What if my child needs extra help?

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At a glance

Guidance about what to do if your child needs extra help at school.

Do only SEN children qualify for extra help?

No. The National Curriculum states that children making slower progress than others can get extra help or special lessons. The National Literacy and Numeracy strategies allow for children to learn to read and write and understand numbers in different ways.

This could include:

  • giving work at a more simple level
  • giving different lessons or activities
  • using books which fit better with a child's experiences
  • moving a child into a different set or small group

Even if your child doesn't have SEN, their school should still provide tailored teaching if they're not making progress.

What kind of extra help is available?

The National Curriculum outlines different stages of extra help, depending on the level of learning difficulty. Different terms are used to describe each stage:

  • Differentiation - teaching a child in different ways which match their learning and abilities. A child doesn't necessarily have SEN to need this kind of tailored teaching.
  • School Action - a child with SEN has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and receives extra support in school eg individual, small group teaching, or extra equipment.
  • School Action Plus - provides more support than at School Action stage. A child may have help from outside specialists such as an educational psychologist or speech and language therapist.

What can we do at home?

There are lots of things you can do at home if your child needs extra help with their school work.

Your involvement can make a big difference. Take an interest in your child's work - praise any achievements, but don't push them too hard.

Other things you can do include:

  • Read a book or watch TV together. Talk about what you've read or watched.
  • Help with homework. Help them to plan when to do their homework as well as with the actual work. This will help to avoid last-minute panic.
  • Play games together. Scrabble, snakes and ladders and card games all help with letter and number skills.
  • Encourage your child to follow special interests - becoming an 'expert' in something will give your child a sense of self-esteem and achievement. It might be football, another sport, animal-related or computing. The subject doesn't matter as much as being knowledgeable about something, and feeling recognised for that.
  • If you know particular ways of learning which work for your child, tell their teacher. Remember that you know your child best.

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