Moving back to the UK from your overseas posting can mean mixed emotions. However, when you have children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) this can leave you with additional worries and anxieties. To help ease your concerns, we asked the MOD’s Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP) assistant head of SEND services, Anna Vrahimi to answer your questions…
Will my child’s SEND support and provision be the same back to the UK?
There are four nations in the UK and more than 400 local authorities in England alone. Each area will have different resources available. It may not be possible to have the exact replication of support and provision when you’re between any school in the UK and the same is true when children move back from overseas. Even though support may not look the same, it may be similar but delivered in a different way.
Each school and local authority in England will have its ‘SEND offer’ available on its website. Take some time to look at these to get an understanding of what’s available to meet your child’s specific needs. A good way of finding this information is through SENDirect.
My child has a Service Children’s Assessment of Need (SCAN) in their MOD school. Does this mean they’ll automatically get an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and will they receive one-to-one support?
Here at DCYP we’ve been working closely with local authorities and agreeing processes and procedures for children moving back with a SCAN. Let your child’s special educational needs and disability co-ordinator (SENDCO) know which local authority you are moving to and they’ll contact the SEND team there.
An EHCP only exists in England. In Wales, Scotland and Ireland they have a different name. The SCAN is only available in MOD schools and it doesn’t guarantee that it will be transferred directly into an ECHP or that your child will receive one-to-one support. However, it does give comprehensive information about your child, what they need to be successful in school and will have all the professional assessments.
My child is used to small class sizes. How will they cope in larger class sizes with fewer adults?
Having larger class sizes shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage. There are many advantages – including opportunities for more group work where children can learn to problem solve together, more activity options and it can encourage independence in learning. Research also shows that classrooms that have additional adults don’t outperform those classrooms with no extra adult support.
Some children cope better by not constantly being in the spotlight and work better when being part of a larger group. Larger class sizes also benefit children’s social interactions, where children have more experiences to interact with a wider range of individuals, which then better prepares them for adult life. Some children could become over-reliant on the additional adults in the classroom and it’s important we teach them to be independent and problem solvers. In MOD schools, there are still classrooms with up to 30 children – they’re not all small as is a common belief.
How do I find a school that will support my child’s SEND needs?
It’s your responsibility to find a school for your child. To find out which schools will be in the catchment area of your house address, have a look on your local authority website. My advice is to look at the SEND offer on the school websites. Phone the SENDCO of the school for a chat and, if you have the opportunity, visit the schools. Talk about your child’s needs and ask them how their school can support your child. As a parent, you know your child best and you’ll know which school best suits your child.
Children’s Education Advisory Service: DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.gov.uk or call 01980 618244 or 94344 8244
AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07552 861983
AFF’s Education & Childcare Specialist Jilly Carrell: email@example.com or call 07527 492869
Your local authority: gov.uk