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SEND Area Wide Offer

Support for Children, Young People & Young Adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Southampton.

Schools and other educational settings are expected to help most children overcome the hurdles their difficulties present as part of meeting their educational needs, but a much smaller number of children will need extra help for some or all of their time in education. This is likely to be a 1:1 Learning Support Assistant in school (or college) as well as support with health and social care needs at home. This support can be accessed through the 0-25 Service.

What we mean by Special Educational Needs

The term 'special educational needs' has a legal definition. People with special educational needs have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. 

Special educational needs fall under four broad areas:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, mental and emotional health
  • sensory and/or physical

 Children with special educational needs may need extra help with:

  • thinking and understanding
  • physical or sensory difficulties
  • emotional or social difficulties
  • difficulties with speech and language
  • how they relate to and behave with other people

Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’.

This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Where a disabled child or young person requires special educational provision they will also be covered by the SEN definition.

What will the 0-25 SEND Service do?

We will support families with a child or children with special educational needs and disabilities from their first point of contact with the council to help find the support they need either directly or through the assessment processes which may be required to establish the level of their needs. We’ll continue to support them and review those needs while they receive the service and support agreed.

We will publish simple, clear information for families with a child or children of whatever age with special needs saying what services and support is available from the council, from health, from voluntary & community organisations and from the private sector in the city.

We will make it clear which of these services families can access for themselves and which will require an assessment of their child/children’s needs.

We will fund an impartial ‘Information, Advice and Support’ service to work alongside families to help them find the support that best meets their needs, no matter which organisation in the city provides it.

We will provide services to support children, young people and young adults with their learning, health and care needs for as long as they are in education.

Education, Health and Care Assessments will bring together in one place the views of families and of all the different professionals in the council and in the NHS about the needs of the child, young person or young adult and propose the best way to meet these needs. If these result in an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) this replaces the current SEN Statement as the means of accessing additional resources. All existing Statements will be replaced by EHCPs by April 2018.

There will be one person from amongst all the professional staff working with the family who will lead and co-ordinate the assessment – this role is as the Assessment Co-ordinator.

Once the EHCP is finalised there will be one person from amongst all the professional staff supporting the family and the child, young person or young adult who will work closely with them and regularly review their progress and update their ECHP every year – this role is as the families’ Lead Professional and may or may not be the same person as the Assessment Co-ordinator.

How we work with families

We promise to all parents, carers, young people and young adults who need support from the 0-25 SEND service that:

  • We will ensure that you and your child are valued and treated with respect by everyone in the service
  • We will listen to your concerns and work with you to make things better for you and your family
  • You and your family will be at the centre of the process and there will be equality of opportunity to all families
  • We will stay in touch with you throughout the processes of assessing needs and providing services, doing our best to ensure that you always know what is happening that affects you/your child
  • We will recognise that you/your child is a whole person and all agencies will work together to assess needs and find ways to meet them
  • We will work with you flexibly to agree and achieve outcomes and priorities for you and your family, as far as the legislation allows us to
  • We will be honest and open with you and know that you will be the same with us. We will learn together and together we will develop new and better ways of working
  • We will respect and support your right to use the current legal framework at any time during the process and we will ensure that impartial advice and support is in place to assist you to do this.

Reasons for contacting the 0-25 SEND Service

1. You might want information about SEND services and support in Southampton

Information for parents, young people & young adults with special educational needs is available online and from libraries, children’s centres and schools & colleges.

This information is called The Local Offer and describes the services and support that is available from the council, from health, from schools & colleges, from voluntary, community and other organisations in the city.

There is also an impartial Information, Advice and Support service run separately from the council that you can contact on 023 8055 7607.

2. You might want to request some support

There are a number of ways in which parents, teachers, health professionals and other colleagues can request support from the 0-25 SEND service

There are two forms that need to be used –

The Request for Support form and The Request for EHC Assessment form.

These can be completed online at or sent to you if you contact the 0-25 SEND service on 023 8091 5701

The 0-25 SEND service offers the following direct services –

  • Portage home education for children with additional needs under the age of 3.
  • Occupational Therapy assessments linked to home adaptations for the families of children with multiple and complex disabilities
  • Support in school for children and young people with hearing and/or visual impairments and/or physical disabilities
  • Support in school relating to speech and language development
  • Social work support and/or support from specialist nursing and other health services for children with multiple and complex disabilities
  • Access to specialist play schemes, the Short Breaks programme and inclusive community activities
  • Support for young people from the age of 14 upwards with post 16 education options and wider ‘transition planning’ as they approach the age of 18
  • Support for nurseries and other early years’ providers with the costs of providing short-term additional support to children who may have additional educational needs.

3. You or your child/young person may need an assessment of needs

Most of the services available from the 0-25 SEND service will involve an assessment of the needs of the child or young person or young adult involved. There are a number of ways in which we will assess these needs.

This range of assessments includes the statutory Educational Health and Care Assessment which may lead to an EHC Plan

For more information please contact the 0-25 SEND service – Tel: 023 8091 5701 and Email: SEND@southampton.gov.uk

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