Local Offer SEND Information Hub
If you are new to the world of SEND, it might be helpful to read our Guidance For New Parent Carers.
The Special Education and Disability Information, Advice and Support Manchester (SENDIASS) offers information, advice and support around SEND education in the city. It’s a free, confidential and impartial service with a dedicated Information, Advice and Support IAS helpline.
Contact, the national charity for families with disabled children, has lots of helpful information around education and learning.
Go to the Local Offer SEND Information Hub.
Your questions about SEND education
YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT EDUCATION
Some of your questions may be answered in Manchester’s SEND Talk Podcasts. These feature local carers who have been through the same hurdles you may be facing. Themes include: SEND support in school, preparing for school meetings, the EHCP process, and the Annual Review process. See this podcast page to listen for free from the SENDIASS website or your favourite podcast player. There are transcriptions of each episode too.
What assessments will my child need?
You can ask Manchester City Council to carry out an assessment if you think your child needs an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHC or EHCP). This is a legal document that sets out a child or young person’s special educational, health and social care needs. It describes the extra help that will be given to meet those needs and how that help will support them to achieve what they want to in their life. Most young people with SEND will have their needs met without an EHC plan.
A young person can request an assessment themselves if they’re aged 16 to 25. A request can also be made by anyone else who thinks an assessment may be necessary, including doctors, health visitors, teachers and parents.
Will my child have to go to a special school?
Most children in Manchester with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, are supported in mainstream schools. See this Council guidance on SEN support in mainstream schools.
You and Manchester City Council might decide a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school is the best way to support your child’s education. Your child will need an EHC to get into a special school. Parents and the young person can request particular schools and colleges. Find out more here.
Any other guidance around education?
Matching Provision to Need Tool (MPNT): Guidance around the different levels of support schools should be providing to meet your child's needs. There is a set of tools for 0-5 years, 5-14 years and 14-25 years.
Manchester Ordinarily Available Provision: Describes the range of support, strategies and activities in early years settings for young children with additional needs without the need for a formal diagnosis or specialist support.
Anxiety Based School Avoidance: A tool for parents/carers and schools to talk to children and young people regarding their anxieties and to provide strategies to encourage school attendance.
What if I disagree with decisions around my child’s education?
See this guidance on Disagreement Resolution and Mediation Services in Manchester. There is also information on SEND tribunals.
SENDIASS are there to provide free and independent advice around these matters.
Education news and resources
Exclusions support: Autistic Children are particularly vulnerable to being excluded from school. The Department for Education is funding the School Exclusions service through the Autism Education Trust (AET) to provide information and advice to parents and to support professionals. See the resources, including AET’s School Exclusion Service.
Free school meals (2023): Many eligible disabled children are unfairly missing out on a free lunch because they can’t attend school or are unable to eat the meal provided due to dietary or sensory needs. Schools in England can use lunch parcels or voucher options to ensure they provide free school meals to those children entitled to them and on the school roll. In response to Contact’s campaign letter, the minister for schools has confirmed that maintained schools and academies have a duty under the Education Act 1996 to provide nutritious, free meals to eligible pupils wherever they receive education. This applies both in school and at home. Learn more about the free school meals campaign.
Human rights lawyers have written a free school meals guide and four template letters to help families whose disabled child is eligible for free school meal but can’t access them in the standard way. Find resources on Contact’s website, including a free webinar on the subject.
Mobile phone ban (November 23): England will be banning use of mobile phones in schools. However, schools must remember their duty to make reasonable adjustments to avoid discrimination. Find out more from Contact.
Out of school legal advice: IPSEA’S free webinar, 'My child is out of school - what can I do?', provides valuable guidance for parents and carers of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) who are currently out of school due to illness, exclusion, school anxiety, or lack of a school place. Delivered live by members of IPSEA’s expert legal team, it covers crucial topics, including: reasons why children may not be in school, what to do if a child or young person with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan is out of school, what to do if a child or young person without an EHC plan is out of school, what the law says for different age groups, and next steps.
Reasonable adjustments: All pupils should be helped to fulfil their potential. Here’s everything you need to know about reasonable adjustments and how they can help disabled children in schools.
Tribunals and disputes: The Council for Disabled Children has created some guidelines for parent carers looking for support with tribunals or disputes. Whilst parents and young people are free to use whoever they wish to support them, these guidelines are to help inform and support that choice. You have a right to free impartial information, advice and support from trained, SEND specialists. In the Manchester City Council area, this is offered by the SENDIASS team - check out their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Education, Health and Care Plans and other SEN support
See Education, Health and Care Plans and Other SEN Support. This includes: SEN Support in mainstream schools; EHC Needs Assessment and Education, Health and Care Plans.
This free self-guided course from the Council for Disabled Children takes all the key elements from their popular live Holistic Outcomes in EHC Plans training and repackages it into a series of online modules. Suitable for parent carers and family members.
Here is Manchester City Council information on primary school places for children with SEND and secondary school places. You can find general information about school places on Manchester City Council’s admission pages.
Special schools and colleges
Search for special schools in the online directory on the Local Offer main page.
Most children in Manchester with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with Education, Health and Care Plans, are supported in a mainstream school. A number of mainstream schools provide additional specialist facilities on their site called a Resourced Provision.