What are the “Five Stages of the Code of Practice”?

Stages 1-3 may include access to school-based help and support, where the class teacher and the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) provide help which is designed to meet the child’s individual needs.

At Stages 1, 2 and 3 the school is legally responsible for the child’s special educational provision.

Stage 3 may involve help from specialists outside the school such as an educational psychologist, speech and language therapist or occupational therapist.

At stages 4 and 5 the Education Authority becomes more substantially involved in your child’s educational provision and has specific legal responsibilities regarding special educational support for children.

Stage 4 is a process called “statutory assessment” which aims to identify in detail the needs of the child using parental, school-based and professional information and assessment reports.

Stage 5 involves the making of a “statement of special educational needs” which sets out the child’s needs and the provision which will be made to meet those needs. Detailed information about these 5 stages is available in the special educational needs Code of Practice.

What is the “Code of Practice”?

The Code of Practice and supplement are booklets containing statutory guidance produced by the Department of Education which contain straightforward guidance about children’s legal rights to have their needs identified, assessed and met using the principle of early intervention. The Code and supplement also include useful practical examples.