Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)

We support children and young people (up to the age of 25) who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). We provide advice and information and can carry out specialist assessments and give ongoing support where necessary.

The local offer

All Local Authorities must publish information about services available for children and young people with SEND, both in and out of the borough, from birth to 25. This is known as the ‘Local Offer’.

Brighter Future for Children delivers the Local Offer on Reading Borough Council’s behalf.

The Local Offer is available here and aims to provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and services available, and to make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations.

To go directly to specific pages of the Local Offer, click on one of the tabs below:

Single Route of Redress – National Trial

What is the National Trial?

The Government is extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans as part of a national trial. The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018 and will run until August 2020, when a decision will be made on its continuation.

To date, you have only been able to appeal the educational aspects of EHC plans.  The trial gives you new rights to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal.  This gives you the opportunity to raise all your concerns about an EHC plan in one place.

It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the health and/or social care aspects of the EHC plan where you are already making an appeal in relation to the education aspects of the EHC plan and the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.

What does this mean for parents and young people?

If you are unhappy with a decision not to issue an EHC plan, or with the special educational content or placement in the plan, you can make an appeal to the SEND Tribunal.  This trial now gives you the opportunity to also request recommendations about the health and social care content of the plan at the same time. This will mean the Tribunal will take a more holistic, person-centred view of the needs of the child or young person.

This does not prevent you also complaining about other aspects of your disagreement through other complaint procedures.  You should seek advice about the different routes available, including from your local Information Advice and Support Service. For the Borough of Reading this is Reading IASS.

If the SEND Tribunal makes a recommendation about health or social care elements of an EHC plan, this is non-binding. The local authority and/or health commissioner is generally expected to follow such recommendations, but they are not legally binding. Where they are not followed, the reasons for not following them must be explained and set-out in writing to you and to the Department for Education through the evaluators. If they are not followed, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) or seek to have the decision judicially reviewed. Further information on the roles of these bodies can be found on their websites.

When can a parent or young person request recommendations about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan?

You can request the Tribunal makes recommendations about the health and/or social care aspects of EHC plans as part of an appeal relating to:

  • the description of the child/young person’s special educational needs in an EHC plan
  • the special educational provision specified in an EHC plan
  • the school or other educational institution named in an EHC plan
  • a decision by the local authority not to issue an EHC plan
  • a decision by the local authority not to carry out a re-assessment for a child/young person who has an EHC plan
  • a decision by the local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • a decision by the local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan

What does this mean for local areas?

The Trial places responsibility on local authority SEND teams to:

  1. Inform parents and young people of their new rights through decision letters and the local offer
  2. Provide evidence to the Tribunal from the health and social care bodies in response to any issues raised within the timeframe set by the Tribunal, seeking permission to bring additional witnesses to the hearing as necessary
  3. If a recommendation has been made, send the health and social care response letters to the evaluators at SENDletters@IFFResearch.com.

It also places responsibility on health and social care commissioners to:

  1. Respond to any request for information and evidence within the timeframe set by the Tribunal
  2. Send a witness to attend the hearing as required
  3. Respond to the parent/young person and the LA SEND team within 5 weeks of a recommendation being made, setting out the steps they have decided to take or giving reasons why they are not going to follow the recommendation.

How can a parent or young person request a health or social care recommendation?

If you wish to appeal against a local authority decision on any of the grounds above and want to request that the Tribunal considers your concerns about the health and /or social care aspects of the EHC plan, you should follow the normal process for bringing an appeal to the Tribunal and tick the box on the form relating to a health and/or social care appeal. Advice on making SEND appeals to the Tribunal and the appeal form is available on the GOV.UK website and further guidance can be found in the trial toolkit of support.

Taking part in the evaluation

 There will be an independent evaluation of the trial to inform a decision on whether the new tribunal recommendation powers should be continued after the trial. The evaluation will run alongside the trial, from January 2018 to March 2021.

