Stages of the Code of Practice

This section provides an explanation about the different stages of the Code of Practice.

Stage 1

This part of the Code of Practice is led by your child’s class teacher.  An action plan will be written to identify your child’s difficulties and list the actions the teacher will put in place to address the identified difficulties.  The teacher will put in place strategies which may include additional teacher attention.  The actions will normally take place over a period of time (possibly one or two terms).  Your child’s progress will be monitored and a termly review will take place.  Following the review, the following decisions may be made:

  • Remove the pupil from the SEN register
  • Continue at Stage 1 
  • Move to Stage 2 

Stage 2

This stage is led by the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). An Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be drawn up by the school.  As a parent, you will be asked to sign the IEP to show your agreement and commitment to the plan.

Further strategies will be used by the school to address your child’s special educational needs, including use of the Resource to Support Children with Special Educational Needs and the school may offer more individualised support e.g. literacy support either within class or withdrawal from class.

Stage 2 support will also be provided over a period of time (possibly two terms) to enable the strategies to be put in place, give them time to work so they can be monitored and evaluated.  The IEP should be reviewed with parents on a termly basis or more frequent if required.  Following the review the school can decide to:

  • Remove the pupil from the SEN register
  • Move back to Stage 1 
  • Continue at Stage 2 
  • Move to Stage 3 

Stage 3

The school will continue to be responsible for the pupil’s SEN’s and will also seek outside help which will be dependent on the pupil’s Special Educational Needs e.g. learning or medical. This may involve your child being referred to: 

  • Stage 3 support services
  • Educational Psychology Service
  • Health & Social Care Trust/Allied Health Professionals

Your child’s progress will be monitored and the following can be considered:

  • Remove the pupil from the SEN register
  • Move back to Stage 1 or Stage 2 
  • Continue at Stage 3 
  • Move to Stage 4 

What happens if my child is still struggling?

If your child is not making progress, the Education Authority, working with parents, school and other agencies, may consider carrying out a Statutory Assessment of your child’s Special Educational Needs.  A Statutory Assessment is only necessary in a very small minority of cases and a request for a statutory assessment does not always lead to a statement of special educational needs.

Stage 4

Statutory Assessment?

A Statutory Assessment is a formal and detailed process to find out what your child’s special needs are, and what additional help they may need in school.

During Statutory Assessment, important decisions are involved that may shape your child’s schooling for some time to come and the process cannot be rushed. The decisions must be based on comprehensive information. While the Education Authority is carrying out Statutory Assessment your child should continue to receive help and support from the school until the assessment process is completed. You can also ask the school or the educational psychologist for advice as to how you can help your child meanwhile.

The Education Authority will consider all of the available information and decide whether or not an assessment is required. If the decision is not to proceed with a Statutory Assessment you will be informed of the reasons for the decision in writing. If you do not agree with the decision you will be given details on how to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Stage 5

Stage 5 of the Code of Practice refers to the time when the Education Authority makes and maintains a Statement of Special Educational Needs on a child.

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator

The Code of Practice (Section 2.12) sets out that all mainstream schools should have a designated teacher (known as the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, or SENCO) who is responsible for the day to day operation of the school’s Special Educational Needs policy.  This includes liaising with teachers, parents and other relevant professionals, maintaining the school’s Special Educational Needs Register, and ensuring that all teachers are trained to meet the Special Educational Needs of pupils in the school.

Last updated: 22/10/2019