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FAQs - In School & Educational Support Services

Child in thought
In this section of the website you will find frequently asked questions about particular issues or situations that affect children and young people and their parents. It is hoped that the answers to these questions will offer people useful information and advice, including links to other websites where appropriate.
What provision is there for children with special educational needs?
All schools have some resources and provision for meeting the special educational needs of their pupils. At whatever stage of a child's life these become evident, schools have processes for discussing these with you, for assessing those needs and making suitable arrangements to have them met. In the majority of cases special educational needs are met within the school itself. The school can also call on a variety of support and expertise from various in school and educational support services.

If a school considers that your child has some special educational needs you will be contacted by the head teacher or special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) so that any difficulties can be addressed. Similarly, if you feel that your child may require some additional help, you should not hesitate to contact the head teacher or SENCO with your concerns.

In a small number of cases, it may appear that additional or different provision needs to be considered, in which case the school may seek your support for a statutory assessment of special educational needs. The outcome of such an assessment can vary considerably depending on the individual child's needs. The outcome can be anything from further suggestions for how the school can help, all the way to the most specialised of special school placements in very unusual cases.


What is a special educational need?
A child may have a Special Educational Need (SEN) if he or she has a learning difficulty and this may have come about for all sorts of reasons. If an SEN is identified, it can result in ‘extra help’ and support being given to your child. This means that your child could receive extra help and support on and around his or her area of difficulty, e.g. numbers, spelling, reading or physical problems.


Who can you talk to about your child’s education where you feel he or she may need help?
In school you can talk to the classroom teacher, the SENCO (Special Education needs Co-ordinator or the Head Teacher. The SENCO is teacher within your child’s school who has the responsibility for monitoring all pupils who have special educational needs.

Out of school you can contact the Special Educational Needs Team or the Parent Partnership Service. They will inform you about special education needs and the options available to you.


What is the Behaviour for Learning Support Service?
The Behaviour Support Service is a specialist teaching service. The team is made up of specialist qualified teachers, an instructor/unqualified teacher and clerical staff. The team provide advice and support with behaviour difficulties, they support the development and implementation of behaviour policies. They observe, assessment and support individual children that require extra support around behavioural issues.

Please check the service directory for further information.


The school wants to refer my child to the Learning Support team, how can they help?
The Learning Support Service is a specialist teaching service. It is made up of teachers with specialist qualifications and experience in helping children with specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia and dyscalculia). They provide consultation and advice, carry out assessments, provide support for individuals and groups and provide training for teachers and other.
Please check the service entry in the directory for further details.


What is the Education Welfare Service?
The Education Welfare Service aims to ensure that children and young people fully benefit from the educational opportunities available to them. To achieve this, the Education Welfare Service works with children and young people, their families, educational services and establishments and other statutory and voluntary agencies.

All schools in Redcar & Cleveland are visited regularly by one of the team of Education Welfare Officers (EWOs). The EWOs encourage regular attendance at school and help to resolve any problems, which may be affecting pupils’ school attendance. The service can also advise and assist in areas such as child protection, bullying, exclusion from school, special educational needs. All of these issues can have a significant effect on attendance.

The law makes parents responsible for ensuring that their children of compulsory school age (5 to 16) receive a suitable, full-time education. In Redcar & Cleveland, the Education Welfare Service (on behalf of the Local Authority) is responsible for ensuring that parents fulfil this duty.


Can I be fined for taking my child on holiday during term time?
Term time holidays should be the exception, not the rule. All family holidays should be taken, as far as possible, during the school holiday periods. Penalty Notices of upto £100 have been introduced through the Anti Social Behaviour Act (February 27th 2004) and could be enforced by the Local Authority if appropriate. Two weeks holiday in term time every year (with no other absences) means that your child can only ever achieve 95% attendance and will miss about two terms in a school career.

'Taking a child out of school for a holiday during term time without the Headteacher's permission is unacceptable and will be treated as truancy.' Ivan Lewis, Education Minister (30/12/2003)


What is EOTAS?
EOTAS stands for Education Other Than At School.

This service is provided by the Education Department to provide education for pupils who are excluded from school and to pupils who are unable to attend school because of illness. The service entry for the directory can be found in this directory


My child has been threatened with exclusion from his school. What is exclusion and what are my rights as a parent?
When a child or young person is excluded from school it can be a difficult and upsetting time for them and their families. Only the head teacher can exclude a pupil. In the absence of the head teacher the most senior member of staff present may decide to exclude a pupil.

