Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we are compiling the most frequently asked questions. If you have a question which is not listed, please contact Information Advice and Support

I think my child may have a special educational need - what do I do?

You could speak to your GP, the school or nursery teacher, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or the school nurse. You can also contact Information Advice and Support Manchester.

My Child has a Special Educational Need (SEN) but does not have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) - What sort of support is available?

The support available is called ‘SEN Support’ and this support is tailored to your child’s individual needs. It can be wide-ranging. For example, if a child has dyslexia, part of the support might involve using pastel coloured paper. If a child is learning at a slower pace, the SEN Support could involve some small group work within the classroom. Sometimes these forms of support are called ‘reasonable adjustments’.

How will I know if the SEN Support is effective?

Through the Code of Practise, schools and other settings are required to use an Assess, Plan, Do, Review approach to measure the effectiveness of the support they have put in place.

What is School Action/School Action Plus?

School Action/School Action Plus (in schools) and Early Years Action/Early Years Action Plus, have been replaced by SEN Support.

Can I be involved in the decisions about SEN Support?

Absolutley -  the views of parents and young people / children will be needed through out the process - including being kept up to date with progress made. Young People should be fully involved in designing their SEN Support and provision. If you need futher information or advice, contact IAS.

I think my child might need support with their social understanding / behaviour - what’s available?

There are different types of help available depending on your child's needs. If you think that your child may need extra help you could: 

My child is about to move schools - what advice and tips can you give me?

It’s useful to find out...

  • Whether the school has experience of children with similar needs and what strategies have been effective

  • What the school's special educational needs policy is

  • How the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) passes information about children to teaching staff

  • How your child would be supported in class

  • How you'd be involved in supporting your child's progress and development

  • If the Secondary SENCO arranges to visit your child in their Primary School to get to know your child in a familiar environment, with their School teacher or the Primary SENCO. If not, could he/she arrange a transition day for your child to meet the SENCO, see what support is available for them and meet any other young people with similar additional needs before the start of term.

If you need any further support, contact IAS

What are Special Educational Needs?

The Education Act 1996 defines Special Educational Needs (SEN) as: a child has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child has a learning difficulty if he or she:

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age;

  • has a disability which either prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority; or

  • is under five and falls within the definition at (a) or (b) above or would do so if special educational provision was not made for the child

A child must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of the home is different from the language in which he or she will be taught. 

Special educational provision means:

  • for a child over two, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of the child’s age in maintained mainstream schools, in the area.

  • for a child under two, educational provision of any kind

My Child has Special Educational Needs and needs more help at school, what help can they get?

It’s a good idea to ask to meet with your child's class teacher, form tutor or the pre-school setting leader and the Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or inclusion co-ordinator. You may already have a review meeting arranged to look at your child’s progress and support. If not, you can ask for one to be set up.

The amount of support you can expect your child to have depends on whether your child receives support at the level called SEN Support or has a Statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care Plan. Whichever stage your child is at, you can expect them to be given the right level of support to help them learn and make progress.

If you need any further help, contact Information Advice and Support Manchester.



What is an Education, Health & Care Plan?

An Education, Health & Care (EHC) plan is a legal document that describes a child or young person's special educational, health and social care needs. It explains the extra help that will be given to meet those needs and how that help will support the child or young person to achieve what they want to in their life.

It should:

  • State the views, interests and aspirations (wishes) of the parents and child or young person

  • Describe the child or young person’s special educational needs and any health and social care needs

  • Specify the provision required to meet those needs

  • State how services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes that have been agreed together. The plan should have short, medium and long term outcomes.

Read more here:

Education, Health & Care Plans


Who can make a request for an EHC plan?

A child or young person’s school or setting can make a request, as can a parent. Under the new law, a young person (16-25) can also make a request themselves.

In making its decision about whether a child or young person needs an EHC Needs assessment, the local authority has to look at what support has already been provided and whether there has been any progress. If a school or setting makes the request, they will be able to provide evidence of support, attainment and rate of progress.

If you as a parent, or your young person make a request, please view the IPSEA website which gives detailed advice on what you should do.

More information here:

Information Advice & Support

Statutory Assessment Team


What does an Education Health & Care Plan look like?

View the Manchester Template and some useful information on what a good Education Health & Care Plan should look like.

There are 13 sections that must be in a plan. Each section relates to specific information from specific services or people. Parents and young people fill out section A and can add to section K but are involved throughout.  

The 13 sections that must be in a plan are below. Each section relates to specific information from specific services or people. Parents and young people fill out section A and can add to section K but are involved throughout.  

A: The views, interests and aspirations (wishes) of your child.

B: Special educational needs (SEN).

C: Health needs related to SEN.

D: Social care needs related to SEN.

E: Outcomes (goals) - how the extra help will benefit your child

F: Special educational provision (support).

G: Health provision.

H: Social care provision. (H1 and H2)

I: Placement - type and name of school or other institution.

J: Personal budget arrangements.

K: Advice and information - a list of the information gathered during the EHC needs assessment.


What is an Independent Supporter?

An Independent Supporter (IS) is a volunteer or paid worker who has gone through a training programme to be able to support children, young people and parents/carers with issues around Special Educational Needs (SEN).  They can provide support with paperwork or at meetings and help parents/carers understand the process.  You may be asked if you would like an IS when you become involved with the Service.

How do I get an Independant Supporter? (IS)

Requests for Independent Support need to be made to Information, Advice and Support Manchester. Requests can be made by telephone on 0161 209 8356; or by email:


External Links


Is the information on this page correct? If not, please let us know.