Who do I speak to at school?
When your child is struggling at school with their learning or they are going to a new school it can be difficult to know who to speak to.
We look at
- who to speak to
- when to speak to them
- what to say, and what to bring
- what does SENCO mean and why you need to know this.
It is important to have a relationship with the school SENCO , especially in high schools. Whenever you move to a new school always find out who the SENCO is and arrange to meet them. They are the person who will have the best overall picture of the support available for your child or what is in place for your child’s learning.
Who to speak to
- Make a time to meet together.
- Speak with your child’s teacher and let them know what you have noticed, OR
- Another option is to have a meeting with the teacher and the school SENCO (if there is one)
- Make an appointment to speak directly with the school SENCO.
When to speak with them
- If you have new information connected to your child’s learning eg hearing issue, updated assessment report
- If you are concerned about the child’s progress at school. An important point here is that as a parent and caregiver you know your child the best – if you are concerned follow it up. You are allowed too.
- The child is very anxious about attending school, school work, a teacher etc.
Also keep in mind the school may see a different side of your child compared to you. A child with dyslexia will usually keep it together at school and let it all out at home when they don’t have to work so hard.
What to say and what to bring
- Let the school know if any of this is happening at home, for example meltdowns when they get home, a battle to do homework etc. School may not know any of this is happening as the child can keep it together while at school.
- Any new reports or updates
- Outline your concerns, have them written down before you go. It can be hard to approach the teacher and school sometimes so take a support person with you if it helps you feel better.
- Be aware this may be the first time that the teacher/s have heard of these concerns, so they will need time to think about the information you have given them.
- Ask for a time in the future for when you both will get in contact again.
- Think about what outcomes you would like for your child, for example,
- more information about what is happening at school,
- regular updates of how the child’s learning is progressing,
- what support the school can provide,
- what other information do the school need.
What does SENCO mean and why you need to know this.
The SENCO is the Special Education Needs Co-ordinator.
- They are someone that the school has chosen to co-ordinate the services available for children with learning difficulties.
- They can be a classroom teacher, a specialist teacher (a teacher who isn’t in the classroom) or a principal.
- There is no specific training provided for SENCO’s by the Ministry of Education.
- In some schools they can be called the Learning Support Co-ordinator
- Not all schools have a SENCO
- They can be in primary schools and high schools
Special Education Needs Co-ordinator
- This is the “go to” person apart from your child’s teacher in your school if you have any queries about your child’s specific learning difficulties.
- They work with students (or know who does) who have special learning needs such as:
- physical disabilities,
- sensory impairment,
- speech and language requirements,
- cognitive disabilities,
- emotional/behavioural difficulties,
- specific learning difficulties
- Responsibility for Individual Education Programmes (I.E.P.) for special needs students
- They are involved in applying to the Ministry of Education for additional resources or funding for children with special needs eg Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB’s), Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
- They will be involved in gathering information for NCEA special assessment conditions.
- Liaise closely and regularly with parents/whanau
- Leadership and coordination of teacher aides and their timetables