A decision to exclude a pupil should only be taken:
  • in response to serious breaches of the school’s behaviour policy
  • if allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school
There are two types of exclusion:

1. Fixed exclusions:
These are for a limited specified number of days and there is a clear date for the pupil to return to school. A pupil cannot be excluded for more than 45 days in a school year. During the time a pupil is excluded for a fixed period the school remains responsible for setting and marking school work for the pupil.

2. Permanent exclusions:
These areusually the final step in a process of dealing with disciplinary offences after all other methods have been tried without success. However a head teacher can exclude a pupil for a serious “one-off” offence. Until the end of the exclusion process the school is still responsible for making continued arrangements for the pupil’s education.


For both types of exclusion parents have the right to put their case in writing to the school governors. In some circumstances parents have an automatic right to meet the governors in person to put their case forward if they disagree with the governor’s original decision. For permanent exclusions parents also have the right to appeal to an independent panel if the governors have upheld the permanent exclusion


I am disabled and would like to continue my education, but not at school. Are there places for my particular needs?
Yes there are. Specialist Colleges provide for a broad range of learners by offering a wide choice of innovative, high quality education and training to meet the needs of people with disabilities and learning disabilities. Speak to your Teacher of Careers Adviser in school or visit the website www.natspec.org.uk (National Specialist College)


What provision is available for preschool children with complex needs and how do I access these services?
There is a range of provision for preschool children with complex special needs. Practitioners from Children's Service work closely with practitioners from Health to provide services. There is a home visiting service called portage/early support. Here the portage worker joins with the family to find ways to help the child in their development. Also the portage team run play sessions for children with complex needs and their parents/carer. Children from Redcar and Cleveland sometimes go to the Cleveland Unit, an assessment nursery at James Cook University Hospital. The Cleveland Unit runs joint education and therapy groups as well as the assessment nursery for children who are nursery age. At Dormanstown Primary School there is a specialist assessment nursery class for children with complex needs including children with an autistic spectrum condition. There are two inclusion nursery nurses who support children in mainstream settings across the borough. The portage team run Earlybird courses for parents/carers of children with a newly diagnosed autistic spectrum condition. This is an intensive course delivered over three months. There are practitioners at the Children's Centres who will support children with complex needs to attend play sessions at their local Sure Start.

A referral should be made to the Portage team. This is followed up with an initial home visit. There is an Early Support allocation panel made up of Children's Services staff, therapy staff and a representative from the Cleveland Unit who allocate the most suitable services. This is reviewed on a regular basis with parents/carers. Families can be allocated a keyworker to be sure that they are receiving co-ordinated services with no gaps or duplication.


Do I have to pay for school trips?
Pupils have the right to free school education for activities offered wholly or mainly during the normal teaching time regardless of parent's ability or willingness to help meet the cost .
It is possible to charge for optional activities provided wholly or mainly out of school hours, and each schools governing body have determined its policy. Details are available from head teacher of school concerned.


Does it matter whether you get a diagnosis of disability for your child or not?
Not having a diagnosis may matter very much to you as a parent and it may matter to your child as they get older, so they can understand why they can't walk or see or have an impairment. However, for many practical purposes, it doesn't make any difference whether you have a diagnosis or not. This is because:
  • Treatment, therapy or teaching should be tailored to your child's needs, not to the name of their condition.
  • You're entitled to have a social services assessment of your child's needs and of your needs as a parent or carer, whether your child has a named diagnosis or not.
  • You're entitled to receive benefits such as Disability Living Allowance on the basis of the difficulties that your child has and the support they need. Entitlement does not dependon being able to name the disorder your child has.
  • Your child is entitled to have an extra or different support to help them at school, if they need it. This does not depend on knowing the cause of their learning difficulties.

For more information visit: www.earlysupport.org.uk


My child has been skipping school, how do I know he/she is at school?
Notice what times your child is around, if they should be in school and check up if they say school has allowed them out. You may not even know until you are told by the school or Police.
Find out why your child is missing school and talk about any problems such as bullying or fear of failure. Discuss what your child wants for their future and how to reach short-term goals. If you take an active interest in their education they are more likely to talk to you when problems arise.
For further information and advice please see the Safe Parenting Handbook by visiting www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/childprotection
You can also gain information and advice from the following:-
Parentline Plus 0808 800 2222 www.parentlineplus.org.uk
familylives.org.uk/
www.ukparentslounge.com/