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How can I get support?

If you need help at school or college, or will be moving to a new one, then you need to know how to get the support you need.

This is different depending on which UK country you live in:

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland

How can I get support in school or college? (England)

If you’re in school you should talk to your special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) – a teacher who’s responsible for making sure disabled children and young people have the support they need. Or you could talk to your Teacher of the Deaf.

If you’re in college then you should talk to the additional learning support team.

If you need more support than your school or college can offer, then you might need to ask for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

This is a legal document from your local authority (sometimes called your local council) that sets out the support you should get to help you achieve your goals.

How do I get an EHC plan?

(if you’re over 16) or your parents will need to contact your local authority. Their local offer website should have information on how to get in touch.

  • You will need to give information to the local authority on why you need an EHC plan.
  • The local authority will then decide whether to give you an EHC needs assessment to find out more about the support you need in education.
  • If you have an assessment, the local authority will then use information from the assessment to decide whether you need an EHC plan.
  • If they decide to give you an EHC plan then they have 20 weeks from the date you asked for an EHC assessment to create a plan for you.
  • If the local authority thinks you don’t need a plan and you aren’t happy with the reasons given by the local authority then you can appeal the decision. Contact our Freephone Helpline for information on what to do next.
What is in an EHC plan?

An EHC plan should have information about:

  • your interests and goals for the future)
  • your education, health and social care needs
  • your outcomes – these are things you’re working towards that will help you achieve your goals (e.g. to improve your reading and writing)
  • what support you will get.
Reviewing your plan

If you have an EHC plan your local authority must review your plan every year. You should be involved in the discussions and if you’re over 16 you can take control of your own plan or you can ask your parents to carry on being the main contact for your plan.

When do I stop having a plan?

If you start higher education (university or a course higher than A level or Level 3 BTEC) or start working full-time your plan will stop. For most deaf young people a plan will stop when they’re 18 or 19. However, it can sometimes be continued until you‘re 25 if you stay in further education or training – your local authority will decide.

How can I get support in school or college? (Scotland)

If you’re in school you can ask one of these people about how to get extra support:

  • Teacher of the Deaf
  • Classroom teacher
  • Guidance teacher
  • Teacher of additional support needs/learning support teacher
  • Teaching/classroom assistant.

You (if you‘re aged over 16) or your parents can ask your local council to find out how much support you need in school. This is called an assessment, and could include talking to teachers and educational, medical or psychological professionals.

Councils could then put in place one of these options:

Personal Learning Plan

Involves teachers working with you and your parents to set clear goals and review learning regularly.

Individual Education Plan

A more detailed plan that explains the support you need and how it will be given, and describes learning goals. It also includes support you’re getting from other services like health or social services.

Co-ordinated support plan (CSP)

A legal document (if you have long-term, complex or multiple needs) that describes what support you need and who will give it.

If you’re in college you should ask your disability support advisor about how to get extra support.

For help with support in school or college, please contact our Freephone Helpline.

How can I get support in school or college? (Wales)

If you’re in school you should talk to your special educational needs or additional learning needs coordinator (SENCO/ALNCO) – a teacher who’s responsible for making sure disabled children and young people have the support they need, or your Teacher of the Deaf.

If you need more support than your school can offer, then your parents may need to ask for a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

What is a Statement of Special Educational Needs?

This is a legal document from your local authority (sometimes called your local council) which describes the difficulties you have at school and what support you need to access your education. The local authority must give you the support listed in your Statement.

How do I get a Statement of Special Educational Needs?

Your parents need to ask your local authority for an assessment of your educational needs. The local authority will then decide if an assessment is needed. If it is, they will draft a statement and discuss this with your parents.

It shouldn’t take longer than 26 weeks from asking for an assessment to getting a final statement (if the local authority agrees you need one).

What about if I’m in college?

If you’re in college then you should talk to the additional learning support team.

College students don’t have statements, but if you had a statement of SEN in school, you should have received a Learning and Skills Plan through Careers Wales. This is not as powerful as a statement of SEN but it explains the support you need in college.

What’s happening in 2020?

Some changes will be made to the current special educational needs system, including:

  • Statements of Special Educational Needs will be replaced by Individual Development Plans (IDPs)
  • Young people in further education colleges aged between 16-25 will be able to have IDPs
  • IDPs will normally be provided by a school or college rather than a local authority (unless a young person has very severe disabilities)
  • Young people over the age of 16 will have the right to ask for an Individual Development Plan themselves.

How can I get support in school or college? (Northern Ireland)

If you’re in school you should talk to your special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) – a teacher who’s responsible for making sure disabled children and young people have the support they need.

If you need more support than your school can offer, then you could ask for a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

What is a Statement of Special Educational Needs?

This is a legal document from the Education Authority that describes the educational needs of a young person and what support they need to help them achieve their goals.

How do I get a Statement of Special Educational Needs?

Your parents need to ask the Education Authority for an assessment of your educational needs. The Education Authority will then decide if an assessment is needed. If it is, they will draft a statement and discuss it with you and your family.

It shouldn’t take longer than 26 weeks from asking for an assessment to getting a final statement (if the education authority agrees you need one).

The law is changing in Northern Ireland and soon young people aged 16 and over will have new rights to ask the Education Authority for an assessment of their educational needs.

What if I’m in college?

If you’re in college then you should talk to the additional learning support team to make sure you’re getting the right support.

College students don’t get statements but that doesn’t mean you can’t get extra support.

For help with support in school or college, please contact our Freephone Helpline.

How do I make a complaint?

If you don’t think you’re getting enough support, or if your school or college isn’t deaf aware enough, then you could think about making a complaint.

  1. Discuss the issue with your school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) or the department that organises your support in college. If you have a Teacher of the Deaf, you could also discuss the problem with them. Often a problem can be sorted by telling other people you’re struggling.
  2. If speaking to your school or college doesn’t solve the problem then you can make a formal complaint. Look on your school or college’s website for information on how to do this.
  3. If making a formal complaint hasn’t sorted the issue, you might need to take legal action – please contact our Helpline by emailing: helpline@ndcs.org.uk or chatting online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat.

Sometimes the problem isn’t your school or college, but your local authority.

It could be a problem with your plan or statement or the support you get from the sensory support service such as Teachers of the Deaf.

If you want to complain about your local authority please get in touch with our Helpline by emailing: helpline@ndcs.org.uk or chatting online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat.

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National Deaf Children's Society

Registered Charity: England and Wales (1016532) and Scotland (SC040779)

Helpline: 0808 800 8880

youngmember@ndcs.org.uk

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