Transition from pre-school through to adulthood
Updated May 2022
Pre starting school 0-5 years
Identifying special educational needs in under fives
Your child's early years are an important time for their development, and if they have special educational needs, it is important they are discovered as early as possible. If you are worried that your child may be having difficulties before they go to school, help is at hand.
Your child learns through being with other people and exploring the world around them. However, some children have more difficulties than most children of their age with:
•understanding and learning
•sensory and physical development
•behaviour or relating to other people
Children with this type of learning difficulty or disability are said to have 'special educational needs'.
If you think your child may have a special educational need (SEN) that has not been identified, you should first talk to the person in your child's nursery, playgroup or other early years setting who has a particular responsibility for special educational needs.
If your child is not attending a nursery or other early years setting, you can talk to your Health Visitor or Doctor (GP). You can also visit your local Children’s Centre as they run ‘drop in’ sessions for Health Visitors and other professionals.
here is a network of services for under fives. Health authorities, voluntary organisations and social services work closely together to support children with special educational needs.
Your child's nursery school should be able to help your child overcome the barriers their difficulties present, but it is possible that your child will need extra support for some or all of their time in education. If your child is not in a nursery school, the Special Educational Needs Team in your local authority can advise on suitable local provision.
Some points to bear in mind include:
•Your child's needs will usually be met in a mainstream nursery or school, sometimes with the help of outside specialists
•You should be asked about the decisions that affect your child
•Your views should always be taken into account
Extra help is available for your child from specialists, teachers and from voluntary organisations offering advice that is often linked to particular needs.
People you may be involved with if your child has special educational needs
- Educational Psychologist
- Health Visitor
- Occupational Therapist
- Special Educational Needs Coordinator (Senco)
- Teaching Assistant (TA)
- Social Worker
- Speech & Language Therapist
- Special Educational Needs Team
Please see links below to services mentioned above:
If your child has an education, health and care statutory needs assessment in progress you will need to apply for a primary school place in the usual way. When a SEND is identified applications are forwarded on the SEN team.
Most children with special educational needs can be taught in mainstream schools. If your child has more severe or complex needs they may need to go to a special school or school with a special unit.
Choosing a school
Every school publishes details about how it supports pupils with special educational needs. In Reading this information can be found on the Reading Services Guide Every school has been asked to provide information on their ‘Local Offer’.
Choosing a mainstream school
You should find out:
•whether the school has experience of children with similar needs and what strategies have been effective
•what the school's special educational needs policy is
•how the SENCO passes information about children to teaching staff
•how your child would be supported in class
•how you'd be involved in your child's progress and development.
If your child has a statement and you're unsure if a school is suitable for them, you can talk to your named officer.
Choosing a special school or school with special unit
Special schools only take children who have a particular type of educational need such as visual impairment or physical disability. Some mainstream schools have special units to deal with particular needs.
Talk to the teacher or the SEN co-ordinator (SENCO) if you think your child needs:
- a special learning programme
- extra help from a teacher or assistant
- to work in a smaller group
- observation in class or at break
- help taking part in class activities
- extra encouragement in their learning, eg to ask questions or to try something they find difficult
- help communicating with other children
- support with physical or personal care difficulties, eg eating, getting around school safely or using the toilet
If you feel that your child’s needs are not being met and you need support, contact the Reading Information, Advice & Support Service for SEND (SENDIASS) Tel: 0118 937 3421
Transfer to secondary school is an important time for all pupils. For parents of a child with special educational needs (SEN) there are often additional questions about the choices they are able to make and the processes involved.
We hope the following will answers some of the questions most frequently asked by parents.
What provision is available for pupils with special educational needs at secondary school?
Most children’s needs can be met successfully at a local high school. They do this by:
• Setting the learning at a suitable level for pupils of different abilities
• Responding to the learning needs of different kinds of pupils
• Planning ahead to overcome any barriers to learning for individuals or groups of pupils
For certain pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) a special school place may be offered by the local authority as an alternative to a mainstream school. Parents do not have to accept a special school place if they would prefer a mainstream school.
Placement at a special school is outside of the standard admission arrangements; this would be arranged by the authority following consideration of information and evidence of the needs of the child made available through the statutory annual review process of the Statement or Education, Health and Care Plan.
What's next? Life, learning and work
Leaving school can seem daunting and can raise many questions what a young person should do next. There are lots of options out there and local organisations who can offer information and support to help young people make choices about their future.
When a young person prepares for what they will do when they leave school and become an adult, this is described as transition or a journey into adult life. This can be a challenging time for young people aged 14 - 25, with many aspects to consider when planning for their future.