Assessments are all done by the school, and may involve your child’s teacher, a teacher in school called the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and the Head Teacher. The school might also talk to other education staff who visit the school regularly, e.g. support teachers and educational psychologists. These will be routine discussions. If more detailed and formal meetings are held, you should be informed and involved.
Following these discussions, your child’s school will plan in detail what they are going to do to help your child. They will work out what your child needs to learn, how to teach this and who will help. This plan may include having extra teaching help or advice.
Schools will need to allow time to see how their plan works and will then review it, and make further plans.
This approach is recommended by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) ( www.dfes.gov.uk) in its Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. It is called a staged approach. You can find out more details about it in the DfES’s booklet for parents, ‘Special Educational Needs’.
Sometimes you, the school or the Local Authority may feel that your child’s special educational needs are not being met, and that more detailed written assessments are needed. It may then be suggested to you that an Assessment under the Education Act 1996 should be carried out. This is sometimes wrongly referred to as ‘statementing’. This Assessment involves getting written information from all the people who know your child well, including you. It does not always result in a Statement of Special Educational Needs being made on your child. This is why it can be misleading to call this Assessment ‘statementing’.