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In this section you will find information and advice about how schools and other education settings can support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

We will also guide you to relevant resources, services and support available for children and young people's educational needs in Waltham Forest.


SEN Support


Most children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) go to a mainstream school.


Mainstream schools must do everything they can to make sure children with SEN get the extra support they need to achieve as well as they can. The school does this through a system called SEN Support in mainstream schools.


A graduated approach

The SEND Code of Practice says: 


Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.        (6.44)


When your child is identified as having SEN, the school should use a graduated approach based on four steps. These are:



Flow chart of the steps of a graduated approach: Assess, plan, do, review




Teaching staff should work with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator to assess your child’s needs, so that they give the right support. They should involve you in this and, where possible, seek your child’s views.


The SEND Code of Practice says: 


Schools should take seriously any concerns raised by a parent.         (6.45)


Sometimes schools will seek advice from a specialist teacher or a health professional. They should talk to you about this first.



If the school decides that your child needs SEN support it must tell you. The school should agree with you the outcomes that will be set, what help will be provided and a date for progress to be reviewed. 



Your child’s class or subject teacher is usually responsible for the work that is done with your child, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved. The school should tell you who is responsible for the support your child receives.


All those who work with your child should be made aware of:

their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies or approaches that are required.         (6.49)



The SEND Code of Practice says:

Schools should meet with parents at least three times a year.         (6.65)


The school should review your child’s progress, and the difference that the help your child has been given has made, on the date agreed in the plan. You and your child should be involved in the review and in planning the next step.


If your child has not responded to the help they were given, the review should decide what can be done next. This may include more or different help. 


Sometimes it helps to involve other professionals to investigate the difficulties or to plan the next steps. 


You and the school can look at the Local Offer to see what support should be available that could help achieve your child’s outcomes.


Sometimes the next step may be to ask the local authority for an EHC needs assessment. If the school decides to do this they must tell you. If you think it is needed you can ask for it yourself.


For more information on EHC needs assessments, please visit our Education, Health and Care Plans section of the website.


Further information sources

For more detailed information, please have a look at our SEN Support information leaflet.


Special Needs Jungle have also developed a helpful flowchart which demonstrates how SEN Support in schools works.


For more information on funding for SEN Support in Mainstream Schools you can download our information leaflet.


Post 16 education


A young person with special educational needs may need particular support as they plan for the next stage of their education or for moving into adulthood. The SEN system places particular focus on helping young people above 16 prepare for their future.


What support is there to help my child prepare for the future?

Schools must include preparation for adult life in the curriculum and provide independent career advice to young people from age 13 onwards. This includes advice tailored to the needs of young people with SEN and disabilities. Planning should start early and young people should be at the centre of the process.


For pupils with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, preparation for adulthood must start when the plan is reviewed in year 9 (age 13/14) and continue every year after that. This should focus on what your child will need to support their move into adult life, including further education, employment, independent living, relationships and staying healthy.  


What are my child's options after they turn 16?

Your child can leave school at the end of the school year in which they turn 16 (normally the end of year 11), but this does not mean the end of education. All young people are now expected to stay in some kind of education or training until they are 18. This can be combined with paid or voluntary work.


Your child could:

  • Stay on at their school or in another school
  • Go to a further education college (mainstream or specialist)
  • Do an apprenticeship
  • Do a programme of training and work experience

Support in college

Mainstream colleges must support students with SEN in a similar way to schools do. This includes doing everything they can to identify the needs of students with SEN and putting in place the help they need through SEN support. There should be a named person in charge of support for students with SEN. Students who need more help than the college could normally provide may need an EHC needs assessment and an EHC plan.    


Can my child still have an EHC plan if they leave school?

An EHC plan does not have to end when your child leaves school. Your child can continue to have a plan up to age 25 as long as they still have SEN and stay in some kind of education or training.


If your child's statement has ended, or they never had a statement, you or your child will be able to ask the local authority to do an EHC needs assessment to decide if they need an EHC plan.   


Young people and the right to decide

Once they are over 16 your child becomes a "young person." This gives them the right to make their own decisions about their support, including the right to appeal to tribunal, control a personal budget and decide where they want to be educated. The local authority must make sure independent information, advice and support is available to help young people give their views and make decisions.


Your child may still want your support to make decisions, and some young people will need their parents to continue to make decisions on their behalf if they are not able to make decisions for themselves.   




SEN Transport Law

Your child may be eligible for free or subsidised travel to and from school. The law requires the LA to arrange free, suitable, home to school transport for children of compulsory school age who are “eligible” to their nearest suitable school.


