If a child is not making progress at school this will be picked up by the child’s teacher and discussed with both the child’s parents and the SENCO. Any reasons for the child not being able to learn well will be noted and the teacher will put strategies in place to help the child to learn (see ‘What help will my child get?’). The child’s progress will then be tracked carefully for the rest of the year.
If progress is still slow, it may be suggested to the parent that the child is placed on the SEN Register and the school may decide to do some more in-depth assessment of the child’s difficulties. These might include, for example, a literacy check, language screening or a memory test. The child’s results can be compared with those of other children of the same age across the whole country – this is called standardised testing.
Depending on what the tests show, further adaptations to teaching and learning will be made to try to help the child to learn.
If progress is still slow, then parents might be approached about referring their child to the Specialist Teaching Service. This is a local authority agency that provides specialist teachers with expert knowledge of learning difficulties to assess children and give advice to schools about how to help individual children to learn. The agency is called the Learning, Cognition and Interaction Team (LCI). A link teacher will come to the school and carry out specialist assessments to add to the ones already carried out by the school. This will provide a more complete picture of the child’s strengths and difficulties. A report will usually be provided, which school will share with parents, and recommendations will be made for how to help the child to learn more effectively. The specialist teacher may also attend review meetings with parents.
Sometimes assessment will uncover other difficulties, such as a language or social difficulty, and the specialist teacher may suggest that the child is referred to another agency, such as Speech and Language Therapy or the Community Paediatrician (the doctors specialising in children’s needs). This would then be discussed with parents.
If a child is in the Early Years Foundation Stage (F1 and F2 classes) and there are concerns about the child’s learning or development then the child will be referred to the Early Years Support Team. A teacher specialising in the development of children under five years old will come to observe the child in the classroom, do some assessment activities with them and write a report about their language, learning, behaviour and social interaction. This specialist teacher will meet with parents and school staff to feedback her observations.