LASS 8-11 results and the SEND Code of Practice
The SEND Code of Practice
The current Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (DfE, 2014), which came into force in September 2014, replaced the previous Code (published in 2001). Under the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, Part III, all schools, academies and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in England must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice when dealing with students with special educational needs or disabilities. It is assumed that most teachers in England will be familiar with the SEND Code of Practice, especially if they are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinators (SENDCo), and so only a brief outline will be given here.
The SEND Code of Practice (2014) provides guidance for education settings on taking a graduated approach to identifying and supporting students with SEN, which replaces the stages of School Action and School Action Plus from the previous code, and with Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) replacing statements of SEN. The SEND Code of Practice states that schools should assess students’ skills and attainment on entry and make regular assessments of progress. Where students are making less than expected progress, the first response should be high quality teaching targeting their areas of weakness. If progress continues to be less than expected then schools should assess whether the student has SEN, whilst continuing to provide extra teaching or interventions. When a student is identified as having SEN, schools should put in place a four- part cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review, which may involve outside specialists. Where, despite the school having taken action to assess and meet the SEN of the student, they have not made expected progress, the school or parents should consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.
The Children and Families Act 2014, Part III, Chapter 6 places upon LEAs in England, the responsibility for identifying all students with special educational needs. The SEND Code states that ‘The benefits of early identification are widely recognised – identifying need at the earliest point and then making effective provision improves long-term outcomes for the child or young person’ [SEND Code].
It is clear that LASS 8–11 can play a significant role in helping schools and teachers meet their obligations under the Children and Families Act and the SEND Code of Practice.
Guidelines on using LASS 8-11 in conjunction with the SEND Code of Practice
LASS 8–11 results should not be considered in a vacuum. Hence, other relevant factors should be taken fully into account, including academic progress across the curriculum, the length of time that a student has been experiencing difficulties, the extent to which the student has developed strategies which enable them to compensate for difficulties, and the emotional impact of any difficulties. Writing skills are not assessed by LASS 8–11, but when considering results and deciding appropriate courses of action it is important that writing skills are factored in. Consistent with the SEND Code, it should also be remembered that assessment is not a one-off but rather a continuing process in which educational history should be considered and regular reviews undertaken.