What does it mean if DS is put on Special Needs Register?

(30 Posts)
MeanBean Wed 15-Sep-04 21:46:37

I've mentioned this on another thread, but today I got a letter from something called Senco (which I've never heard of) telling me that my DS's level of need has been raised to School Action. He started in reception in January and has just gone back into Y1.

He is 5 and 3 months, and as far as I know, it is simply because he cannot yet read. Although they haven't actually said that - they haven't said anything in the letter, just that they want to give him "greater support".

If it were just a question of giving him more reading lessons, although I think that is entirely unnecessary (plenty of time for him to learn to read), I'd reluctantly go along with it. (Reluctantly because I don't want him to be pushed to do something quickly which he may not be ready to do at all yet and I don't want him to be demoralised and start seeing learning to read as a chore not a pleasure.) But I'm slightly uneasy about him being labelled as behind so soon into the new term without any warning last year.

Am I worrying about nothing? Is this something I should welcome or be suspicious of?

roisin Wed 15-Sep-04 21:51:59

SENCO is the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.

Being on the SEN register is nothing to worry about at all. It means your child is having particular difficulties in a particular area of the curriculum, and they will draw up an individual learning plan (ILP) to make sure his individual needs are addressed and he is given extra support. Please don't worry about it.

Btw our school usually has 20-25% of pupils on SEN register at any one time.

Rowlers Wed 15-Sep-04 21:54:26

Senco = Special needs co-ordinator- every school has one. The register has loads of levels on starting form very basic "concerns" to full on full support. Loads of children in our school go on the register (I'm in secondary BTW) on a short-term basis to monitor progress where a discrepancy has been spotted e.g. where cognitive ability is high but reading age is low so that any problems can be ironed out and the pupil can access all aspects of the curriculum without difficulty. They then come off when progress has been made to an agreed level. No further problems, child stays off register. If you have not been clearly informed, just phone and ask to speak to the senco for clarification. I'm sure they will be HTH. Does that help at all?

Rowlers Wed 15-Sep-04 21:55:08

roisin - you got there quicker!

lou33 Wed 15-Sep-04 21:55:48

I would welcome it, as it means they will invest more time on your ds. It doesn't label him in any way at all. These things are in place to help.

roisin Wed 15-Sep-04 21:56:39

Also ELS - extra literacy support - can be fantastic. It's not just 'more reading lessons'. It tends to be delivered individually or in very small groups, with particularly dynamic teaching. In year1 my ds1 was insanely jealous of the ELS group, because of all the fun they clearly had in their special sessions. He would come home from school saying "the Monty group did this today, or that today, or they got special stickers, or chocolate!"

Also being on SEN register can be a temporary thing, it's not a huge label, and certainly needn't be a permanent one. With the right intervention at this point loads of kids catch up completely, and are then removed from the SEN register.

If there aren't already plans to do so, I would make an appointment to see the teacher and the SENCO and get them to explain all this to you. To explain why he's on the register, and what the intend doing for him.

roisin Wed 15-Sep-04 21:57:54

Finally! It does really wind me up though that such letters are sent 'cold' to parents. They understandably come as a shock, especially when they are not fully explained. IMO they should always be given to you in person after a chat to the teacher.

pixiefish Wed 15-Sep-04 21:58:24

SENCO- Special Education Needs Co Ordinator- a qualified teacher who has responsibility for co-ordinating special needs resources/assessments etc in the school. If he's been placed on the register it means there's extra money to help him. He will be assessed annually and if the need for extra help no longer exists will be taken off the register. Some people fight to get their kids on the register as it means they get extra help, others hate the stigma- interesting to know that something like one in four kids will have a special educational need at some point during school life. Look on it as a positive- something is being done to help your child. Some kids reach secondary and no one's noticed they need help.
There are three levels of help
1- School keep an eye.
2. School action
3- Local Education Authority fund help for child.
It really isn't a bad thing- the senco should arrange a meeting to discuss targets and an action plan with you soon and then there'll be an annual review in 12 months.

Socci Wed 15-Sep-04 21:59:33

Message withdrawn

pixiefish Wed 15-Sep-04 21:59:38

Sorry have repeated loads- these posts crossed...

MeanBean Wed 15-Sep-04 22:00:23

Why have they put him on 2nd level, School Action, immediately? Any guesses?

