Working with school

Parents and school are equal partners working together to find ways to support a child and include their views.

The views of the child should be at the heart of any discussion.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015says:

Parents know their children best and it is important that all professionals listen and understand when parents express concerns about their child’s development. They should also listen to and address any concerns raised by children and young people themselves. (6.20)

Where a pupil is receiving SEN support, schools should talk to parents regularly to set clear outcomes and review progress towards them, discuss the activities and support that will help achieve them, and identify the responsibilities of the parent, the pupil and the school. Schools should meet parents at least three times each year. (6.65)

These discussions will need to allow sufficient time to explore the parents’ views and to plan effectively. (6.69)

The views of the pupil should be included in these discussions. This could be through involving the pupil in all or part of the discussion itself, or gathering their views as part of the preparation. (6.70)

Things you can do

Because you know your child best, you will have really important information to share with school, including strategies for how your child can be supported.

Often parents are using strategies without even realising and it can be less confusing for a child where the strategies at home and school are the same. 

Ideas for partnership working:

  • Note down key points and questions before you meet with school.
  • Approach school offering to work with them.
  • Share your child’s strengths and what they enjoy
  • Note down what your child has said, children’s words are powerful and tell us a lot about how they feel.
  • Acknowledge the school view and any support they are offering.
  • Share what you see as your child’s main difficulties, but also what support and approaches you have found to help.

At the end of the meeting make sure you know what will happen next. It can be reassuring to make an appointment there and then for a follow-up  meeting, so that you know when support and progress will be reviewed.

Ahead of any meeting it can be helpful to let school know what you would like to discuss:

Download our Pre-meeting email template (Word document) 

Thinking about your questions

When you meet with school you will want to find out:

  • the progress your child has been making and
  • whether the support in place is having the desired impact, and if not,
  • what needs to change

Think about how to frame your questions before you meet with school, below are some ideas:

“What works well at home is…”

“Could we…?”

“Max responds well to…”

“Jess says they would find… helpful. Have I got that right Jess?”

“If you can’t do… what can you offer instead?”

“How can I support you in supporting my child

When things go wrong

The relationship between a parent and school can sometimes be tricky, for example where there is disagreement about your child’s rate of progress or the support they are receiving. 

It will be helpful to talk to school as soon as possible so that you can be reassured about what is happening. It could be that the planned support was not working and school have made some changes that you have not been told about, or maybe a temporary staffing issue due to illness. 

Sometimes staff are working on one of the agreed actions and intend to work on another action later, so as not to overwhelm a child.  

Try to maintain a calm and friendly approach, a positive relationship with school will help your child.

Useful Resources

Written communication tips (opens PDF)

Pre-meeting email template (opens PDF)

Sendiass meeting planner (opens PDF)

Unpicking issues (opens PDF)

Sharing interests, skills and qualities (opens PDF)

Sharing support needs (opens PDF)

Related Information

Read our information ‘Raising concerns‘.

See also ‘ SEN Support’