventry City Council will require proof that the Graduated Pathway steps have been followed and that the school has done everything that they can to address the child or young person's additional needs.
Teachers use a range of strategies to encourage children with SEND to concentrate on their work and manage any distractions. Children with SEND are also helped assess their own work- to think about what they have learned, what they can do well and what they need to do next.
The SENCo will work with teachers and teaching assistants to put in place support for the child. This additional help could include special books, learning activities, materials or computer programmes. The teacher or SENCO might also ask for advice from an outside professional, such as Social Emotional Mental Health and Learning (SEML) professional or a specialist from Complex Communication Team (CCT) or other SEN Support Service, so that the help offered is just right for the child. Parents/carers are informed at an early stage and their knowledge and views taken into account in planning any support for their child. This is the assess, plan, do, review cycle of actions. This cycle continues after a child has started to receive SEN Support.
As illustrated in the Graduated Pathway diagram, all schools and settings are expected to put in place a range of interventions to support pupils identified with additional needs. This support is funded through Element 1 and Element 2 for pupils identified as requiring SEN Support. Through this graduated ‘wave’ approach, schools have a variety of interventions at their disposal to support a child or young person. To enable families, children and young people to understand the provision map of what schools should be providing to meet SEN needs in Coventry, view the ordinarily available provision in Coventry schools. This is provision that should be provided without an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Most children and young people’s needs will be met by the help available through their early years setting/school/post 16 years educational placements. Coventry is working closely with schools to support children with additional needs through My Support Plan.
My Support Plan allows professionals to work together effectively to identify a child’s needs and in time to consider whether an EHC Needs Assessment is appropriate for them. It allows professionals to evidence the support that is in place and have regular review periods to see if the support is working. Schools will involve parents closely in this process and invite you to regular review meetings of the support being implemented.
However, for a very small number of children and young people who need a lot of extra help at school, the Statutory Assessment and Review Service may decide that an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment is required to find out exactly what extra help is needed.
If you would like to talk to someone about your concerns, then please talk to your child's educational setting in the first instance. If you would like further information, then please get in touch with the Statutory Assessment and Review team.
An Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment may be recommended for your child or young person if they do not make progress, despite getting appropriate extra help from their educational setting. If your child's educational setting feel that an assessment is necessary, they will discuss with you the reasons for moving to an education, health and care needs assessment. At this point if you feel it would be beneficial, you will be offered a meeting with the school SENCo (Special Education Needs Coordinator) and the link Education, Health and Care Plan Coordinator from the Local Authority to discuss your child’s additional needs before a formal request is made to Coventry Local Authority (LA). This is part of Coventry’s person centred Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment Pathway which sets out how we will work with parents, children and young people to enable co-production with families.
An Education, Health and Care needs assessment is sometimes referred to as formal assessment and is carried out by Coventry LA under the 2014 Children and Families Act and in accordance with the SEND Code of Practice 2014. Your child's progress, your views and the views of your child's educational setting or those who work closely with your child (this may include health professionals) will all be considered by Coventry LA before an assessment goes ahead.
Most children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met in their local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. Some children and young people may need to have an EHC Needs Assessment in order for the local authority to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC Plan. Local authorities use criteria to help them make fair and transparent decisions about whether or not to carry out EHC needs assessments. In addition to these criteria, the panel that makes the decision will consider all the abilities, strengths and needs of the child or young person. Although Coventry has criteria this is not applied as a blanket policy and we will consider every request individually based on the information provided.
To make an EHC Needs assessment request schools and colleges will need to use the Request for Statutory Assessment – non early years form.
If Early Years Setting wish to make a request the Request for Statutory Assessment – Early Years will need to be fully completed.
We would always recommend that you speak to your child’s educational setting before making a request as they will be able to help you with this. If you decide to make a request directly to us then you will need to write a letter detailing why you believe an EHC needs assessment is required together with any supporting evidence which outlines your child’s special educational needs.
