Whether you work in a specialist or mainstream school it is highly likely you will work very closely with SEND pupils. The role of the teaching assistant is of huge importance in catering for the individual needs of the student(s) you work with.
The Children’s and Families Act (section 3), published in 2014, refers to working with SEND and can be found HERE.
The code of practice, which most teaching assistants will find more useful than the legislation itself, was published in September 2014 can be found HERE.
This is a lengthy document, so here is a summary of how it differs from the 2001 code:
  • The Code of Practice (2014) covers the 0-25 age range and includes guidance relating to disabled children and young people as well as those with SEN.
  • There is a clearer focus on the participation of children and young people and parents in decision-making at individual and strategic levels.
  • There is a stronger focus on high aspirations and on improving outcomes for children and young people.
  • It includes guidance on the joint planning and commissioning of services to ensure close co-operation between education, health services and social care.
  • It includes guidance on publishing a Local Offer of support for children and young people with SEND.
  • There is new guidance for education and training settings on taking a graduated approach to identifying and supporting pupils and students with SEN (to replace School Action and School Action Plus).
  • For children and young people with more complex needs a co-ordinated assessment process and the new 0-25 Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC plan) replace statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs).
  • There is greater focus on support that enables those with SEN to succeed in their education and make a successful transition to adulthood.
  • Information is provided on relevant duties under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Information is provided on relevant provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Don’t forget that you are not alone! All support staff will need to get their head around this legislation and the first point of contact if you have further questions should be the SENCO at your school. They will have attended training seminars and workshops, and should be able to support you in understanding exactly how these changes directly affect the students you work with and how you should be supporting them.