Who's who in SEND?
There are a lot of professionals and services when it comes to SEND, all with different names, roles and abbreviations. Many of which sound very similar! This list is meant as an overview and guide to professionals and services who may be involved.
Every school must have a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator, a SENDCo. The SENDCo is a qualified teacher who is responsible for organising the provision for children with SEND in the school. Mrs Booth is our SENDco
The Head Teachers role in relation to SEND is to oversee the work of the school staff, including the SENDCo.
The SEND Governor sits on the board of governors for a school and is responsible for monitoring and supporting the school with matters relating to SEND. The SEND governor, alongside the Chair of Governors, will also deal with complaints relating to SEND provision.
A Class Teacher plans and teaches lessons. They also assess and monitor the progress of children in their class and highlight to parents and the SENDCo any concerns about a child's development and learning. A class teacher will also implement any support plans put together by the SENDCo and should be involved in reviewing these plans.
A Learning Support Assistant, LSA , provides support to the Class Teacher. They also support the learning of children with SEND, this could be on a whole class, small group or one to one basis. Children with SEND may have a LSA who works with them throughout the school day depending on the plan of support in place for that child.
Local Authority (Central Bedfordshire Council)
An Educational Psychologist, often referred to as an Ed Psych, is a professional who is legally registered to assess a child’s special educational needs and give advice on how to meet the needs of the child. Schools are able to use Educational Psychologists employed by the Local Authority or they may use private Educational Psychologists. An educational Psychologist will be involved in the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessments and may be involved in reviews.
A Specialist Teacher is a teacher who has expertise in working with children with specific needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or those who are visually impaired. They can work directly with the child or can make recommendations for how school staff should work with the child. Teams of specialist teachers are employed by Local Authorities and schools pay for them to come into work with a child. There are also independent businesses that offer services. Large schools with a high intake of children with a certain need may employ a specialist teacher directly.
The Local Authority team who deal with EHC assessment, plans, and reviews, often have a name that is unique to the area but they are generally referred to as the SEND Team. The team is responsible for deciding on and completing EHC Needs Assessments and Plans, school placements and the associated funding, and Annual Reviews. They often make a lot of these decisions through panels where professionals, many of whom are listed here, make decisions in regards to EHC Plans. Again, these panels have names unique to the Local Authority but examples include; Assessment Panel and Placement Panel.
The person responsible for an EHCP for a Child or Young Person is the SEND Caseworker, again their job title is unique to the Local Authority area. They are usually responsible for certain schools in the area and any EHCPs of children attending those schools. Many Local Authorities also have a post-16 team responsible for plans of young people over compulsory school age and may have a complex caseworker responsible for children placed at schools out of the area or who are accessing home learning. The contact details of the team will be available on the Local Offer.
SENDIAS services provide information, advice and support to children and young people with SEN and their parents. They provide impartial advice on the special educational needs system to help the children, their parents and young people to play an active and informed role in their education and care. Although funded by local authorities, SENDIAS Services are run either at arm’s length from the local authority or by a voluntary organisation to ensure children, their parents and young people have confidence in them.
Speech and Language Therapy, known as SALT, is the service that provides assessment and therapy for children who have difficulty with communication. They will often provide a plan of interventions to be delivered in school and sometimes at home. Referrals to SALT depend on the area but can often be made by schools, parents or GP’s.
Occupational Therapy, known as OT, is the service that provides assessment and therapy for children who have difficulty with their gross motor skills (such as running and jumping) and fine motor skills (such as holding a pen and dressing themselves). They can also support children and young people who struggle with sensory processing. They will often provide a plan of interventions to be delivered in school and at home. Referrals to OT depend on the area but can often be made by schools, parents or GP’s.
Physiotherapy, often known as Physio, is the service that provides assessment and therapy for children who have difficulty with mobility, movement, and muscle strength. They will often provide a plan of interventions to be delivered at home and sometimes at school. They can also provide advice on adaptations that can be made to help a child access school activities. Referrals to Physio depend on the area but can often be made by the GP or parents.
CAMHS, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, is the service that provides support to children (usually up to school leaving age) who are experiencing difficulties with their emotional and mental well-being. What is offered by CAMHS depends on the area but they may offer advice, one to one support, family support and online services. Parents can refer to CAMHS, along with professionals such as GP’s or school staff.
Often the Neurodevelopment service sits under CAMHS. This service sees children where there are concerns regarding possible neurodevelopmental conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The service offers assessment, diagnosis, advice and support. Neurodevelopment referrals differ between areas but often GP’s and schools can refer along with parents in some areas.
Paediatricians are doctors who assess, diagnose and manage medical conditions affecting infants, children and adolescents. GP’s can refer to paediatrics.
PALS, the Patient Advice and Liaison Service, operate in each area and offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters, including helping to resolve concerns and make complaints.