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Your child at school

Your Child At School Panel

Being a parent or carer of a child with special needs can be both amazing and sometimes challenging.

Everyone needs a little bit of extra support at some point in their lives, and there is support available within Plymouth's schools for you and your family.

In addition to the information and advice below, Plymouth has an Early Help and SEND Advice Line. You can book a conversation with a Family Support Worker to discuss worries or questions.  Just call 01752 668000, or email

The Plymouth Online Directory contains a list of Children's Centresfree childcare options and schools in Plymouth.


What are schools expected to provide?

Schools in Plymouth are expected to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils, including those with special needs. This means that all pupils should have the opportunity to learn and develop in a way that is appropriate for their needs.

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School SEN information reports

All schools must publish a SEN Information Report on their website. The report should be easy to find, put together in a way that families can understand, and reviewed with families each year.

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How are special educational needs identified by schools and early years providers

Slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a child has SEN and should not automatically lead to a pupil being recorded as having special educational needs.

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Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)

A SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) is a teacher who is responsible for coordinating support for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

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Annual reviews for children with special educational needs

An annual review is a meeting that takes place every year to discuss the progress of a child with special educational needs (SEN). It is an opportunity for the child, their parents or carers, and their teachers to come together and discuss the child's needs, goals, and provision.

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Moving from one school to the next can be challenging for any child. For children with special needs or disabilities, transitions require extra planning and support. Transition refers to the process of moving between different stages of education or care services.

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Difficulties with handwriting

Handwriting difficulties can affect children of all ages and abilities. These difficulties can range from difficulty forming letters to poor handwriting speed and messy or illegible handwriting.

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Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects reading and writing. It is a lifelong condition, but with the right support, people with dyslexia can thrive.

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Alternative education provision

The Department for Education's (DfE) definition of an alternative provision is education arranged by local authorities for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education.

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Changing schools

For many reasons, including the disruption to a child's education, it is better that children do not move school other than for normal primary/secondary transfers.

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Post-16 settings

Post-16 settings are required to publish information about how they provide support to students with special educational needs and disabilities.

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