Special Educational Needs Service (SEN)
The majority of SEN services are jointly provided between Anglesey and Gwynedd.
The Special Educational Needs Service
A team of educational Psychologists and Specialist Teachers employed through the SEN Joint Committee together with Gwynedd Council. The main duties of the Service are based on the needs of the individual children.
They include assessing the difficulties and giving advice to teachers and parents on how they can be overcome, as well as assisting children directly. Children are normally referred to the Service by Headteachers following discussion with parents but others, including parents themselves, can contact an educational psychologist through the Education Office.
The Education Authority adopted a series of principles to guide its activities in this field, namely:
- Ensure equal opportunities, curricularly and socially for children and young people with additional learning needs.
- Ensure Whole-Education Authority and Whole-School response to additional learning needs.
- Educate pupils with ALN in mainstream schools where possible.
- Provide education within the County where possible. Placement in non-maintained special schools and independent schools in Anglesey, or in out of county establishments, are limited to cases where it is not possible to provide appropriately for the pupil’s particular needs within the Authority’s maintained schools.
- Work together effectively with statutory agencies and voluntary organisations relevant to the field.
- Establish a working relationship with parents and voluntary bodies that represent them. Independent information and support service is provided for the parents of children and young people with additional learning needs from SNAP Wales (telephone- 0845 1203730/01286 675547)
- Ysgol Y Bont - a special school in Llangefni, that is maintained by the Authority for 3-19 year old pupils with severe learning difficulties and complex needs. The school provides an outreach support service to the mainstream schools. Pupils placed in a special school are usually subject to a statement of SEN.
- Early years assessment unit (ABC Unit) for pupils under 5 with additional needs.
- part-time moderate learning difficulties Units for Key Stage 2 pupils (7-11year olds)
- Specialist placements are provided for a small number of pupils with long-term emotional and behavioural difficulties in learning centres, by arrangement with other authorities and training providers
Responsibility of Mainstream Schools
Schools are expected to provide for pupils on SEN Stages “School Action” and “School Action Plus” (about 18% of the school population) of the SEN “Code of Practice”.
They should ensure that clear channels exist for recognising and referring pupils with special education needs and
informing teachers about them. Schools should keep parents fully informed of any concerns regarding their child’s
progress and of any steps taken to assess and meet any additional needs that are identified. Parents should be consulted regarding provision and be fully informed of any decisions taken at review.
It is a statutory requirement to establish a special educational needs policy and report annually to parents on its operation.
It is also necessary to ensure that a special educational co-ordinator is available to oversee the action of the special needs policy from day to day.
The Responsibility of the Education Authority
The Education Authority has a role of strategic planning and monitoring of the provision. It has a duty, with some provisos, to teach children with special educational needs in mainstream schools.
It is necessary to provide advice, such as psychological advice, to schools concerning children on SEN stage “School Action Plus”.
When a pupil’s progress at “School Action Plus” stage is unsatisfactory, it will be necessary to consider whether it is appropriate to undertake a statutory assessment, i.e. collect parental, psychological, educational, social and medical advice. Having undertaken a formal assessment it will be necessary to decide if a statement of special educational needs should be maintained on the pupil in question. The Authority has procedures in place to keep parents fully informed at each stage of the assessment and to pay full regard to their views when any decisions are taken regarding provision. When a statement is maintained, special education provision is usually in mainstream schools. Placement in a special school is only provided for a small minority of pupils with severe needs. Progress is reviewed annually and from 14 years of age a transitional plan is drawn up to prepare the pupil for leaving school.
Pupils with behavioural needs are referred to the Behavioural Support Service. The service staff work alongside the local school’s staff to assess the pupils’ difficulties and give them support to promote better behaviour.
Schools are expected to give specific attention and to provide appropriately for pupils with a wide range of additional needs as listed in the Welsh Assembly Government’s Circular. Amongst these groups there are more able and more talented pupils and pupils who are in local authority care.
When pupils with English as an Additional Language arrive at the Authority’s schools the schools are given advice on how to respond to their needs and assistance towards providing additional resources.