Most children and young people in Hertfordshire can be supported in mainstream education. This includes children with and without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

In Hertfordshire we have levels of support for children and young people in education, according to their needs. The levels start with support in mainstream education and go up through a range of specialist provisions.

Children can move up and down this 'ladder' of support as their needs change. We call this ladder the 'Graduated Response' - an approach which is all about making sure that children and young people in Hertfordshire with SEND get the right support at the right time.

Ordinary levels of support for SEND at school

Some children with special educational needs will have their needs identified when they are very young, possibly by their GP or Health Visitor.  It is important that you pass any relevant concerns or needs on to your child's school so that the staff there can make sure that appropriate support is in place.

Schools will have their own ways of working to make sure that they identify any special educational needs as early as possible. 

Once needs have been identified, the class teachers and support staff in the school have the expertise and experience to manage and support most special educational needs needs within the classroom, in a variety of ways.  They work closely with families, and have systems to monitor your child's progress and assess whether the support they have put in place is working, and to adapt and change the support as necessary.  Read more about SEND support.

How are schools and SENDCos supported?

SENDCos and schools are supported by the SEND Implementation Support Officers and the Ask SALI Advice Line.  These professionals, who come from a range of different backgrounds and have a wealth of SEND knowledge, will offer advice in supporting children with SEND in mainstream settings. They work closely with schools with the aim that every teacher in Hertfordshire is a teacher of SEND.

Ask SALI Advice Line

Ask SALI advice line is a new resource for local schools and settings. The advice line will be staffed by the SEND Information Guidance and Advice Officers. Their knowledge of the different SEND pathways and first-hand experience of working with services means that they are well equipped to support schools and settings. They work alongside schools to make sure that children's needs are identified as early as possible and that support is put in place to enable children to overcome barriers to learning, and thrive in mainstream settings.

Ask SALI advisors will speak to SENDCOs and other professionals, working  with schools to support in developing practice, answer questions and to find answers. By providing support to schools in this way, children’s needs will be met earlier which means that they may not need more high-level support in the future.  Learn more about ASK SALI.  

SEND Implementation Support Officers

SEND Implementation and Support Officers have in-depth knowledge of the different SEND pathways and first-hand experience of working with SEND services.  They will act as a bridge between school, you and the Statutory SEND Service and will work closely with school to ensure that your child's needs are met, and that you and your family are well supported in the journey.   

Developing Special Provision Locally (DSPL)

One way in which Hertfordshire provides support to children and young people with SEND across the county is through our Delivering Special Provision Locally groups (DSPLs). There are 9 DSPL areas. The reason for having different area groups means that the groups can cater the provision to exactly what their area needs, giving a more focused approach to providing the right support for the right locality. They provide support to schools and also widen the choice for parents and families of support outside of school in the local area. Learn more about the 9 DSPL areas.

Additional specialist support your child can get at school

If your child or young person is still not making progress in spite of high quality teaching and interventions, the school can refer to a number of specialist services for additional support. There can be a wait for some specialist SEND services, and the SENDCo may need to provide evidence and to show what has already been put in place for the child to support their learning.   

SEND Specialist Advisory Services your school can refer to

The SEND Specialist Advisory Service are a team of qualified teachers and professionals with expertise and knowledge in specific areas of SEND.  They work with schools and settings to support them to develop inclusive practice, and in more complex cases, will work with individual children and young people. 

They also have a programme of training throughout the year which they deliver to mainstream schools and colleges, to share good practice and help enhance their skills and confidence.

The SEND Specialist Advisory Service Teams

Schools can also refer to the Special School Outreach Team; in this case,  a colleague from one of our Special Schools will visit a school to offer advice on individual cases, focusing particularly on addressing concerns over learning.  They also offer 'in-reach' support where a SENDCo might visit a Special School to learn strategies and observe good practice in supporting children and young people with additional needs.  To access support from this team, your SENDCo would need to make a referral to Outreach Co-ordinator in your area.

There can be a wait for some of the specialist SEND teams but most of the teams have advice lines where you can speak to a professional to discuss your concerns and ask for advice and strategies which you can put in place straight away.  You'll find the details on our Contact a SEND Service page.

Smaller Learning Environments

Some children's needs will be better met in a smaller environment and with more intensive support.  They might attend a specialist centre such as a Specialist Resource Provision, or a Deaf and/or Hearing Impairment base.  Some children might be referred to an Education Support Centre, for a short period of time, where they will receive individualised and specialist help until they are ready to re-join a mainstream school or setting.

Special Schools

Not all children with SEND will be able to have their needs met in a mainstream school.  Some, in spite of good quality teaching and support, will have needs which will be better suited to a special school.