If we receive a request to carry out an EHC needs assessment, together with all the information to enable us to make a decision, then a panel will decide whether or not to carry out an assessment within six weeks.
If a decision is made to carry out an assessment then, following the assessment, you will receive a decision in writing about whether or not an EHC Plan has been agreed and your rights of appeal within 16 weeks from the original request for assessment.
If it is agreed to issue an EHC Plan then the whole process should take 20 weeks, although there are some exceptions to this, such as during the school summer break.
Your request will be considered by a Panel of Professionals to decide if the request meets Coventry’s Criteria for an EHC Assessment (weblink to EHCP Process/criteria to be inserted). Please note that every request is considered on an individual basis but to bring fairness to the process there is a set of local criteria. After the request has been to the Panel you will be contacted by the SEN Team to advise if your request has been agreed. If it has been refused you will be notified of the reasons for refusal together with information about how you can appeal the decision and where you can access impartial information, advice and guidance.
When an EHC Needs Assessment is agreed we will spend the next 6 – 12 weeks gathering advice from professionals who may know your child and any new advice that is required to inform the outcome of the EHC Needs Assessment.
Once all of the information has been gathered a decision will be made as to whether an Education, Health and Care Plan is required. If following the assessment it is evident that an EHC Plan is not required to meet your child’s needs we will contact you to inform you of the reasons why the decision has been made and offered information as to how your child’s education provider can use the assessments to support your child’s special educational needs. You will also be notified of your right to appeal and offered impartial information, advice and guidance.
An EHC Plan is needed to support your child’s Special educational needs a draft EHC Plan will be developed using the professional advice gathered during the assessment. Once the EHC Plan is drafted a copy will be sent to you with the offer of an opportunity to meet with your link EHC Plan Coordinator to discuss any amendments or additions you would like to be included. It is often useful to meet at this point to co-produce the Outcomes to be included in the EHC Plan. At this point you will also be asked to express a preference for an educational setting. You will have 15 days to respond to the Draft Plan.
Any final amendments will be made to the EHC plan and consultations made with educational setting/s. Educational settings have 15 days to respond.
The final EHC Plan will be sent to you with all the appendices (advice reports used to write the plan) naming the educational setting in section I. Copies will also be sent to the Educational setting and professionals that provided advice for the EHC Plan.
The SEND Information and Advice Service is also there to help you at any point.
Any professional working with a child, young person or family can make a referral to the authority for an Education, Health and Care assessment. It is usual for referrals to come from the child/young person's educational setting.
A parent/young person (over the age of 16) can make a direct request for an Education, Health and Care Assessment. However, we recommend that they speak to the young person's teacher or Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo) first as they will be able to help you.
Parents/Carers can ask us to make an education, health and care needs assessment if you feel that your child is falling seriously behind, despite getting extra help from their educational provider. If you decide to make a request directly to us then you will need to write a letter detailing why you believe an assessment is required together with any supporting evidence which outlines your child’s needs. You will need to send the letter and supporting evidence to Statutory Assessment and Review Service, PO Box 15, Council House, Coventry CV1 5RR.
We would suggest that you should always talk to your child's education provider first before asking for an assessment. Coventry Local authority will carefully consider your request and if we feel it is necessary, will carry out the assessment. If we decide that an assessment is not needed, we will write to you and your child's educational provider to explain the reasons for our decision. We will give you details about your right to appeal against the decision to the SEN Tribunal. We will also tell you about the informal disagreement resolution arrangements available through the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service and Mediation Services.
When a child has been referred for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment, a panel will look at all the information provided to see if any concerns around the child’s health and wellbeing have been identified. A health representative is invited to attend the panel to ensure health needs are specifically discussed. If a health need or potential health need is identified, Coventry City Council will notify the relevant health service provider and request their advice to be provided within 6 weeks.
This advice can take different formats;
Please check if a referral form is needed when seeking advice for a child not already known to the service.
