For many children and young people, the Graduated Response will be used within schools and colleges in the first instance.

Primary school support

If you think your child may have a special educational need that has not been identified by the school or early education setting, you should talk to your child's class teacher, to the special educational needs co-ordinator or headteacher.

All education and childcare providers have a duty to be inclusive in their provision. Derby City Expectations of Education Providers summarises what we expect providers to do for pupils with additional needs. If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities they may require extra support known as SEND Support through school.

Schools Accessibility Strategy 2019-2022 explains when schools should make reasonable adjustments to the learning environment and school site.

Here is a copy of our 2015 -2018 Schools Accessibility Strategy and the action we took to deliver it.

Find out more about EHC assessments and plans.

Secondary school support

If your child or young person has SEN but does not have a statement or EHC plan they are still entitled to support that enables them to achieve the “best possible educational and other outcomes”.

If your child is in a secondary school, you should talk to the child's form teacher, special educational needs co-ordinator, head of year or headteacher. You will be able to discuss your concerns and find out what the school thinks. All of our schools do their best to support children with special needs, sometimes with the help of external specialists. If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities they may require extra support known as EHC assessment and plans (SEND support) through school.

Pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities may qualify for help (called ‘access arrangements’) in public examinations.

The most common arrangements are extra time, or provision of a word processor, computer reader, reader and/or a scribe (except for exams that specifically test these skills, such as English).

There is a range of other possible arrangements for pupils with visual or hearing impairments, or other difficulties.

Apply for a mainstream school place

If your child does not have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, you will need to apply for a school place through the Mainstream Admissions team.

Specialist Provision Capital Fund - Short Plan

The government has committed £215 million of capital funding to help local authorities create new school places and improve existing facilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, in consultation with parents and providers.

For Derby, £825,486 of specialist provision capital funding has been allocated over a three year period between 2018 to 2019 and 2020 to 2021. You can read Derby's short plan for this specialist provision funding plan to find out more details. 

The different stages of education that a child passes through also known as KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5:

  • Key Stage five - age 16+ (sixth form or college)
  • Key Stage four - age 14-16 (years 10 and 11)
  • Key Stage three - age 11-14 (years 7, 8 and 9)
  • Key Stage two - age 7-11 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  • Key Stage one - age 5-7 (years 1 and 2)

Derby SEND Information Advice and Support Service provides free, legally-based impartial, confidential and accessible information, advice and support for children, young people and parents/carers covering Special Educational Needs (SEN), Disabilities, Health and Social Care.

Disability Direct provides in depth advice and support on a range of topics including welfare rights, benefits eligibility, form filling, access to activities directory, independent living and support with paying for care.

Where else to get help

If you are concerned about your child's progress in their educational setting, you should discuss this with your childs teacher or the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in the first instance. It may be that your school ask an Educational Psychologist to assess your child. The Education Psychology Service provides a wide range of services to help the Children and Young People’s Department discharge its duty to identify and meet Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Other teams you may find useful include:

The Specialist Teaching and Psychology Service (STePS) is made up of three teams:

  • Early Intervention Team
  • Advisory Teachers Team
  • Educational Psychologists


There are three main types of school, Mainstream which most pupils attend. There are also Enhanced Resource Schools and Special Schools which support about 2% of pupils with high levels of additional need.

There are many types of mainstream school:

  • 'All-through' schools serve nursery, primary and secondary age children. The governors are responsible for all admissions.
  • Academies are all-ability schools established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups working in partnership with central government. Governors are responsible for all admissions.
  • Community and voluntary-controlled schools are managed by the head teacher and governors in partnership with Derby City Council, which arranges admissions to these schools.
  • Voluntary aided (VA) schools are jointly supported by the Church Diocesan Boards and Derby City Council. The governors employ all the staff and manage their admissions.
  • Foundation schools are maintained by the local authority, but the governors are responsible for all admissions.
  • Free schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand.
  • Trust schools are maintained schools owned by a trust, where the governors are responsible for all admissions.
  • Special schools are attended by children with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Special schools provide for pupils whose degree of disability requires a more comprehensive specialist approach than a mainstream school or enhanced resource school can provide. Some experience of mainstream school may be possible. We are the admissions authority for all special schools.
  • Enhanced resource schools are mainstream schools with additional resources for particular children with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where there is more specialist support and staff. Pupils are not generally taught separately and are included in the mainstream classes.
  • Independent schools

Section 41 of the Children and Families Act allows the Secretary of State, by order, to publish a list of approved independent special schools and special post 16 institutions.

To be on the list they must:

• “have regard” to the SEN (Special Educational Needs) Code of Practice
• have a reciprocal duty to co-operate with the local authority on arrangements for children and young people with SEN
• have specific duties and rights relating to admissions, in line with maintained schools, academies, FE (Further Education) colleges and non-maintained special schools.

Derbyshire schools

For information about Derbyshire schools, visit Derbyshire County Council Local Offer. For information about Derbyshire support service for special educational needs, visit Derbyshire County Council website.

Exclusions are a period of time where a child is not permitted to attend school. This could be for a set amount of time only, or permanently, depending on the reason why the exclusion took place. Government guidance about exclusions outlines what educational providers must do. Derby City Council do also also have an exclusion page which you may find useful.

You may be asking "What can I do after year 11 in school?" Take a look at our learning choices page to find out more. The page includes information about sixth forms, colleges and apprenticeships in and around Derby. You might worry that despite extra support at school or college, an Education, Health and Care Plan might help.