Frequently asked questions

How can the young person be involved in making decisions about school?

How do schools organise support for young people with special educational needs?

Do schools get any extra money to help young people with special educational needs?

Who will be my first point of contact when my child starts secondary school?

How do schools appoint teaching assistants to work with young people with additional needs?

How will new staff know how to cater for my child’s individual needs?

How will I know what my child is learning and what his/her individual targets are?

How do secondary schools review the progress of young people with special educational needs?

How do schools address bullying?

What support is available to help my child travel to school?

What are the arrangements for breaktimes and lunchtimes so that the school can ensure young people’s safety?

Will my child be able to attend school clubs?

How will my child’s medical needs be managed? What are the arrangements for medicines and inhalers?

How will my child be supported in developing personal care and independence?

My child is anxious about the move to secondary school. How will the school support them?

Can my child’s physiotherapy be incorporated into the school day?

What about speech and language therapy programmes?

Can parents go in to school to help in the classroom?

How will my child access school trips and outings? Can parents go on school trips as helpers?

How big are the classes?

How will I know what is going on in school?

How can I get involved?

Will my child be given homework?

What if my child has continence issues?

What if my child uses symbols to support their communication?

What happens if your child has to spend time in hospital or at home for medical reasons?

Do students have to wear school uniform?

What happens with exams?

 

How can the young person be involved in making decisions about school?

It is important that each young person is involved in making decisions about the move to secondary school. Young people can be involved in different ways and you will know what will suit your child best.

This could include:

• talking about the move to secondary school with your child;

• attending the autumn term open evenings held in the secondary schools you are considering;

• looking at the school prospectus/school website;

• involving them in a visit to a preferred secondary school to meet key members of staff.

If your child has a statement or an Education Health and Care Plan ask for a person centred review meeting and help them to be involved in these discussions and transition plans. Even if you feel your child has difficulty communicating with speech, there are other ways to make sure they can be involved. The local authority has produced a series of booklets entitled ‘Listen to Me’ that may be helpful:

W:www.yor-ok.org.uk/disabilities.htm

How do schools organise support for young people with special educational needs?

Schools organise their support for special educational needs in different ways. All young people have their learning planned, coordinated and evaluated by subject teachers.

Some schools have teaching assistants who work with individual students or groups of young people. Others have teaching assistants who are attached to classes or subjects throughout the school. It is important to ask about how support is organised in the schools you visit.

Do schools get any extra money to help young people with special educational needs?

All schools who have students with special educational needs receive additional funding from the local authority.

This funding is used by the school to meet the needs of their students who have special educational needs/additional needs or who are disabled. Currently schools can provide up to 15 hours of support to students with special educational needs/additional needs from this fund. Schools are accountable for the way this money is used and the local authority has an overall responsibility to ensure that all students have their special educational or additional needs met with appropriate provision.

"There is tons of help available, so be sure to take it". Parent of young person going on to mainstream school

A small proportion of students may require a higher level of funding than that already delegated to schools and the local authority will provide this to schools, on an individual basis, for named students with a statement of special educational needs. The local authority monitors provision and arrangements for students with a statement of special educational needs.

Who will be my first point of contact when my child starts secondary school?

This may be the SENCo, head of year, form tutor or nominated lead practitioner. It is important to clarify who this is and how you can best contact them e.g. by email or telephone.

Top Tip - If you have any questions about how additional support would be provided for your child, ask the SENCo or contact York SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (formally Parent Partnership Service).

How do schools appoint teaching assistants to work with young people with additional needs?

Schools may already have a member of staff in mind who has the skills and experience to support your child’s particular needs.

Alternatively the school may decide to advertise for a new member of staff. You can share information about our child’s specific needs with the SENCo. Together, with information from the primary school and other professionals, this can help the school to identify appropriate staff to support your child.

How will new staff know how to cater for my child’s individual needs?

SENCos will share key information with all relevant staff. Teachers will use all the information provided by previous schools and other professionals to plan for your child’s learning. Any therapy targets will be included into the plans for the school day.

How will I know what my child is learning and what his/her individual targets are?

Schools are required to involve parent/carers in setting targets for their child’s learning. Young people at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs may have individual education plans (IEPs).

Alternatively the school may identify appropriate support and how it is delivered, for example through a provision map. Young people should be actively involved in their learning and the setting and reviewing of appropriate and meaningful targets. Ask specifically how this is organised as it varies from school to school.

How do secondary schools review the progress of young people with special educational needs?

Teachers and/or the SENCo will invite parent/carers to meet with them in school to discuss a student’s progress towards individual targets. You will be able to discuss the next steps and agree new targets for your child.

