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  • Writer's pictureRed Dot Consulting

7 Key Points when Looking at SEN Provision

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

Special Educational Needs (SEN) can encompass a wide range of learning difficulties but as a parent how do you go about ascertaining whether a mainstream school will actually provide the support you require for your child? Read on for our top tips to consider when looking at a school's SEN support.

1. First things first, make sure you understand the need(s) of your child. Read the psychological assessment and draw up a list of schools that state they can provide the support your child actually needs.

You may need to dig a little deeper into your school research and look outside the box. Consider looking at school groups rather than just one school, the offering they have in their family of schools may well be the perfect fit and open up more opportunities rather than chasing the leading international school which may not provide the correct support your child actually needs. English School Foundation in Hong Kong is a great SEN provider but did you know that the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School is also in their portfolio for children with extensive education needs? Likewise, within the Nord Anglia group schools including Dover Court International School, Singapore and St Andrews International School, Bangkok have excellent individualised learning pathway programmes.

2. After studying the websites of these schools it is vital that you visit the school; you need to see first hand the facilities that are available, which includes the classroom environment as well as the overall physical school environment. It is important to be able to see and discuss the resources on offer to help support your child, have the opportunity to meet some of the SEN teachers and discover which teachers are qualified to the specific needs of your child and what the reality will actually be vs the promise. In Covid-times of course a real tour may not be possible and in which case ask if the SEN lead for the school can give you a personal virtual one-to-one tour, rather than just looking at a pre-recorded video, so that you can ask questions as you go around with them.

3. Ask questions! In order to make sure your child is included within the school you need to find out how the school enforces this. Don't be aftraid to ask how the children are integrated within the school and classroom. What the classroom sizes are, how easy is it to transition into the school, what happens to class work which the child misses when they are in the special teaching unit, will the support be alone or with others of similar ages - these are all important questions that need to be answered.

4. Make notes of each school once the tour is over, as after a while they all blur into one. This will not only help you draw up a list of pros and cons but will allow you to reflect on each one in turn when you come to making your final decision. We find making copious voice notes on our phones the second we leave the school campus is a great way to note everything down while fresh in our heads.

5. Straight form the Horses Mouth. As well as research on the school and looking at resources online, reach out to your network and get some inside track information from those who have their own expereience of SEN. Friends who already have a support system for their children may have some valuable points on what they are happy with / what may be missing from the schools support systems that their children attend. Remember you are not alone and if you dig a little deeper you may well find many friends who are in a similar situation.

6. Involve your child as much as possible, their feelings and thoughts are as important as yours so make sure you listen to their views and involve them in the decision process where you can, after all they are central to all of this.

7. Trust your gut as you know your child more than anyone else. First impressions are vital, and that coupled with all the necessary facts and resources, will allow you to make the right decision and help your child thrive.

Looking for more of a specialist school? Read our article on Melbourne Specialist School in Singapore, which caters to those pupils who find it challenging to adapt to the demands of mainstream schooling and get an insight on how an entire community can come together to support the needs of children with learning disabilities.

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