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The Special Educational Needs Service (SENS)

Who does the service support (age, criteria, etc.)

The Special Educational Needs Service (SENS) is made up of the following teams:

It is led by Tracey Spence who is the team leader.


What can you expect from the Service (what happens, what type of support, etc.)

Although different teams in the service work with children and young people with varied and different special needs their pattern of working is very similar and will include;

  • observation of a child or young person in setting and individual assessments with the child or young person. Individual assessments will vary according to the nature of the child’s presenting difficulties   
  • working through consultation with other significant adults to make plans to achieve positive change for individual children or young people whose communication, learning, or development is causing concern
  • working directly with parents or carers exploring the nature of the child’s or young person’s special needs, their development and the barriers that they experience in accessing learning
  • advising schools, settings, parents, and carers on interventions and strategies including ways to evaluate their effectivenes.
  • gaining the views of children and young people and understanding their aspirations
  • facilitating a number of different support groups for parents and staff

All teams work with educational settings and community services. This may involve:

  • the designing and delivery of professional development (training) for teachers and other educational staff in settings and schools, other professionals (health, foster carers, child minders, social care, travel assistance teams etc.) and parents
  • training for and with community partners, e.g. Edwin Lobo Centre
  • contributing to Statutory Assessment of Special Educational Needs under Children & Families Act, 2014
  • Facilitating support groups for professional and families.


How do you get involvement from the service/ who can refer/ request involvement?

School or Nursery Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) can request through the Special Educational Needs Service Referral Form. Parents/ carers must give their informed consent for us to become involved with a child.

Parents and carers who feel their child  has special needs and would like a request  to be made should speak with the school’s SENCO. 

Other professional (health, social care, virtual school etc.). If the child is under five and not in a setting the professional should complete the notification form.


What happens after the service has been involved?

After they have finished their work with a child or young person advisors will write up a summary of their involvement. This may take the form of a duplicate collaborative working document (left on the day) or a report, which will be sent to school/ setting, parents/ carers and any other professionals who are involved with the child.  The written feedback will include details of the purpose of their involvement, child or young person’s views, parent/ carer views where available, an assessment of the child/young person’s special needs and the barriers to  learning  identified. This advice will contain activities, areas of work, strategies/programs/ resources.

Your child will remain on the team caseload whilst in education and are likely to move between teams depending on ongoing identified needs. Settings can request further support at any point in the future but may need to provide updated details.

Should the decision be taken by the family or professional who know the child/ young person best for an Education, Health and Care Assessment this report will form part of the evidence.


What can parents, CYP, families do if they are not eligible for the service/ schools or do not feel they can refer to this service

Your child’s  setting/school’s SENCO may have put in place appropriate levels of intervention and support and most children and young people with communication needs are able to have their needs met from within the schools resources. Settings/schools will draw upon the skills of the service when necessary. Some parts of the service operate on a traded, buy back basis and schools/settings may have taken this up.

Get in touch with the Special Educational Needs Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS). This team will be able talk with you about your concerns and can help you find information and support

Who to contact

Contact Name
SENS contact details

Special Educational Needs support services

Last updated 11/10/2022