Having SEN and or a disability is one of the criteria for being an eligible child.


You can find out more on SEN Transport Law from the IPSEA website.


Contact also have some useful information on their website.



What Is Exclusion?

Exclusion is the formal sending home of a pupil from school for disciplinary reasons. There are two types of exclusion - fixed term (temporary excluded) or permanent (expelled). A pupil is not allowed in school while they are excluded.


All state-funded mainstream and special schools, including academies and free schools, must follow government statutory guidance on exclusions. The information on this page is about exclusions from state-funded schools and pupil referral units. Independent schools do not have to follow this guidance, and they will have their own exclusion procedures.


Schools must have a behaviour policy setting out the school rules and the consequences if pupils break the rules, including the circumstances where exclusion might be used. In some situations, a pupil can be excluded for behaviour outside school. Exclusion may be for a series of incidents, often described as "persistent disruptive behaviour", or for more serious "one off" incidents.


Fixed-term Exclusion

A school can exclude for a set number of days, up to a maximum of 45 days in a school year. A lunchtime exclusion counts as half a day.


When the exclusion has ended, your child must be allowed back to school. The head teacher cannot extend an exclusion, but they may issue a new fixed-term or permanent exclusion to begin straight after the first. This should only be done in exceptional circumstances, for example if new information has come to light.


The school should invite you and your child to a reintegration meeting on the day your child returns to school. However, your child must still be allowed in school even if you cannot attend a reintegration meeting.


Your child's education during fixed-term exclusion

During the first five days of an exclusion, the school should take reasonable steps to set and mark work for your child. For longer exclusions, the school must arrange suitable full-time alternative education to begin from the sixth day of the exclusion. This may be in a pupil referral unit (PRU).


Challenging a fixed-term exclusion

For all exclusions, you can put your views in writing to the school governors. This is called "making representations". The governors have the power to decide whether the head teacher made the right decision. In some cases they can overturn the exclusion and reinstate your child.


See the table below for information about the governors' role in considering an exclusion.


Permanent Exclusion

A permanent exclusion should be issued only:

  • In response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school behaviour policy


  • Where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

Your child's education during permanent exclusion

During the first five days of an exclusion, the school should take reasonable steps to set and mark work for your child. From the sixth day, the local authority must arrange suitable alternative education for your child. This may be in a pupil referral unit (PRU).


In the longer term, the local authority should find a place in another school for your child.


You can also apply to other schools. However, a school can refuse to accept a child if they have been permanently excluded twice already within the last two years, and in some circumstances they can refuse pupils with challenging behaviour.


If your child has an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, an exclusion, or the threat of one, an emergency review of the plan should be triggered. The local authority must make sure that any alternative provision is able to meet your child's special educational needs (SEN) as set out in the EHC plan.


Challenging a permanent exclusion

The governors must meet within 15 school days to review the exclusion. You have the right to attend the meeting and to put your views to the governors. The governors must consider whether the head teacher's decision was lawful, reasonable and fair. They have the power to overturn the exclusion and allow your child back to school. They can also overturn the exclusion and reinstate your child in principle, even if you do not want your child to return to the school.


If the governors agree with the head teacher and uphold the decision, they must write to you to let you know. You have 15 school days from the date of the letter to ask for an Independent Review Panel (IRP) to consider the exclusion. The IRP hearing must take place within 15 school days of your request.


You can ask for a SEN expert to attend this hearing. The SEN expert's role is to inform the panel of how SEN may be relevant to the exclusion. The IRP panel cannot overturn the decision to exclude, but they can recommend or direct the governors to reconsider the decision.


Illegal Exclusions

There are no other types of exclusion.  If a child or a young person is sent off to ‘cool off’,  or you are informed that you must keep your child at home because the nursery/school are unable to cope and are unable to meet the child’s special needs or cope with a disability,  this is unlawful. These type of ‘off the book’ exclusions are known as informal or illegal exclusions. Schools are not allowed to do this and it is unlawful.


Waltham Forest SENDIASS Can Help

Waltham Forest SENDIASS can offer information and support on all aspects of exclusions to parents/carers of children with SEN and young people with SEN.

We will work with you and schools to try to prevent exclusions.

If your child has special educational needs or disability and you are worried about your child being excluded or is at risk of exclusion from school, contact us.

We can support you by:

  • Listening to your concerns
  • Explain what might happen and the procedures involved
  • Help you prepare for school meetings relating to exclusion
  • Support you at school meetings

For more information on exclusions, you can also visit the following websites:



Council For Disabled Children - Guide to EHC Plans