There is an extensive list of organisations that can support the schools’ work with children and young people who have different special educational needs or disabilities. These organisations and the schools work together as a team and share their knowledge and experiences to achieve the best interest of children and young people. In this cooperation, both the policies of the school and those of the relevant external organisations have to be taken into account.
Multi-agency teams bring together professionals from different agencies to provide an integrated way of supporting children, young people and their families. As well as giving advice and guidance to teaching and non-teaching staff in schools. It is a way of working together that guarantees children and young people who need additional support have the professional help that is needed to give them that support. In summary, the professionals who work alongside schools may include:
• Social services,
• Children’s services,
• Youth services,
• Police service,
• National Health Service,
• Educational Psychology service.
Social Services provide protection to children and young people who might be at risk of abuse and neglect, and assist the school in dealing with this sensitive situation by gathering information for court reasons. In fact, social workers’ central role is to offer help and assistance to children, young people and their families dealing with children at risk of harm. They play a major role of gathering information about a pupil’s social, emotional and behavioural development in school. To achieve their aim, social workers conduct interviews with the student as well as making classroom observations. They also conduct interviews with the senior members of staff and parents on strategies that can provide a better support to the children in school.
The work of the Children’s Services is based on the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters’ framework. Professionals of different areas are included in various organisations related to education, health, early years, childcare and social services. For example, children’s services include the work of Early Years consultants, who offer support and advice to teachers and other members of staff in the educational settings. They work closely with both children and parents to identify, assess and respond to children’s additional needs and to ensure that the appropriate intervention is given to children in order to develop their learning within the school.
Youth Services work mainly with secondary schools, and their work promotes the personal, educational and social development of young people aged between 13- to 19-year-old. Youth workers respond to the needs and interests of young people and attempt to resolve issues involving health awareness and education by developing positive skills and attitudes within the young people. Youth workers have an influential role in empowering young individuals to take on issues that are affecting their lives.
Youth Offending Services (YOS) work closely with young people and families to identify and address risk factors, and encourage restorative justice and attention to the needs of victims of crime. YOS link closely with social care and education, aiming for positive diversion from crime and improving life opportunities through skills, routes to training and employment.
To achieve their aims, they liaise with schools and the Education Department when a young person is experiencing difficulties at school. They will often assist with school work and enable communication between the young person, school and their families.
Tackling crime, racism, violence, extremism, illegal drugs, gang culture and anti-social behaviour has been a consistent priority of successive UK Governments. Evidence from a number of policy and practice developments, since the late 1990s, has highlighted the value of school-based interventions in tackling anti-social and offending behaviour among young people. In 2002, this evidence contributed to the set-up of the cross-departmental Safer School Partnerships programme (SSP). Jointly set up by the (then) Department for Education and Skills (DfES), Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Association of Chief Education Officers (ACPO) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB), the SSP was a “new intervention based on a partnership between police and schools” (Bhabra et al., 2004). Safer Schools Partnerships were introduced with funding to support the placement of Safer Schools Police Officers in a hundred schools within selected Street Crime Areas (Hayes and Ball, 2008). Despite its importance, this funding was terminated in 2005 with the publication of a new guidance on how to implement a Safer Schools Partnership. Nevertheless, the partnerships between schools and police have remained an important part of Government policy.
A 2009 survey of police forces confirmed the presence of over 5000 schools in England that are part of the SSP, which is ten times more than previous estimates. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) survey indicates that approximately 20% of primary schools and 45% of secondary schools in the country are involved in some sort of SSP provision or other similar formal arrangements with the police.
Speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, etc., all work for the National Health Services, providing specialised care for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities. School health services staff can also help all students with preventive care such as flu shots and vision and hearing screening, as well as acute and emergency care. The School Health Service is based within schools and promotes healthier lifestyles, physical, psychological and social well-being. From April 2013, local authorities are responsible for delivering and commissioning public health services for 5- to 19-year-old children/young people. This includes providing prevention and early intervention services, addressing key public health issues and delivering the Healthy Child Programme. School nurses are skilled in delivering these services and can work with local authorities to deliver effective public health programmes.
Many children have problems with their development and learning at some point in their lives. Most improve with the help of their families, their schools and their friends. The Educational Psychology service can offer additional advice if schools or families are having difficulty helping the child to improve. The educational psychologist job is to assess the needs of these children and advise their parents, school or the Council about the best way to help them. These professionals are involved in the statutory work for the Local Authority including assessments and reviews of special educational needs.
Statutory Work may include the following:
• Providing advice to the Local Authority on the needs of children/young people who have severe and complex needs;
• Attendance at Interim/Annual Review meetings of children/young people with statements and Educational Health care plans where school, LA and/or parents have concerns about progress or provision;
• Providing consultation and advice to schools and parents on how best to inclusively meet the complex needs of children/young people in mainstream and special educational settings.
• Supporting the Local Authority in the introduction of changes required by the SEND Reforms (2014). Including delivering training about key working, person centred work, and Education Health care plans.
• Contributing to the reassessment of pupils as they make the transition to an EHC Plan.
Educational psychologists can also help to facilitate a successful return to a school for pupils who have been permanently excluded; they can apply their psychological knowledge to contribute to action planning within the CAF process and can identify, assess and make provision for children with SEN.
Educational Psychologists become involved with children and young people who have the most significant and complex difficulties which affect their learning and development.