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How is a child identified as having a SEND?


How does Fairmeadows identify if a child has Special Educational Needs?


The term ‘Special Educational Needs’ has a legal definition:

“Pupils with SEND all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most pupils of the same age.

These pupils may need extra or different help from that given to other pupils of the same age.”


The SEND Code of Practice (2014) outlines four broad categories of SEND.

Pupils may have needs in one or more of these areas.


Our school provides additional and/or different provision from their peers, for a range of needs, including:


Communication and interaction

(for example, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Speech and Language difficulties).

Including those who are supported by external agencies such as the Speech and Language Therapist, Autism Outreach service.


Cognition and learning

(for example, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Global Delay, other learning difficulties, academic IEP support).

Including those who are supported by external agencies such as the SSSEN, Educational Psychologist.


Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

(for example, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Attachment).

Including those who are supported by external agencies such as the Behaviour Support Service, CAMHS.


Sensory and/or physical needs

(for example, visual impairments, hearing impairments, sensory processing difficulties).

Including those who are supported by external agencies such as the VI team, HI team, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapists.



As stated above, children who are identified as SEND and are recorded on our school SEND register, are in receipt of provision that is “additional” and/or “different” to others pupils.

Some children may or may not have an official diagnosis.


How we identify communication and interaction needs?

  • Consult Speech and Language Therapy service for advice.
  • For those with concerns around Social Communication like Autism. Referrals to the Paediatrician can be done through a Single Point of Access (SPOA).
  • We are an Autism Advocates school, we receive annual training in ASD and how to meet their needs. Staff are able to identify traits of Autism early and put in Autism Friendly Strategies to support.


How we identify cognition and learning needs?

  • Children who are working 1+ years below their chronological age in two or more areas of learning receive IEP support. These children are often identified by the teacher using our termly assessments. Teachers track pupils in Reading, Writing and Maths for their current year groups. If children are identified as having cognition and learning difficulties, they are also tracked based on their current ability level; whether this be Pre-Key Stage Standards (formerly known as P-Scales) or previous year groups objectives (Y1-5). Children in the Early Years are tracked on the Derbyshire Celebratory Checkpoints for Prime Areas and we use Development Matters (published 2021/revised 2023) to assess for Specific Areas (Reading/Writing/Maths).
  • Educational Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Paediatricians and other qualified professionals are able to diagnose learning needs.
  • As a school we also screen children who present with Literacy concerns around the age of 7, to identify any Dyslexic tendencies.


How we identify social, emotional and mental health needs?

  • Children who have received a medical diagnosis of SEMH needs (like ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Attachment) from a professional.
  • Children who have challenging behaviour or those who have been suspended based on teacher observations.
  • Children who need support to identify, recognise and control their own emotions based on teacher observations.
  • Children who need support to understand social situations, build friendships and develop their social understanding, based on teacher observations.
  • As a school we use the Boxall Profile assessment to identify those pupils whose social and emotional skills are not in line with the ‘norm’ values.


How we identify sensory/physical needs?

  • Children who have received a medical diagnosis or is under the care of health professionals for vision, hearing, physical or sensory needs.



We follow a Graduated Response cycle of - Assess - Plan - Do - Review.

If following a cycle of intervention support, and the child is still struggling to make the expected progress, they may be added to the SEND register.  


In line with the SEND Code of Practice (2014), we recognise that other factors can impact on progress and attainment, however this does not necessarily mean that the child has SEND (for example, bereavement or illness). There are other aspects of pupils’ lives, which can influence progress but these do not provide reason to be identified as having SEND; these include looked after children; children of servicemen/women; children with EAL; or being in receipt of the Pupil Premium Grant.


In some cases the school may make an application for additional top-up funding if your child requires a significant amount of support (above 9+ hours per week)


If you want further support in accessing the correct pathway to help identify your child’s SEND, please contact our SENCO- Mrs Balcon who will be able to signpost you to the correct service or offer further advice where necessary.