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Understanding SEND Support in Schools (Overview)

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This page is intended as a basic guide to outline the processes, ideas and terms involved in supporting Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in schools and education settings in East Sussex.

It outlines the Universally Available Provision (UAP) in East Sussex. The aim of the UAP is to support all children and young people to attend their local community school and to make sustained academic progress and develop socially and emotionally.

All mainstream schools in East Sussex are expected by law to identify and support children with SEND.

All support for SEND in schools is defined by:

Because each child is unique, their support may vary in type and level to other children and young people with SEND. The support offered will often change through different stages of their education.

There is no one size fits all approach and the parents and carers, schools, and any additional supporting professionals (e.g. Educational Psychologist) will work together with the child or young person to find a package of support that is best for them.

If you are new to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, it might be useful to visit our page:

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Who Supports SEND in Schools?

Every school in East Sussex will provide inclusive high-quality teaching and learning (sometimes called Quality-First Teaching) and every teacher is trained to identify and address SEND as part of their class teaching.

Teachers are supported in each school by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). Every school has a SENCo and their job is to provide expertise on SEND, to lead in the planning of support for children with SEND and coordinate the involvement of specialist and additional services depending on the needs of each child.

Schools may also have some additional staff such as teaching assistants, who are there to support the learning needs of individuals or groups as directed by the class teacher and/or the SENCo.

Schools will also be supported by ISEND and Health Services where necessary.

For more information on ISEND, visit our page on ISEND Services.

To understand more about the role of health services:

The 'Broad Areas of Need'

The type of support a child or young person requires is highly dependent on their individual learning needs. On our page 'Supporting the Broad Areas of Need' we outline the four different areas that a child or young person's needs might fall in:

Please see the Supporting the Broad Areas of Need page of this website for more details.

You can also visit this websites sections on SEND Conditions, Assessments and Diagnosis.

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Levels of Support

SEND support is offered in all schools and the level of support can be tailored to the individual needs of a child or young person. 

A child or young person might require significant support in one area while requiring less or none in another. The levels of support a child requires can change through the different stages of their education. 

In East Sussex the levels of support are described as:

Universal: The support needs of a child or young person can be met through good inclusive high-quality teaching and learning without many adjustments to the learning experience

Targeted: The support needs of a child or young person requires specific adjustments and will include the involvement of the SENCo and possibly additional supporting professionals such as Educational Psychology. A child may be assessed by health services for specific conditions or needs.

Enhanced: The support needs of a child or young person are significant and require a coordinated approach from school staff and supporting professionals. This can include an Education, Health and Care Plan, and possibly include special provision or a special school placement

Deciding the Levels of Support for Each Child or Young Person (Graduated Approach)

The level of support a child or young person needs are determined through a process called the Graduated Approach (often called Assess, Plan, Do, Review for simplicity).

Whatever age your child is, when they have SEND, the school should set out a written plan for how they will be looked after and how their learning will be supported. It may be called an Additional Needs Plan (our preferred term), Specific Support Plan, or a Provision Map (ask your child’s school what they call theirs).

All Additional Needs Plans in East Sussex should follow the same process and steps.

These steps include:

Speak to your child's SENCo to understand their particular process and how you will be involved.

Higher Levels of Need

When a child or young person has higher levels of need their support is usually coordinated via an Education, Health and Care Plan. 

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document which describes:

An EHCP offers more involved and higher level support than an additional needs plan.

You can find out more information by visiting this websites pages on Education, Health and Care Plans.

Higher levels of support will include the involvement of support services from services within ISEND or the NHS.

To understand what different ISEND services do, visit the ISEND Services page.

Additional Help and Support


Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:

East Sussex Local Offer directory of services

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:

NHS - Health A to Z

While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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