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SEN Information Reports - Are You Compliant?

on Friday, 13 January 2017.

Academies and maintained schools sometimes ask us for guidance about the information that they are obliged, by law, to publish on their websites. In this article we highlight one of the more commonly overlooked requirements: the SEN Information Report.

Where does the obligation come from?

Section 69 of the Children and Families Act 2014 placed a statutory duty on the governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools in England, and the proprietors of Academy schools, to prepare a report containing SEN information.

The legal obligation to publish the SEN Information Report (the Report) on the website, can be found in the SEN Code of Practice. This provides that the governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools, and the proprietors of academy schools, must publish information on their websites about the implementation of the governing body’s or the proprietor’s policy for pupils with SEN.

Despite this, recent DfE figures indicate that only 79% of local authorities report that some or all of their schools have an information report.

How is 'SEN information' defined?

The definition is laid out in section 69(3) of the Children and Families Act 2014:

  • information as may be prescribed (by law or the DfE) about the implementation of the governing body’s or proprietor’s policy for pupils at the school with special educational needs
  • information as to -
  1. The arrangements for the admission of disabled persons as pupils at the school
  2. The steps taken to prevent disabled pupils from being treated less favourably than other pupils
  3. The facilities provided to assist access to the school by disabled pupils
  4. The plan prepared by the governing body or proprietor under paragraph 3 of Schedule 10 to the Equality Act 2010 (schools will know this as the Accessibility Plan)

What information must be included in the Report?

The information report must contain:

  • the kinds of special educational needs that are provided for
  • policies for identifying children and young people with SEN and assessing their needs, including the name and contact details of the SENCO (mainstream schools)
  • arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education
  • arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education
  • arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes, including the opportunities available to work with parents and young people as part of the assessment and review process
  • arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood. As young people prepare for adulthood outcomes should reflect their ambitions, which could include higher education, employment, independent living and participation in society
  • the approach to teaching children and young people with SEN
  • how adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN
  • the expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN, including how specialist expertise will be secured
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN
  • how children and young people with SEN are enabled to engage in activities available with children and young people in the school who do not have SEN
  • support for improving emotional and social development. This should include extra pastoral support arrangements for listening to the views of children and young people with SEN and measures to prevent bullying
  • how the school involves other bodies, including health and social care bodies, local authority support services and voluntary sector organisations, in meeting children and young people’s SEN and supporting their families
  • arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school.

In addition, consideration should be given to children and young people looked after by the local authority who have SEN and how they will be supported.

Accessibility of the Report

Schools should also ensure that the information is easily accessible by young people and parents and is set out in clear, straightforward language. It should include information on the school's SEN policy and named contacts within the school for situations where young people or parents have concerns. It should also give details of the school's contribution to the Local Offer and must include information on where the local authority Local Offer is published.

Whilst there is no prescribed format for such reports, in drawing up the Report, schools will need to consider the following key questions:

  • Is the School Information report accessible and easy to find?
  • Has the Report been co-produced?
  • Does it cover all 14 prescribed areas?
  • Is it up to date/has it been reviewed on an annual basis?
  • Is it easy to understand?
  • Does it convey a welcoming message?

For further information on all aspects of SEN, please contact Tracey Eldridge-Hinmers in our Academies team on 020 7665 0802.

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