Help available in mainstream education

Find out what help is available in mainstream education

Most children with special educational needs and disabilities can receive the help they need in mainstream education. This includes when at nursery, at primary or secondary school or at college.

In Essex, there is a teaching framework that we call the Ordinarily Available. This describes what good support in school looks like

If you think your child might need extra support, there are people you can speak to.

Who to speak to

The first person to speak to could be your child’s teacher, or key worker in a nursery setting. Trust your instincts and speak to who you feel knows your child best.

Many issues can be addressed by a class teacher. If your child's needs are more than their teacher can help with, they can refer you to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They can work with you and professionals to plan support for your child.

What is a SENCO and how can they help

A Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is a staff member who’s responsible for making sure children with extra needs receive the help they need. They are your point of contact. They support with:

  • the identification of children with special educational needs
  • resources to help with individual needs
  • speaking with parents to make sure children are receiving the right help for them
  • speaking with providers outside of school, for example educational psychologists

A SENCO’s goal is to develop ways of overcoming barriers to your child's learning.

Find advice on how to speak to your SENCO on Scope's website.

What a SEND Inclusion Partner is and how they can help  

Inclusion Partners (IPs) work with and support early years’ settings, schools and colleges to better support children and young people aged 0 to 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). All educational settings in Essex have an Inclusion Partner.  

They work in collaboration with Educational Psychologists (EPs), Engagement Facilitators (EFs) and other education teams to promote and put in place inclusive practice and improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND.   

What they do is agreed with the educational setting. This can include:  

  • consultations  
  • training  
  • supporting the school's strategic development to better meet the needs of students  

Parents and carers cannot refer themselves to the service. But, IPs do work with families in collaboration with settings and schools. Speak to your SENCO if you think an IP could be useful for your child’s school.   

What a SEND Engagement Facilitator (EF) is and how they can help  

Engagement Facilitators offer support to children and young people aged 0 to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families.   

They provide support at times of change, challenge and transition to help make sure your child feels included in their educational setting.  

Help they offer includes:  

  • making sure the voice of the pupil and parent or carer is at the centre of all discussions.  
  • making sure effective One Planning is in place  
  • signposting and support to access services across Education, Health and Care systems   
  • relationship building with the setting, school or college  
  • support with transitions  

Parents and carers can not refer directly for EF involvement.

If you think an EF could be involved to support the planning for your child, talk to your SENCO.

How to prepare for a conversation with your school

It can help to write down a list of things you have noticed to speak to your school about.

This could include:

  • what makes you think your child has special educational needs
  • what people working with your child have noticed
  • find out what you can do to help
  • what the school can do to help
  • any difficulties your child experiences outside of school

There is useful guidance on how to speak to your school on the SENDIASS website.