It is important that the evaluation is based on robust evidence, and the evaluators are therefore strongly encouraging participation from parents and young people. This could include taking part in a telephone or online interview just after the appeal hearing (or when the appeal process has been completed, if earlier), and then a follow-up interview 6 months later. These interviews will help the evaluators to gather the views of parents and young people on the appeal process, as well as identify how recommendations have been implemented and what the (early) impact has been.

Parents and young people that take part in the trial will receive a letter from the Tribunal explaining more about the evaluation and how their personal data will be stored confidentially and how it will be protected.

As a parent or young person, do I have to consider mediation as part of the trial?

Before you can register an appeal with the Tribunal, you must contact a mediation adviser within two months of the LA decision you wish to appeal and consider whether mediation might be a way to resolve your disagreement with the LA. If you want to appeal only about the school or other institution named in the EHC plan you do not have to contact a mediation adviser.

You can go to mediation about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan, but this is not compulsory. You can request recommendations about health and social care issues without having to receive mediation advice or attend mediation about those issues, provided there is also an education issue about which you are appealing.

Once a mediation adviser has been contacted, or once you have taken part in mediation, you will be issued with a certificate.  This will be necessary if you are still unhappy and wish to progress to an appeal with the Tribunal. An appeal to the Tribunal must usually be made within two months of the decision about which the appeal is being made or one month following the issuing of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

If mediation resolves the educational issues, you will not be able to appeal to the Tribunal on any health and/or social care aspects of the EHC plan.  However, mediation provides an opportunity for us to resolve disagreements and it can be completed more quickly than an appeal.  It does not affect your right to make an educational appeal, and some aspects of the disagreement can go to appeal even when other aspects are resolved.

Help and further information

  • A guidance document on the national trial is published as part of a toolkit of support
  • Reading IASS
  • The evaluation of the trial is led by IFF Research working with Belmana. For any questions or to get involved please get in touch with them at SENDtrial@IFFResearch.com, freephone: 0800 035 6051.
Carers Advice and Support

Are you a carer?

If you look after a child or young person with special educational needs and/or disabilities or a child with a long term illness you are a carer, even if you don’t think of yourself that way. There are many ways that you might care for someone.

For instance you might:

  • Have to provide care 24 hours a day
  • arrange and take to hospital appointments
  • Provide personal care

Whether you’ve cared for the child/young person for a long time, or have just become a carer, take time to review your options and find out what support is available to you.

Knowing your rights and getting support is vital and there are many local and national organisations that can help.

For a full list of help available, visit the Careers Advice and Support page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Early Years and Childcare

For a full list of help available, visit the Early Years and Childcare page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Or use these quick links to find details on specific pages on the Reading Services Guide:

Childcare settings supporting SEND

Maintained Nursery Schools & Classes

Support in Early Years

Education, Schools & Services

A child or young person who has a special educational need or disability (SEND) may need some extra help to get the best out of their education and learning.

A child or young person with SEND can usually be supported from the resources which early year’s settings, schools and colleges have available to them (SEN Support).

However some children or young people with very severe and long term needs may require an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) issued by Brighter Futures for Children (previously known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs).

For a full list of help available, visit the Education, Schools & Services page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Health and Social Care

For a full list of help available, visit the Health and Social Care page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Policies, Pathways and Documents

For a full list of help available, visit the Policies, Pathways and Documents page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Sensory Impairment

For a full list of help available, visit the Sensory Impairment page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Short Breaks

For a full list of help available, visit the Short Breaks page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Special Needs Activities

For a full list of help available, visit the Special Needs Activities page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Special Needs Support

For a full list of help available, visit the Special Needs Support page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Special United (Young People's Forum)

For a full list of help available, visit the Special United page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Transition 16-25

For a full list of help available, visit the Transition 16-25 page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Transport

For information about help available, visit the transport page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Disabled Children and Young People's Register

For a full list of help available, visit the Disabled Children and Young People's register page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

Local Offer Consultations & Feedback

For a full list of help available, visit the Local Offer Consultations & Feedback page within the SEND Local Offer pages on Reading's Services Guide. These pages are updated regularly by the Family Information Service, on Brighter Futures for Children's behalf.

