What is a statement of special educational needs?
Why would a child need a special educational needs statement?
The Education Northern Ireland order determines that a child needs astatement
if the child’s learning difficulty or a disability hinders the child’s learning,
or environment to learn.
If you feel that your child has significantly greater difficulty in learning due
to their disability/difficulties than the majority of children of the same age,
and or has a disability/difficulty that hinders their use of the everyday
educational facilities; then your child needs a statement of special educational
What support and help can I ask for my child?
How to access a statement of special educational needs for my child?
Parents first port of call is to contact the Education department at Rathgael
Tel: 028 9127 9279
Ask for a copy of the Code of Practice on the Identification & Assessment of Special Educational Needs. (This is free to all parents.) This book will give you ALL the information you will require on the statementing process.
If the school is not or does not recognise that your child is having difficulty within school, YOU as a parent have the right to ask for a statutory assessment to be carried out.
(a) contact the school in writing asking for a statutory assessment and quote point (1)
(Keep all copies of letters).
(b) If the school refuses then write a request to the Education board’s special educational needs department requesting a statutory assessment quoting point (1). ( keep all copies of letters)
What is the statutory process for a statement of special educational needs?
There are 5 stages to the statutory assessment for a statement of special educational needs
· Stages 1-3 are School based assessment and provision.
· Stage 4 The Board Assessment of the need for a statement (statutory assessment of the child’s needs)
· Stage 5 If the board considers appropriate a statement is arranged.
The schools SEN co-ordinator should
Information gathering by the class teacher and the SEN co-ordinator must include
The class teacher can decide that the child needs no further help and support or whether the child will move to stage 2. Parents should always be kept informed of what extra help the child is getting and when this will be reviewed.
Stage 2 begins when the teachers and parents decide that early intensive action is needed to help the child. This is when the SEN co-ordinator takes the lead, assessing the child’s difficulty, planning, monitoring and reviewing educational provision.
IEP what should you expect to see on this document.
The IEP is NOT what the child is supposed to do, it is about what the school is going to do to help and support a child in need.
SEN co-ordinator at the school sets a stage 3 review meeting. It is at this
meeting that the child’s progress and effectiveness of the IEP is discussed. If
the child is meeting the targets in their IEP then the child may remain at stage
3 or returns to stage 2/1. If the child is not meeting the targets in the IEP
then they can remain at stage 3 or the Principal can request a statutory
Stage 4 Involves the Boards decision as to whether to start a Statutory assessment of the child’s needs. This assessment will not always lead to the board providing a statement. This is the information gathering stage as to whether the child’s needs, can be met within the school.
Referral to stage 4 can be made by the parent or the school.
Schools should provide the board with the following information
· The parents views, the assessment, actions and support given to date.
· Medical advice
· If appropriate, Social Services
· Written IEP’S at stage 2 & 3 and outcomes
· Reviews of IEP’S
· Any involvement of specialists
Parents should note that when the Board has looked at all this information the board will inform them as to whether they are going to provide a notice of proposal, as to whether they are going to provide a statement of special educational needs, or not; giving its reasons.
The Board must copy such a proposal to the local trust and to the school principal, and copies should also be sent to Educational Psychology and other agencies that the board may approach for advice.
Arrangement of a statement
The form and content of a special educational needs statement is as follows
Introduction – The child’s name, address and date of birth and the name, address of child’s parents/ carers
Details of the child’s special educational needs
Giving a description of the child’s disabilities and difficulties of what the child can and cannot do. It must refer to the advice given in the appendices given. It should say any conflicting opinions given, giving reasons for the board’s conclusions on those opinions.
Part 3 is divided into 3 subsections
A - The objectives of the provision to be achieved.
B - Details of each of the child’s difficulties, any modifications to the curriculum necessary in terms of targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements, any special examination provision recommended, any provision should be specific, detailed and quantified i.e. Hours of classroom assistance or special teaching support the child may need.
C - Specific arrangements made setting short term educational targets, special arrangement to be made and an annual review and evaluation of the child’s progress.
School placement & naming of the school
Please note this will be blank on the proposed statement and will only have the name of the school when a final statement is issued.
Non educational needs of the child
Which either the board proposes to met or is satisfied will be met, by the board or otherwise trusts. This could be speech and language, occupational therapy or psychology. It is up to the parents in most cases to assure that this is written in part 5 if they feel the child needs any of the above
Non educational provision
This is where the board should specify the child’s needs as mentioned in part 5 stating the objectives to be achieved by this provision and the arrangements agreed by the board or the providing body, setting out clearly and accurately the nature and quantity of that provision.
What is a proposed Statement?
A proposed statement is a document that contains parts 1-6 of the statement and copies of all the advice submitted during the assessment of the child’s needs. It is up to the parents to review all the information given before they either agree or disagree with the information advice and support the board feels adequate to meet the child’s needs.
If the parents agree to what is contained within the proposed statement, and the provisions that the board is going to make for the child, then the board will issue a statement of special educational needs naming the school in part 4( after consulting with the parents).
If the parents do not agree they have 15 days to contact the board giving written reasons as to why they disagree and what they feel should be added to the statement to help the child (it is possible to ask for an extension of the 15 days by writing to the board giving reasons as to why).
The board will either reissue another (amended) proposed statement, or issue the statement as is, and later the board should supply parents with the information on the route to asking for a Special Educational Needs tribunal.
Special Educational Tribunal
If parents choose this route an educational solicitor will be able to correlate the relevant information needed for a tribunal under the child’s name and the child can receive Legal Aid for this service.
How long does a statement last?
· A statement should last for as long as the child needs help and support to access education.
· It can be reviewed after 6 months if the child needs further help and support or if the child changes school; or is diagnosed with another disability.
· Statement should be reviewed yearly.