Rowlers Wed 15-Sep-04 22:02:08

I'm not sure that's a question anyone but the senco can answer. I'd be guessing and don't want to put wrong ideas into your head. Do you have time to phone in the morning?

coppertop Wed 15-Sep-04 22:06:44

I would make the most of ds being given a little extra help tbh. It could mean extra 1:1 help or it might just be that he will be set more individual work. He will be taken off the register again as soon as he no longer needs the help.

The IEP's are fairly straightforward. You usually meet with the SENCO and teacher and discuss what targets should be set for your child. Depending on what level he is at already it could be something like "ds to learn the letters of the alphabet" or "ds to learn 6 key words" etc. These are reviewed fairly regularly.

lou33 Wed 15-Sep-04 22:08:35

I disagree that it is labelling Socci, but then it has only been helpful to mine. Meanbean's ds will not be made to feel any different to the other children, and other families will not be aware of any plans in place. I agree that children develop at different rates, but there will come a point in many of their lives, when the children start to notice that they can't do a as well as x,y, or z can, and it does upset them. Many children just need another way of teaching to help them get the hang of things, and this is what a senco can do.

Fwiw Meanbean, all of mine (3 of them) have been involved with the senco at some stage or other, not always educational, but in ways that can affect their schooling. The ones who had educational difficulties were helped tremendously, and still are being, and have gone from children who got v stressed and cried about reading, writing etc, to positively loving reading their school books to me at the end of the day. My youngest is also statemented as he has physical disabilities, but at 3 1/2 does not yet attend school. He will also have the senco involved, and I have no concerns about it whatsoever.

Hth.

pixiefish Wed 15-Sep-04 22:08:36

We have to keep an eye on kids and try to gather evidence over 6 months before our senco will get involved and assess. Maybe his class teacher has tried and that's the first stage done

Christie Wed 15-Sep-04 22:09:06

Hi MB,
Being on the special needs register simply means that the school acknowledges that a child has difficulties and are proposing to do whtever they can to meet his / her needs. The SENCO in a mainstream school will be a teacher who has been given responsibility as Special Needs Co-ordinator. I am a special needs teacher in a school for pupils with severe learning difficulties. If you aren't clear about why your ds in on the register i would advise you to contact the school and ask if you could discuss this with the class teacher and the SENCO. They should be able to give you an idea of how they see his needs and also what they will be doing to meet those needs. You could also ask to see a copy of his ILP (Individual Learning Plan) or IEP (Individual Education Plan) . . . same thing, just different names.
If a child has a statement of special needs it means that the school can apply for funding for extra hours e.g. an extra member of staff to work with a child to support their needs in the classroom.
Hope this explains things for you. Try not to worry too much, but do speak to the school so that you can be clear in your own mind about what's going on.

coppertop Wed 15-Sep-04 22:10:15

It's possible that the school were keeping an eye on him last year. Communication doesn't appear to be their strong point, especially as this letter came out of the blue.

Not all children will necessarily follow each stage (although I would be surprised if this wasn't true of your ds). My ds1 was put on School Action Plus (the stage higher than School Action) before he'd even started school.

MeanBean Thu 16-Sep-04 08:42:17

Thanks for all your replies. I've had a bit of time to think about this, and have managed to pinpoint my major concerns.

1. DS will be chivvied to do something which he is not yet ready to do, which if he were left to his own pace, he would do anyway. I'm not a laid back liberal parent - a friend of mine had all sorts of nightmares with her kids in the eighties, when the fashion was not to teach kids to read, and when her DS was 9, none of his teachers seemed to think it was an issue that he couldn't read or write, whereas she was getting hysterical about it. I don't agree with being that laissez-faire about education, but I do think that any time before about 7 is too early to have serious worries about reading.

2. I'm very worried that a label will be put on him which will be on his school record and follow him around, possibly disadvantaging him with regards to choice of school when he is older. We live in Kent, so antediluvian education system - still have the 11plus.