School Meals

We partner with Chartwells for school meals - they have information on menus and paying. All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are entitled to free school meals (FSM) - you might be eligible to apply for free school meals after this time if you are on income support.

school.meals@reading.gov.uk

To contact us, email localoffer@reading.gov.uk or call us on 0118 937 3777 (option 2).

The Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) Team

The Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) Team supports children and young people aged 0–25 who have special educational needs that require the support of an Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plan. The Team co-ordinates statutory Needs Assessments and works closely with families, schools and practitioners from across education, health and social care, to help put support in place through EHC Plans. If you would like to contact the SEND Team, please call us on 0118 937 2674 or email us at sen@BrighterFuturesforChildren.org The Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) Team Local Offer can be found here.

The majority of pupils with special educational needs are supported by their school, without the need of an EHC Plan. In a small number of cases, however, where the needs might be more severe, complex and persistent, an EHC Plan may be required to provide further support. If you have concerns, in the first instance please talk to the SEND Co-ordinator (SENDCo) at your/your child’s school or educational setting for further information. You may also find it helpful to contact the Information, Advice & Support Service for SEND (SENDIASS) for impartial advice and support, on 0118 937 3421 or at iass@BrighterFuturesforChildren.org. The SENDIASS Local Offer page can be found here.

A request for Statutory Needs Assessment is usually made by the school or educational setting, but parents and young people also have a right to ask the Local Authority to consider starting an assessment. The Authority uses criteria when considering a request, alongside the guidance detailed in the SEND Code of Practice.

We also work alongside the Children & Young People’s Disability Team (CYPDT), which is a team of Social Workers and Occupational Therapists who support children and young people with disabilities, and their families. More information on the CYPDT, including eligibility, can be found here. For new referrals, please contact the Children’s Single Point of Access on 0118 937 3641 (aged under 18) or through the Contact Centre on 0118 937 3747 (aged 18-25).

Click here for information on services supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Special schools or SEN resource bases in Reading

A child or young person with special education needs or disability (SEND) can usually be supported within the mainstream education system, however if their needs are severe they may need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

School Description Contact
The Avenue Special School All age special school for children with complex needs, including autism. 0118 937 5554
The Holy Brook Special School Primary special school for pupils with emotional, social and mental health difficulties. 0118 937 5489
Phoenix College Secondary special school for pupils with emotional, social and mental health difficulties. 0118 937 5524
Blessed Hugh Faringdon School Secondary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with an autistic spectrum condition. 0118 957 4730
Christ the King Primary School Primary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with an autistic spectrum condition. 0118 937 5434
EP Collier Primary School Primary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with speech & language and communication difficulties. 0118 937 5470
Highdown School Secondary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with a visual impairment. 0118 937 5800
Manor Primary School Primary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with cognition and learning difficulties. 0118 937 5494
New Bridge Nursery Mainstream nursery with a resource for pupils with an autistic spectrum condition. 0118 937 5580
Prospect School Secondary mainstream school resource for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. 0118 959 0466
Thames Valley School All age special school for children with a diagnosis of Autism. 0118 942 4750

Section 41 Secretary of State Approved List

Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 allows the Secretary of State to publish a list of approved independent educational institutions, independent special schools and special post-16 institutions. Institutions apply to be included on the list.

Independent special schools and colleges – lists of section 41 schools and colleges, and independent special schools in England including non-maintained special schools (and excluding section 41 schools and colleges).

You can search the educational and support services available including the schools’ SEN Information Reports on SEND Local Offer Reading Services Guide.

Ofsted are changing the way they inspect and report on schools from September 2019. For more information on how these changes will affect you please visit www.gov.uk/government/news/ofsted-is-changing-how-it-inspects-schools