In addition to these regular progress reviews, where a young person has a statement of special educational needs/an education, health and care plan, this will be comprehensively reviewed. Currently, this is completed through the annual review process each year. This is a legal requirement of the statement and provides an opportunity for parents, students, teachers and professionals to have a say about how things are going. Support and provision will be reviewed and overall targets will be set for the coming year. This is also a chance to talk about what is going well, what can be improved and what achievements or progress everyone can celebrate.Students will be offered support to participate in their review meetings. Parent/carers will be asked for their views and to identify what they would like to discuss at the meeting.

The ‘Listen to Me’ booklets include more information on how schools and families can support students to participate in review meetings.

Listen to Me booklets can be viewed and downloaded from: www.yor-ok.org.uk/disabilities.htm

How do schools address bullying?

All schools want to ensure your child will be safe and happy at school. Bullying is not tolerated and every school will have agreed strategies for dealing with bullying.

It is important that you work in partnership with the school and let the school know if you have any concerns. Schools should have an anti-bullying policy that you can ask to see.

Top Tip - You should encourage your child to talk to you or their teacher about any concerns they have in school or if they are being bullied.

What support is available to help my child travel to school?

Some young people travel to school independently. Others may be supported to develop these skills. York Independent Living and Travel Skills (YILTS) is a service that can help your child to travel safely on their own between school and home.

Your primary school or new secondary school can refer your child to YILTS and you will be contacted to agree a plan of practical support that will enable your child to travel independently. This might mean practising a route with an experienced trainer by bike, by bus or on foot, reading a timetable and what to do in unexpected situations. YILTS will provide a free bus pass for up to one year for your child to use on their trip to school when they start to travel independently.

Telephone: 01904 554302

Email: peta.hatton@york.gov.uk

Top Tip - If your child can travel independently, it is a good idea to do a few practice journeys with them so that your child can be confident about travelling to school on their own when term starts. Travelling at the same time that they will be going to school will give them an idea of how busy traffic is or when the bus comes and so on.

‘I am particularly indebted to the service offered by Peta and the YILTS team. It was a Godsend, and I loved the approach, which matched my daughter’s needs perfectly.’ Parent

Home to school transport may be provided for some young people who have a statement of special educational needs and are unable to travel to school independently.

All requests for transport can be made through school and are considered by the local authority’s education officer, special educational needs & transport. Every request is considered on an individual basis.

Telephone: 01904 554301

Where transport is provided, sharing information about your child’s individual needs is important to support the transport provider. This can be done by completing an individual travel plan. All drivers and escorts have undertaken the level 1 disability equality training and received further training on communication and autism. The transport provider will contact you before your child starts school and offer a home visit to discuss your child’s travel plan. Drivers and escorts are not allowed to give any medicines, however, it is important that they are able to recognise an emergency for your child. You can discuss any issues with the transport liaison officers at Streamline Taxis.

Contact: Streamline Taxis

Telephone: 01904 615288

Email:transport@streamlinetaxisyork.co.uk 

What are the arrangements for breaktimes and lunchtimes so that the school can ensure young people’s safety?

All schools have systems in place to ensure that members of staff know which young people require closer supervision or additional help at breaktimes and lunchtimes. This will be done in a variety of ways in different schools.

Will my child be able to attend school clubs?

Many schools have before and after school clubs. Many secondary schools will run after school homework sessions.

There may be charges for attending extended school activities. Many staff have received training about working with young people with special educational needs and disabled young people. You will still need to tell them about your own child. If your child stays at an after school club, you will be responsible for their transport home.

How will my child’s medical needs be managed? What are the arrangements for medicines and inhalers?

All schools require any medicines to be handed in at the school office and stored securely.

Schools may be happy to administer prescription medicines. Many family doctors will prescribe medicines that can be taken before and after school. If a student has ongoing medical needs, the school should have a healthcare plan in place. All schools must have a managing medicines policy and you can ask to see this.

How will my child be supported in developing personal care and independence?

All young people are encouraged to develop independence and self-help skills at school.

However, students who have high support needs may have help during the day from a teaching assistant (TA) or midday supervisor assistant (MSA). You will be asked to help staff develop a plan for your child, which takes into account their privacy and dignity.

My child is anxious about the move to secondary school. How will the school support them?

Discuss any concerns you have with the SENCo. The school will then take account of these when they are planning the transition programme for your child and the support they may require in the first weeks in a new school. Schools can provide a range of support tailored to the needs of the individual e.g. additional transition visits, support at break and lunch times, buddying with a named student and mentoring/support on arrival.