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The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) provides a specialised response to children/young people whose progress in educational settings is presenting serious concerns to their parents/carers and to staff who teach that child/young person. Support from an Educational Psychologist (EP) needs to be requested in most cases by:
The EPS is based at Limbrick Wood Centre, Thomas Naul Croft, Tile Hill, Coventry, CV4 9QX.
At the beginning of each financial year, schools ask for an agreed total number of hours from the EPS. In exceptional circumstances, schools may request additional hours from the EPS during the course of that financial year. At the beginning of each school term, the EP and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) meet to agree the work that the EP will complete over the course of the term.
Coventry City Council’s Educational Psychology team (EPS) provides services for children and young people with significant or complex special educational needs. In most cases, support from an Educational Psychologist (EP) needs to be requested by:
The Local Authority commissions the EP team to complete a range of work on its behalf. This includes EHC Needs Assessments, work with Early Years children, work in special schools and work with children and young people attending out-of-city provision. Support is usually requested by the Statutory Assessment and Review Service (SARS).
If parents or carers have concerns that their child has special educational needs and wish for the involvement of an EP, they should raise their concerns with the setting’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) in the first instance.
If a parent or carer contacts the EP team directly to request involvement, the EP may agree to discuss the parent or carer’s concerns at the next Planning Meeting. A representative from the school will then inform the parent or carer of any actions that are agreed.
Parental consent is necessary for an EP to start work with a young person and to process their personal information. This is usually gained from parents, carers or the young person themselves by the SENCo of the setting they attend.
Requests for EP support for children who are electively home educated, should be addressed to the SARS team in the first instance.
For more information, please visit the Educational Psychology website.
Coventry’s Revised Neurodevelopmental Pathway has been created to improve the support for parents and carers of children and young people with social communication difficulties that may be linked to autism.
Health and education professionals have gathered the views of parents/carers, schools and GPs in order to make the pathway more user-friendly and supportive. They want families and professionals to be able to work together more easily.
For more information please visit The Neurodevelopmental Pathway Leaflets and Forms page
Here you can find more information about the Neurodevelopmental pathway in Coventry and how to get the kind of help and support that is best for you.
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A child or young person's school is the first place to go if you feel that your child or young person needs help with a special education need or disability.
Click on the About Education section to find out more about what is available and how your child or young person's school can help if they are having trouble at school.
Please visit the Support available in primary and secondary education for more information about what an education setting must provide.
Please visit the SENCOs - Special Education Needs Coordinators site to know more about the SENCOs and how they can help.
If you think that your child or young person may have a special education need or disability (SEND) and you would like to get more information, there are a number of things you can do.
1. For general information and advice about SEND, you can speak with SENDIASS, Coventry's independent SEND advice and support service.
4. If you are interested in knowing more about the resources available to children and young people who have SEND the Dimensions Tool provides an interactive way to understand a person's health and well-being and find local support.
They offer a range of pathways to achieve specialist teacher/practitioner assessor status.
Their dyslexia training courses are designed to strengthen the expertise and confidence of teachers, SENCos, practitioners, teaching assistants, learning support staff, language therapists, tutors and lecturers who support students with literacy difficulties, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties.
For more information please visit the Dyslexia Action website.
SENCOs are Special Educational Needs Coordinators. It is a legal requirement for every school to have a designated SENCo in place. This person has to be a qualified teacher and must have completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination.
The SENCo identifies the children and young people who are on the schools SEND (Special educational needs) register. They monitor the progress of the children and young people on the SEND register and usually co-ordinate the interventions for these individuals. The SENCOs liaise with and refer to specialist outside agencies to ensure that children and young people have the support that they require. The SENCO is responsible for all children and young people with Education Health and Care Plans and their annual and interim reviews. They will also write requests for Education Health and Care plans, although these can be requested by anyone, not just educational professionals.
SENCOs work with external professionals including health care, social care and educational professionals. These professionals include, but are not limited to, speech and language therapists, CAMHS (Rise) professionals, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Educational Psychologists, Doctors/Nurses, Social Workers, Mental Health Nurses, Sensory Support and Coventry SENDIASS. The SENCo also has a link SEN officer who works for the local authority.