If about a quarter of children are being put on the SEN at one time, the second worry may be out of date and irrelevant - the more kids are labelled, the less the label actually means. But it's just all so sudden. Please tell me if I'm being over-anxious about this, but only if I really am - I only want to be reassured if there really is nothing to worry about!

lou33 Thu 16-Sep-04 09:50:26

I really truly think you are worrying too much . If you want, you can cat me, and I can tell you all my experiences about senco, if you think it would help..

essbee Thu 16-Sep-04 09:57:55

Message withdrawn

MeanBean Thu 16-Sep-04 13:19:13

Thanks Lou33, I'm sitting here feeling neurotic.

tigermoth Thu 16-Sep-04 13:31:31

mandbean I felt exactly like you feel when I was told my son was on level 2 of the schools special needs register. Don't beat yourself up about it.

binkie Thu 16-Sep-04 13:35:04

There is one thing I would ask about, and that is the proportion of children that the school is putting on the senco register. Some schools are just much more keen to do it than others - for good reasons, such as making sure intervention (if needed) happens as early as possible; or for not so good, such as it being a convenient way of boosting the budget. The school's senco ought to be ready to tell you all about the school's policy generally, not just about the needs they think your ds may have, and that might be reassuring. And if the school he's at has a reputation for being very proactive with extra help, then later schools will I'm sure see it in that context - even if there were any downside to senco involvement, which I'm sure there isn't (my ds has senco, and ed psych, involvement).

pixiefish Fri 17-Sep-04 21:33:49

Have just read bits of this again Meanbean- think I wasn't clear on the amount of kids on SENregister- what i said was that one in four kids will have a special educational need at some point during their school career. they won't necessarily be put on the register... just incase anyone misreads what i've said

hmb Sat 18-Sep-04 08:51:01

Re the money issue, not every child on the regester 'brings' money.

The first level on the regester is School Action. The child has an IEP, individual education Plan, whic is impiment by the school alone. THe tagets on the IEP are agree between the SENCO, the parents and the child. What is written on the IEP is agreed by all, so I don't think that you have to be suspicious. For many children they will spend some time at this level. They probelm will be resolved and they will come off the regester.

For others this level of assistance isn't enough and they are put onto School Action Plus. In other words the school does it's bit and other outside agencies help. This can be extra help with reading, behavioural councelling (we have lots of teenagers on anger management for example) or medical help if the child has a medical problem.

The last stage is statementing and this does bring money with it. Never enough, but there you go. At this stage a child may have support in the classroom from a LSW. For example we have a boy in Y 8 who has Down's syndrome. He has one on one support for all his lessons, he is withrawn for some extra english and maths and is making excellent progress.

I would be keen to get all the help you can, as early as you can. 'Probelms' can be sorted out *so* easliy at an early stage. I see kids in Y7 with reading ages of 6-7 and by then they are often in a dreadful state, no confidence and switched off from learning. We have 16% of the kids in my school on the regester. For many it is a transient thing, others need more help for longer. It can work *wonders*. I currently teach a pupil with ASD. Two years ago he had to be taught in isolation as he was a physical danger to himself and the other pupils. We was given extensive help by the SN departmnet, including 100% one to one. He is now working unsuported and got 7.35 in his SATs. He is an exceptional young man who is doing amazinly well.

Please don't see it as a stigma, the school doesn't. If it helps, my son was given extra help with his language skills last year by the school, he was placed on the regester at 3.5 and this year he is unrecognisable.

hmb Sat 18-Sep-04 08:54:03

Re the 'worrying about later stigma' please don't.

We have lots of kids in the Sixth form on the SN regester. Honestly, these kids are not being labeled 'Thick' they are being seen as having specific edicational needs that we try to meet. It is common to have two children working at the same educational level with one havine special needs and the other not.

whymummy Sat 18-Sep-04 08:59:49

meanbean my ds had help reading from the special needs teacher while in y 1,he's good with maths and everything else but not really interested in reading,i was happy for him to have this one to one reading help,nothing to worry about

Jimjams Sat 18-Sep-04 09:20:23

agree with everything hmb has said about money and stigma. If only it was that easy to get funding for SN kids!

kimi Sat 18-Sep-04 10:34:43

Hope you dont mind my posting on this but i do know exactly how you are feeling especially about "the stigma", yes there is some mostly from people who dont understand, But if the school is worth anything it will deal with this, and yes it will bring funding to the school, but it is not given out willy-nilly. It is always a worry and of course you will have a lot of questions, make a appointment to meet with the head, your childs class teacher and the head of senco and talk over what will happen and ask as many questions as you can and explane any worries you have. Also it is not something that will last forever and will be monitored so once thetargets have been set and you know what is likly to happen i am sure you will feel more relaxed about the whole thing. If you know any other "senco mums" speak to them and if not ask the head to be a go between and introduce you to some, this really helps.
Please dont worry too much over this as it really could be a blessing in disguise.

Yorkiegirl Sat 18-Sep-04 10:45:11

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