Once special educational needs (SEN) officers have completed their assessment, they decide whether to write down all the information they have collected in a statement of SEN. Your local authority usually tells you if it is going to write a statement within 12 weeks of beginning the assessment.
If the local authority decides not to write a statement, it will explain the reasons, and tell you how it thinks your child's needs should be met in school or in other ways.
If the local authority decides not to assess
If your local authority decides not to assess your child, it must write and tell you and the school its reasons. If you or your child's school still feel that more needs to be done, talk to the school. The local authority could think about other ways of helping your child, including getting in some more outside help.
Your local authority should tell you about local arrangements for sorting out any disagreement informally. You also have a right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, an independent organisation.
Statements - setting out your child's needs
Once your local authority has carried out an assessment, they can decide to record the information they have in a statement of special educational needs (usually just called a 'statement'). This statement describes your child's SEN and the special help they should receive. The local authority usually makes a statement if they decide that this help cannot be provided from within your child's school.
Your local authority should normally write and tell you whether they are going to write a statement within 12 weeks of beginning the assessment.
Statements - what they contain
A statement of SEN is set out in six parts
- part one gives general information about your child
- part two gives the description of your child's needs following the assessment
- part three describes all the special help to be given for your child's needs
- part four gives the type and name of the school your child should go to
- part five describes any non-educational needs your child has
- part six describes how your child will get help to meet any non-educational needs
You are sent a draft statement before your local authority writes a final statement. It will be complete except for part four, which describes the type and name of school or education provided out of school. Part four will be left blank so that you can say what educational provision you want for your child.
Choosing a school
You have time to review the draft statement and have the right to disagree with its contents. You have 15 days to comment and to say which state school, or non-maintained special school or independent school, you want your child to go to.
You can also ask for a meeting with the local authority and you have another 15 days to ask for more meetings after that. Within 15 days of your last meeting, you can send in any more comments. If you would like more time to comment, you should talk to the 'Named Officer' at your local authority. This is the officer at the local authority who you will have been told is dealing with your child's case.
The local authority must make the final statement within eight weeks of the draft statement. It will send you a copy with part four filled in with the name of a school. The statement starts as soon as the local authority completes it.
If you disagree with the statement
If you disagree with the statement, first speak to your Named Officer. You might also find it helpful to contact your local parent partnership service, who can provide neutral advice and support.
You also have a right to appeal against parts two, three and four to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) an independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by local authorities on SEN assessments and statements. Also the local authority will tell you about the local arrangements.
You have this right to appeal to the SENDIST even if you are trying to sort out disagreements informally with the local authority.
You have a vital role in supporting your child's education. Your views should be taken into account and the wishes of your child listened to. There are also a number of groups and organisations who can provide you with advice about special educational needs (SEN). See the section Get more advice.
Click on the following links to open a PDF, use the back button on your browser to return to this resource. To save the handout to your computer, right click and choose 'Save as'.
Text for this page: After the assessment
Text for this whole section: When your child has complex needs