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What can I do if I think my child needs help?

If your child is of pre-school age, then visit your GP or Health Visitor and ask for their opinion, in the first instance.

You can also contact the St Helens Information, Advice and Support Service (SHIASS - previously Parent Partnership); for advice about Special Educational Needs.

St Helens Information, Advice and Support Service (SHIASS)
Telephone: 01744 822160
Email: sheilahenshall@sthelens.gov.uk 

The Government have written a guide for parents /carers of children and young people who are already receiving services for their additional needs, and for those families who have concerns and need to know more about who to speak to, and where to get help.

It covers topics such as:

  • What do SEN and disability mean?
  • The principles of the system that supports children and young people with SEN or disabilities
  • What the law is and what your rights are
  • How the system should work
  • What early years settings, schools, colleges and other educational providers must do, or should do, to support you and your child
  • What your local authority and other services (such as health and social services) must do, or should do, to support you and your child
  • What you can do if you disagree with, or want to challenge, decisions that are made by organisations providing support for your child

For more details, please access the full guidance page on our web site

If your child attends a pre-school setting, then speak to their teacher or their key worker.

If your child is already in school (including nursery), then talk to their teacher in the first instance.

You should also ask to speak to the school's Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), or person responsible for SEN.

A full list of the school's Special Needs Co-ordinators (SENCO) can be found in the Related Documents section of this page. School contact details can be found on the Schools in St.Helens section of the website.

So that the school can help decide which is the best path to take to help your child, they will need and want to know;

  • why you think your child has SEN
  • whether your child learns at the same rate as other children their age
  • what the school can do to help
  • what you can do to help

What happens next?

The SENCO or person responsible for SEN in the setting will discuss your child’s SEN with you and how best to meet their needs. This could include extra support, a different way of teaching or extra help from a specialist e.g. Speech Therapist.

The School could then ask the Council to provide top up funding if your child needs more than usual school resources; or the the school could submit a request for statutory assessment. The council will then engage with your child's school/setting to gain more information about your child.

The Process

The request will then enter the statutory process for determining how best to support your child's needs.

In the first instance, your child's school will work to meet their additional needs and in some cases working with other professionals to do so.

Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP)

Occasionally, the outcome from the panel be that a statutory assessment should be made, the the Council will draft an EHCP and will send the proposed plan to parent / educational setting / professionals.

  • The school must consider the proposed plan and must respond to the Council within 15 days.
  • Parents/carers/young person then have 15 days to comment / request an educational setting.
  • SEN casework manager will contact parents / carers after 7 days.
  • The parent/carer will then meet with Council and Keyworker to discuss the EHCP if necessary.

Additional Needs Team
Atlas House
Corporation Street
St. Helens

01744 671104/01744 671106

or alternatively:

Parent Partnership
St Helens Information Advice Service (SHIAS)*
Telephone: 01744 822160
Email: SheilaHenshall@Sthelens.gov.uk

Lindsey Best
St Helens Autism Spectrum Pathway
Newton Childrens Centre
Telephone: 01744 674179