One of the most important school website requirements is the publication of your SEN Information Report. This is a report on the implementation of your SEN Policy. It is important to note that there is no requirement to publish your SEN Policy. It could however be used as a framework for your report. There is clear guidance in the SEN Code of Practice for publishing an SEN Report which should be updated at least annually. Schools are required to publish a range of information on their school website to comply with the School Information Regulations and other legislation.
What is the SEN Information Report?
In short, the SEN Information Report outlines the school's provision for pupils with SEN and how the school will implement its SEN Policy. You must also explain within the report where the local authority's local offer is published. It must include information for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN and for the admission of disabled pupils. Your report should contain everything that Ofsted would want to see linked to the DfE requirements. Remember though, it is not just a report for Ofsted. Many parents of pupils with additional needs will want to read your report to see the provision and arrangements you offer as a school. It is a good place to show off good practice that you provide in school for children with these needs. Schedule 1 of The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 lists the requirements.
What we find when completing audits
When completing compliance audits on school websites we often come across SEN reports that don’t fulfil all of the requirements. The main element that is often missed or not evidenced clearly enough is ‘how the school adapts...the learning environment for pupils with special needs’. Schools are good at showing how pupils access the curriculum if they have an additional needs whether that be through the use of a coloured overlay or the use of more specialised equipment like a customised support chair. Many schools however are not good at outlining the provision for pupils to access the school building and facilities. Some good examples include the use of a ramp or a lift, access to a disabled toilet, wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, an induction loop system for children with hearing aids. A little thought around this area will help many schools fulfil this requirement. Your accessibility plan needs to reference this.
Another area is the 'treatment of complaints from parents of pupils with special educational needs concerning the provision made at the school'. The schools SEN Policy or the general complaints policy usually references this. However, according to the legislation it must be part of your SEN Information Report. You can use your SEN Policy to structure your report but it is not a requirement to publish this online.
A final point to note is that The SEN Information Report must be approved by the full governing body. From an auditing point of view it would be advisable to add the date of when the governors approved the information report and the next review date. During the year the report should be updated as soon as possible if there have been any changes.
How do you get fully compliant?
Firstly, ensure that you update your SEN Information Report annually and publish it online. Secondly, download our free school website requirements guide. Thirdly, if you're struggling for time to get your school website fully compliant why not buy a Pro-Audit?
Don’t rely on policies alone to show the provision for SEND in your setting. Ensure that within your school website you have a page dedicated to SEND provision. Why not go over and above being compliant? You could add some lovely content to your SEN page where ideally your Information Report is likely to sit. Have a read of one of our other blog posts about creating the best school website SEN page. This will give you some fantastic ideas!