Special educational needs
Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. These difficulties could affect their:
- behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
- reading and writing ability
- ability to understand things within the classroom
- concentration levels, for example because they have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- physical ability
Bracknell Forest Local Authority is responsible for the special educational needs of all children and young people living in the borough from the age of 0 to 25 under the Children and Families Act 2014. However, we expect the needs of the majority of students with special educational needs to be met within a school’s SEN Support resources. This will mean that most schools and colleges can meet those needs, without any additional funding.
Assessing for SEND
If your child is in school or nursery, you should firstly speak to your child's teacher if you feel your child is learning more slowly than they should. They will let you know what they are doing to do to address and support your child's area of weakness.
If your child does not progress despite well targeted teaching, you or the teacher should speak to the person in your child's school or nursery responsible for special educational needs (the SENCO).
The SENCO will work with your child's teacher to assess whether your child has special educational needs. They will do this by talking to you and your child and looking at your child's work, progress and behaviour. This is not the formal education, health and care assessment.
The school or nursery must tell you if they think your child has special educational needs and discuss with you what action they plan on taking.
If your child is not in school or nursery contact our special educational needs team or your doctor.
If health problems are affecting your child's learning contact your doctor (for example hearing loss).
Education, Health and Care needs assessment
Your child may need an Education, Health and Care needs assessment if the extra support they are receiving is not helping or they have severe or complex needs.
If Bracknell Forest Local Authority agrees that your child needs to be assessed then the whole process takes 20 weeks from beginning to end. We will write an Education, Health and Care Plan for your child and this Plan will set out what the school needs to do to help your child further. (These used to be called Statements of Special Educational Needs).
If we decide not to write an Education, Health and Care Plan for your child we will tell you why and how their needs will be met inside or outside the school. We will also tell you how you can appeal if you disagree with this decision.
Your child’s school will be able to give you further information on the assessment process.
How to request an assessment
Parents, teachers, doctors, health visitors, family friends and 16 to 25-year-olds themselves can all ask for an assessment.
If you think your child needs an assessment you can request an assessment directly from us. Contact the SEN team to find out what information we will need to help us decide whether to assess your child.
Full information on how to request an assessment can be found in our guidance on requesting an EHCP assessment leaflet (PDF, 3998kb).
Local Authorities are required to publish information online about services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aged 0 to 25. This is done through the Local Offer.
The Local Offer provides accurate and easy to understand information for professionals, parents, carers and young people about services available to them together with information on how they can access these services.
The Local Offer also puts all of the information in one place regarding health care, social care, education, leisure activities and support groups available in the area. The Local Offer explains the additional or different provision provided for children who have Special Educational Needs.
See Bracknell Forest Local Offer for details on services available.
You can find more detailed information in the documents below:
- BF Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) - guide for parents and carers
- DfE Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) - guide for parents and carers
- Guidance on how to request a Education, Care and Health Plan (EHCP) assessment
- Guidance and application form to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment
- Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) - information leaflet
- SEND code of practice (PDF, 2532kb)
- Early years guide to SEND code of practice (PDF, 274kb)
- Further education: guide to SEND Code of Practice (PDF, 243kb)
- SEN education transport policy 2016 to 2017 (PDF, 519kb)
- SEN education transport policy 2017 to 2018 (PDF, 418kb)