The best way to get in touch with the school SENCO is to speak to the school reception team. They who will know who the school SENCO and will be able to direct you to that person.
SEMH & Learning Team – The Keys
The Keys – two early intervention bases for primary aged children who need short term additional support to help manage their behaviour and emotions.
How does the Keys work?
The Keys are mainstream provisions for keys stage 1 and key stage 2 pupils who are at risk of exclusion and are struggling to meet the behavioural expectations of their school. One provision for 24 KS1 and KS2 children is based at Parkgate Primary School and one for 12 KS1 children is based at Frederick Bird Primary School.
Short term, intensive support in a small group is provided to improve resiliency and skills and enable successful integration back into mainstream school. The provision is for 2 terms for 4 days per week, with the 5th day back in their school.
To access a place at the Keys, schools complete a Keys referral. This is then presented at a panel meeting of heads and Keys staff. If the child is accepted, visits to the Key and home are arranged. Once this is completed a start date is agreed between the school, parent/carer and the teacher in charge of the Key.
The Keys offer a broad and balanced creative curriculum which is differentiated in order to ensure that children experience successful outcomes.
Our aim is to equip children to successfully return to their mainstream school. A personalised re-integration programme ensures good outcomes for pupils. This re-integration programme is planned in partnership by Key and school staff, parents/carers and pupils and includes follow up visits and support, if needed.
At the Keys, we work together in partnership with parents and schools to:
The Keys - How To Contact
Further information is available through the SENCo at your child’s school or from Jo Cave, Keys Provision Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support available in primary and secondary education settings
All pupils in Coventry schools have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, including extra-curricular activities.
All Coventry schools take account of a child’s additional needs in every area of school life and all children have the opportunity to experience the full range of subjects and activities offered by our schools. Teachers and support staff make sure all children’s needs are met by arranging appropriate classroom organisation and activities. Learning activities are made up of small, achievable steps that are made to meet the needs of individual children. Extra adult support will be offered where needed.
To enable families, children and young people to understand what schools should be providing to meet SEN needs in Coventry, view the Ordinarily Available Provision in Coventry schools. This outlines provision that should be provided without an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Teachers adapt the way they teach to ensure that the written and spoken language can be understood by students. When they prepare for lessons, teachers identify key concepts/ideas in the curriculum and teach and reinforce these to prepare children with SEND to learn successfully alongside other children. Teachers use adaptations to the curriculum to recognise and respond to moderate or severe levels of sensory impairment such as a hearing or visual impairment. Sometimes, special one-to-one or small group programmes are taught alongside other lessons.
All schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for any child or young person who has specific long or short term health needs or a disability. This might include looking into and following recommendations about physical adaptations or assistive technology that would make the school environment more accessible for the student.
Some examples are:
If after this additional help the child is still not making progress, the SENCo (Special Education Needs Coordinator) might decide that the child or young person should receive SEN Support. Parents and carers must be informed as soon as SEN Support begins.
Children who receive SEN Support usually have a written plan or a provision map prepared for them that describes what additional or different support the school will offer, and how parents/carers and the school will work together to help the child make progress. Our schools will work together with parents/carers to plan and monitor the impact of the SEN Support.
SEN Support might include extra help with reading, writing and maths but might also focus on speaking and listening, visual enhancement, motor/movement or mobility skills or social and emotional development. SEN Support can be delivered by staff from the school or from outside professionals such as specialist teachers. Even when support is delivered by these external professionals, it is the responsibility of the child’s class teacher to monitor the progress the child is making as part of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle. This is presented in more detail in the Criteria for EHCP Assessment.
Schools have a number of approaches and programmes that they use to support children with social, emotional or mental health difficulties, and schools can also ask for advice from external specialists to tailor these approaches for individual needs. Underpinning this work is the on-going focus in Coventry schools to prevent bullying of any kind.
Children can receive support from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.