You will be able to agree a plan for the beginning of the school term that will help your child to settle into secondary school.

"The first couple of weeks were very hard, but the SENCo, teaching assistants and other staff all spoke to him and worked with him to address his concerns. I am really pleased with how well the school has accommodated my son’s needs and am confident that with the support he has been given my son is a valuable member of the school community". Parent

Can my child’s physiotherapy be incorporated into the school day?

This will need to be discussed with the physiotherapist and the school SENCo.

If students need exercise during the day, the physiotherapist will liaise with school to plan the most appropriate time and place. The physiotherapist will arrange to train the relevant member(s) of staff and provide the school with a written programme to follow. Physiotherapy in school is normally supervised by a teaching assistant and monitored termly by the physiotherapist.

What about speech and language therapy programmes?

If a young person needs help with communication and language development, the speech and language therapist will recommend activities to school.

Speech and language therapy in schools is normally delivered by a trained teaching assistant. The speech and language therapist will monitor students’ progress, in liaison with parent/carers and school.

Can parents go in to school to help in the classroom?

This is not as common at secondary school as at primary school. Ask the school about this if you would like to offer to help. You would need to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check - formerly CRB - before volunteering in a school.

How will my child access school trips and outings? Can parents go on school trips as helpers?

All schools plan in advance for school trips using a web-based planning tool.

This includes specific questions about disabled young people and young people with special educational needs/additional needs. Members of staff will plan the practical aspects of trips and outings to ensure your child is involved. The school may be pleased to have your help on school trips. Check with the school. It may be necessary to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before helping on school trips.

How big are the classes?

Class size will vary from school to school and subject to subject. Some schools are able to offer small classes/sets of 8 - 10 students in certain subjects, whilst the majority of classes will be 30+ students. Schools often have a learning support unit which can provide some extra support for students with special educational needs/additional needs. A number of schools provide support for vulnerable students starting in year 7, with special transition classes. Ask the school for specific details of class sizes.

How will I know what is going on in school?

Most schools send or email newsletters home, update their website and have a texting service. This will be done differently in each school.

On a day to day basis, some students with complex needs may have an individual ‘Home-School’ book to help with communication. You can talk to your SENCo about this.

How can I get involved?

If you want to get involved in school life there are many things you can do.

Each school will have different opportunities and you need to ask at your child’s school. The opportunities include joining a parent teacher association and becoming a regular volunteer or school governor. You may also be able to help out at school sports day, the after school club or events.

Top Tip - Tell school about anything that is affecting your child such as family bereavement, health issues or divorce. School will be sympathetic and support your child.

Will my child be given homework?

Each school will have its own policy on homework but in secondary schools your child will be expected to do homework. Some schools will have homework clubs. You should ask what arrangements can be made for your child to participate.

Your child may need help from a teaching assistant to ensure that they understand what their homework is.

Top Tip - If homework is a problem for your child, talk to their SENCo.

What if my child has continence issues?

All schools must adhere to the Equality Act 2010 with regard to providing personal care for students.

Under the Equality Act 2010, incontinence is defined as an impairment which may affect day to day activities. Schools should provide a disabled toilet and/or changing area and ensure that students’ privacy, dignity and safety is maintained at all times. Continence management is normally included in the job description for care staff/teaching assistants. Parent/carers will be involved in agreeing a care plan for their child. Continence pads/wipes are provided by parents.

What if my child uses symbols to support their communication?

The local authority has worked with a large number of organisations to ensure that symbols are used consistently in schools, children’s centres, leisure centres, short break centres, out of school clubs etc.

You can talk to your SENCo about continuing to use symbols and about ways to support communication at home.

What happens if your child has to spend time in hospital or at home for medical reasons?

Teaching is provided every morning during term time for students who are in-patients at York Hospital.

Young people who are at home but unable to attend school due to medical reasons may be entitled to home tuition. You will need to contact your SENCo to discuss this.

Telephone: Hospital and Home Teaching Team 01904 554320

Do students have to wear school uniform?

Each school will have its own policy about school uniform and you will need to follow the policy. If you have difficulties paying for school uniform contact:

Telephone: 01904 551554

Email: education@york.gov.uk

What happens with exams?

If your child requires help to understand the lessons, they may be entitled to help during exams and assessments.

Examination boards need to make reasonable adjustments to ensure young people with special educational needs are not disadvantaged when taking exams. You need to talk to your school SENCo if there needs to be any special arrangements for exams and assessments.

‘His class teacher from Applefields came to school to see him working in a classroom environment, which I was really pleased about.’ Parent of a young person moving to Applefields School

Family Information Service

01904 554444

fis@york.gov.uk