Our Statement of Expectation

Our overarching statement of expectation is:

  • everyone deserves a fair start in life and we are committed to giving every child and young person aged 0 to 25 years the opportunity to reach their full potential. Education plays a critical role in achieving this
  • all families need extra help from time to time. For children and young people who have a Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND), different levels of support are required at different times. Children and young people with the most complex needs and their parents and carers may need access to ongoing support and advice
  • we aim to provide a range of support so that children and young people with SEND can be educated and enjoy social opportunities alongside their peers, in their local community, wherever possible. As a result, we are working with families, schools, health and other agencies to provide and develop services that enable children and young people to have to provision which is appropriate to their special educational need and/or disability
  • these pages set out what you can expect to be available for children and young people who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in the Isle of Wight across education, health and social care services. There is a lot of help available and we aim to enable you to get the right support and advice for your son or daughter and family when you need it most
  • it is important to remember and acknowledge from the beginning that it is not just the professionals and specialist services that can help you and your family. For many people, it is the help and informal support of their family and friends, and the support of their community, that is most valued and makes a significant difference
  • services that everybody can use,( the universal services), such as children’s centres, schools, leisure centres and your doctor’s surgery can provide really valuable support. Professionals can work together to provide joined up services. There is also a range of services that can provide very specialist support at times when it is most needed
  • it is a combination of informal and formal support that can provide your family with the help you need most and your child with the best opportunity to realise their potential.


While for most children, young people and parents, education and learning is a positive and enjoyable experience and opens up opportunities for life, some parents may have anxieties about it, particularly if their child has a Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND). For a child or young person with SEND, deciding whether a mainstream or a special school will be the best setting is very important. There are a number of people who can help you make the right decision.

All children and young people living on the Isle of Wight, regardless of whether they have a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND), have the right to the best education and most variety of opportunities to develop academic, personal and social skills. To make the most of the educational opportunities available and to maximise their progress, some children and young people may need additional help or support.

Getting the right support

All schools and colleges on the Isle of Wight have the same special educational needs and disabilities duties and are expected to provide support for children and young people who have additional needs. These duties come from the Children and Families Act 2014 and the national SEN Code of Practice.

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) will have their educational needs met in their local area and attend mainstream schools. All schools have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). The Isle of Wight College has an additional needs support officer, who will have specialist training and are responsible with the headteacher or principal, for ensuring that children and young people’s needs are met.

We expect all mainstream education settings, including nurseries, early years providers, schools and colleges, are to:

  • identify children and young people with special educational needs quickly and accurately so that support can be put in place
  • make sure teachers can teach children and young people with a diverse range of needs
  • focus on the quality of teaching for all children and develop different approaches to meet the needs of individual children and young people
  • meet the needs and objectives identified in a Statement or Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) for children and young people with additional needs
  • have a regularly reviewed special educational needs and disabilities policy, which is distributed to all parents of children with additional special educational needs
  • develop and review with young people and parents the support they offer to young people with additional and special educational needs
  • work in partnership with children, young people and their parents
  • delegate resources fairly, efficiently and in response to identified need
  • notify parents whenever special educational needs provision is being made for their child and give them access to independent information, advice and support
  • set out the support and provision they provide for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Social care

We offer social care services, sometimes with local NHS and other organisations. This includes general help from the Early Help team, Children’s centres, and Locality teams through respite arrangements and Short Breaks, to very specialised support from the Children’s Disability team.

Your right to help and an assessment

Asking for social care support does not mean that you are a bad parent. Social workers are there to provide you with help and support. Families with disabled children are likely to need this kind of help from time to time. As a parent, you have the right to ask for your child’s needs to be assessed by social care services, and you also have the right to ask for a carer’s assessment for yourself. An assessment could lead to services for your disabled child being provided, or services to help you as their carer.

If you think that you or child would benefit from the help of our social care services, you can contact the Disabled Children’s team and ask for a ‘needs assessment’. A social worker will talk to you about the needs of your child as well as the needs of other members of the family, including you as a carer. You can discuss the types of service that would best support your family. The Disabled Children’s team may direct you to other services if they are more appropriate for your level of need.

Most specialist services have eligibility criteria and are not available to everyone. If you need support, but are not able to access a service, don’t worry, as other help will be available.

If you are eligible for services you may have the option of a personal budget but you can choose not to manage this if you prefer the services to be provided or commissioned for you.

Support for children

The Children’s Services Eligibility Criteria (PDF, 1.15MB) document provides the threshold and eligibility criteria for access to specialist services provided by the Disabled Children Service. It aims to ensure a fair, transparent and proportionate response to the assessed needs of disabled children, young people and their parents and carers.

Support for adults

There is a national framework, set by the Department of Health, which councils use to decide who is eligible for services, called Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) eligibility criteria (PDF, 90KB). We have a duty to provide services to people who meet the FACS level it has set, which on the Isle of Wight is considered ‘critical’ and ‘substantial’. 

You can find out more information about eligibility either from the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s (SCIE) website or locally.


Disabled children often have very complex health needs. The NHS in the Isle of Wight works with disabled children and their families to provide the very best healthcare. The aim is to make sure disabled children and young people grow up to be happy and healthy.

If you have any questions about your child’s health, talk to your health visitor, school nurse, or family doctor (these are also called General Practitioners or GPs).

Your health professionals can:

  • provide you with help and advice about staying healthy
  • put you in touch with other specialist health and social care services for specialised support
  • help you with a wide range of health issues, such as your child’s growth and development, sleeping, mobility, continence, behaviour, diet and eating, immunisations and common infections.

Your health visitor

Every family with a child under five has a named health visitor. Their role is to offer support and encouragement to families through the early years from pregnancy and birth to primary school and beyond. They can offer help and advice or make a referral to a more specialised service. You can access your Health Visitor through your GP’s surgery by ‘phoning or dropping in at your health centre or clinic.

Your school nurse

School nurses work with school-age children and their teachers, parents and carers to make sure children remain healthy. As well as providing health education in schools they can also provide individual support for you and your child. School nurses will be able to provide advice on most health issues or refer your child to specialist services. You can contact your school nurse through your child’s school.

Your GP

General practitioners provide a first point of contact for most medical services. They can advise, treat and refer patients with any medical or emotional difficulties. GPs usually offer an appointment system weekdays within working hours. For help with out of hours care, contact NHS 111 which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Strategic decisions

Strategic decisions are made by the SEND Implementation Board that meets monthly. The three operational work steams, Local Offer, Personal Budgets and Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) group, support the changes on the Isle of Wight.