Support with transition from primary to secondary school
Your child's teacher and primary school can provide the necessary support to achieve a successful transition to secondary or another school. Look for SEN information on their website or request it directly from the school, which should include specific information about how they support children during transition.
Applying for a place at a mainstream secondary school/academy
Parents MUST apply for a place at a mainstream secondary school in Gateshead by the end of October in the year before their child is due to start (even if they have a statement of SEN or EHC Plan). More information about how to apply for a mainstream secondary school place can be found on our website or by contacting the School Admissions Team on 0191 433 2757.
SEN support in mainstream secondary schools in Gateshead
With the right support and resource and depending on the level of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disability, most children’s needs in Gateshead can be met in mainstream schools/academies, including those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).
There are nine mainstream secondary schools/academies in Gateshead. Information about how they provide support for young people with SEN or a disability should be available on the school's website or by contacting the school directly. You can also look on the school's website for useful information like the school prospectus, performance results and Ofsted inspection reports, which you may also be able to view in our school directory. In addition, you can contact the school direct to find out more information; a good person to speak to is the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), whose role it is to co-ordinate SEN provision in the school.
You can find information about how schools are expected to provide support for children and young people with an EHC Plan (i.e those with more complex needs) and those without an EHC Plan (i.e. those with less complex needs) on our website.
Reviewing a child's needs and support
Once at secondary school, your child's progress should be reviewed regularly by the school and discussed with you and other professionals involved with your child. If your child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), this should be reviewed usually 2-3 times a year by your child’s teacher to monitor what progress is being made and to set new targets for your child.
If your child has an EHC Plan, reviews will be held in the school every term and a formal review meeting should take place at least once a year. This is a chance to discuss how your child’s education, health and care needs are being met and whether any change to the level of support being provided is appropriate. Parents must be invited to all review meetings; you can invite a friend, adviser or independent parental supporter to be at the meeting with you. The Barnardo's SEND Information and Advice Service can support you during this stage - more information is on their website. Other relevant people like a key supporter, health or social care worker may also attend review meetings.
Support for children and young people with an EHC Plan
If a school cannot meet a child’s needs using its 'notional budget' and more support is needed, the Local Authority (LA - Gateshead Council) can provide additional funding if a pupil is identified as needing additional support following an assessment. It is at this stage that the LA may arrange for a statutory assessment to happen and an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) may be issued. EHC Plans, sometimes called a Single Plan in Gateshead, replace statements of special educational needs from September 2014. If an EHC Plan is issued, it will identify your child’s and your family’s needs, the support that will be provided across the areas of education and (if it’s required) health and social care, when, how and who will provide support, what it will help your child achieve (outcomes), how it will be funded and how it will be reviewed. More information about the EHC Plan assessment and planning process can be found here. If an assessment is carried out and your child does not require an EHCP, don’t worry, there is still lots of help and support available which is explained in more detail on our website.
Year 6 review meeting for children with an EHC Plan
If your child has a statement of SEN or EHC Plan, you will have been invited to attend a review meeting during the Autumn Term when your child was in Year 6.
At the Year 6 review meeting, your child’s secondary school placement will be discussed with you and your child and a recommendation will then be made to the Local Authority ‘SEND Panel’ about which secondary school they should attend. The SEND Panel is a group of professional people who work in education, health and social care and they decide which secondary school is most appropriate for your child. If this is not the school that was recommended in the Year 6 review meeting, the SEN Caseworker will contact and discuss this with you. In all cases, the Local Authority's SEND Team will contact the secondary school to confirm that they can meet your child’s special educational needs.
Once the school is confirmed, your child’s EHC Plan will be finalised and you will be informed of the arrangements that will be put in place to ensure your child’s move to secondary school goes smoothly. This should be done before the 15th February of the year that your child starts secondary school. If you do not agree to the secondary school that is named on your child’s EHCP, you can appeal to the SEN and Disability First-Tier Tribunal.
My child isn’t getting the right support at school. Who can help?
If you feel your child is not getting the right level of support, you are not being fully involved or kept up to date with your child’s progress, you should firstly approach your child’s class teacher or the school SENCO to discuss any concerns. If you need support to do this, independent advice and support is available through the independent Barnardo's SEND Information and Advice Service on 0191 478 4667 Email: DIASS@barnardos.org.uk. More information about how this service supports parents of children with SEN and/or disabilities in Gateshead can be found on the Barnardo's website.
If you are still not happy, you should follow the nursery/school complaints procedure. If following a complaint a resolution still cannot be found you can contact the Council’s SEN Team on 0191 433 3638 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice.
Leaving school and preparing for the future
From Year 9, a Connexions Personal Adviser can offer advice and support for young people with SEN on a range of lifestyle issues such as careers, education, training, employment, health and personal development opportunities across Tyne and Wear. Specific information about what Gateshead Connexions offer to young people with SEND can be found here:
More information: Connexions Service Telephone: 0191 433 2385.
For young people with an EHC Plan, a review meeting will take place in Year 9 (age 13/14) where plans are made for them leaving school and beginning adult life; looking particularly at a young person's education, health and social care needs. You can find more information about leaving school and preparing for the future on our website.
Gateshead Council's Family Information Directory
Includes information about post-16 education, training providers as well as other services that can provide information, advice and support for young people leaving school. Family Information Directory
Local and national organisations
Local and national organisations that provide help and support can be found in the following booklets. You can also search www.ourGateshead.org
Contact a Family: Growing up, sex and relationships guide
Contact a Family have written a guide for parents about developing your child's self-esteem and keeping them safe, encouraging friendships, and how to talk to your child about puberty and the changes that are happening to them. The guide also covers safe sex and contraception, and what to expect of sex and relationships education in school.
Growing up, sex and relationships guide
Financial Advice and Support
Contact a Family have produced a useful booklet about financial advice and support that may be available to you if your child has a disability: