Special Educational Needs


A Guide for Parents:  SEND & PLPs

What does ‘Special Educational Needs and Disabilities’ (SEND) mean?

A child may be identified as having SEND within school because they are struggling to learn at the same rate as most children of their age. They may need extra and different help than most children of the same age in their class.

Children may need extra help because of a range of needs, such as thinking, remembering and understanding, physical or sensory difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or difficulties with speech and language, or how they relate to or behave to other people.

Many children will have SEND of some kind during their education.  Schools can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily.  But a few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school. The vast majority of children with SEND are educated within mainstream school, supported by teachers, support staff and any additional resources necessary.

There are three levels of SEND:

‘Below age-related expectations’ – where a child has fallen behind and needs intervention either 1:1 with an adult or in small groups to catch up.

‘School support’ – where the child has fallen further behind and advice and support from outside agencies such as specialist teachers is needed. They might have an adult working with them for some of the time.

‘Education and Health Care Plan’ – where a child has significant difficulties and needs and will need a highly adapted provision and high levels of adult support to help them to learn.

Some children with extremely complicated SEND are allocated places at a school with Specialist Provision as part of a legal Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the new name for a Statement of SEND. At Holybrook, we have a more specialised provision attached to the school called a resourced provision. This is for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

SEND could mean that a child has difficulties with:

  • All or some of the work in school
  • Reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • Expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
  • Making friends or relating to adults
  • Behaving properly in school
  • Organising themselves
  • Some kind of sensory or physical need which may affect them in school

What is a PLP?

Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) are designed to set out the strategies being used to meet a child’s identified needs.

They set out:

  • Short term targets set for or with the child
  • The teaching strategies to be used
  • The provision to be put in place
  • When the plan is to be reviewed
  • Success criteria (what we are hoping to see achieved)
  • Outcomes (to be recorded when the PLP is reviewed)

The PLP only records that which is additional to or different from the differentiated curriculum which is in place for all children in the class.  It focuses several priorities, chosen from those relating to the key areas of communication, literacy, mathematics and behaviour and social skills that meet the child’s needs.  Information is shared with parents and their views and support sought on a regular basis.

How do they work?

A child with a PLP may have additional work individually or in small groups to help them reach finely differentiated targets.  This usually means “little and often” work with teachers and/or teaching assistants in addition to normal English and Maths lessons.  We vary times so children do not miss out on the same lessons every week.  Sometimes PLPs are informed by professionals from outside agencies, e.g. Speech therapists, Occupational therapists, Educational Psychologists etc.  School works closely with colleagues from other agencies to support our children.

We receive fortnightly visits from our school-commissioned Speech and Language Therapist, Caroline, who supports children and advises staff about next steps for children.

Caroline SaLT Profile-Holybrook

Plans are usually reviewed termly.  The PLP may be updated with new targets, or the child may have made sufficient progress and the PLP can come to an end.  Parents will be informed and you will be asked for your comments/input.

Frequently asked questions:

Q:  My child has a PLP.  Does this mean they will always need one?

A: Not necessarily.  Some children may need their learning breaking down into smaller steps throughout their life in school, while others may only need additional help for a short time.

Q:  If my child has a PLP does this mean they will get an extra person to support them?

A:  No.  Children with a PLP have individual needs additional to other children.  This usually means they get extra help in small groups or individually, but does not entitle them to an extra member of staff to work alongside them.  Some children’s needs are such that they are allocated additional support as part of their Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP), a legal document for children with very complex SEND. However, most children with EHCPs will not have 1:1 support from an adult for all of the time unless they have a profound difficulty. However, they will receive higher levels of 1:1 or small group support than other children, depending on the child’s needs outlined in their plan.

Miss Jackson is the SEND coordinator in school. Please contact her if you are worried that your child might have special educational needs and need further advice. 

Star of the Week