The Children and Families Act 2010 introduced significant changes to the way services are provided for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families. This included:

  • Joint commissioning of services across education, health and social care
  • Publication of a ‘local offer’ of services available
  • Implementation of a new multi-agency co-ordinated statutory needs assessment process to identify the education, health and social care needs of children and young people with the most complex special educational needs and disabilities to be set out in a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • A new duty on health to deliver the health element of the plan
  • And for those who have an EHCP to have the option to request a personal budget.

In Portsmouth, partners have been working hard to successfully implement the reforms in compliance with the new SEN Code of Practice to ensure everything was transferred to the new system by April 2018. This was successfully completed, with all SEN statements transferred to EHCPs by the deadline of 31 March, but there is ongoing work to ensure we remain compliant and processes and practices are fully embedded. A Progress Report on the implementation of the SEND reforms in Portsmouth was produced following the stakeholder conference in March 2018.

Alongside the introduction of the new system there are existing pressures on SEN provision including demand for school places to meet some areas of need, as well as the pressures on the budget that is available to resource provision through the High Needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

We will work with commissioners to promote inclusive practice and ensure that the eligibility criteria for services promotes inclusion. We will work with partners to ensure that all services contribute to the shared outcomes of increased school attendance and reduced fixed period exclusions from school for children with SEND, by ensuring that there are clear pathways in place to resolve issues of managing inclusion particularly in relation to children and young people experiencing social emotional and mental health difficulties.

We’ve worked closely with young people, parents, carers and professionals in Portsmouth to agree what inclusion means to people in our city. Click here to find out more.


The Portsmouth City Council SEND Strategy 2019-2022 aims to promote inclusion and improve the outcomes for Portsmouth children and young people aged 0-25 years with SEND and their families.

The full strategy is available to read on the Local Offer website.


Portsmouth currently has a higher proportion of children with an EHCP compared to the national average. The proportion of children receiving SEN support is in line with the national average. Added to this, the following are increasing:

  • Requests for statutory assessment
  • Requests for increased element 3 funding as a result of annual reviews and assessments
  • Requests to place pupils in specialist provision.

The most common main area of need in primary schools is communication and interaction difficulties (including speech, language and communication needs, and autism). In secondary schools, the most common primary area of need is social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Portsmouth mainstream schools are now better resourced to deliver inclusive practice and make provision for SEND. Underpinning pedagogical approaches such as quality first teaching and the waves of SEN interventions are now well embedded and since 2009 all SENCOs have been required to achieve accreditation at MA level and be recognised as senior leaders within their schools. In line with the national funding guidance, Portsmouth’s SEN funding formula makes resources available to schools in order to make up to the first £6,000 of additional and different provision. The Local Authority commissions specialist teaching advice and support for training to mainstream schools.

The Ordinarily Available Provision guidance (refreshed 2018) sets out the support and interventions which are expected to be available for pupils attending mainstream schools in the city.

The full range of education, health and care services, support and specialist provision (schools and inclusion centres) available in the city is published on the Local Offer website.


The majority of children and young people with SEND will continue have their needs met within mainstream schools and colleges. Schools receive delegated funding to meet the needs of children and young people on SEN support.

Schools provide a range of support and interventions for pupil on SEN support as part of their Ordinarily Available Provision. This document has been coproduced with SENCOs following extensive consultation with head teachers and partners. It contains information on provision that the local authority expects to be made available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Please note that Portsmouth is a needs led city and any provision or support should be provided in line with the needs of the child or young person and is not dependant on any formal diagnosis.

Information on the support provided by each school for pupils with SEND can be found on the school SEND information report. For schools in Portsmouth these can be accessed through www.portsmouthlocaloffer.org.


The Portsmouth Local Offer details the special education provision and training provision that Portsmouth City Council expects to be available in Portsmouth for children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and/or a disability.

It also includes special educational provision and training provision that the local authority expects to be available outside of Portsmouth for children and young people aged 0-25 with special education and or a disability.  The term ‘expects to be available’ is determined by the provision that Portsmouth City Council commissions directly or through its partnership arrangements.

In addition the Local Offer includes universal provision such as leisure services that may cater for children, young people and their families with SEND where there may be a charge. It also provides information and advice that parents and young people have requested through feedback.

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires that the Local Authority must publish an annual report on special educational needs and disability (SEND).

The Local Offer annual report details feedback about the Local Offer from parents, carers and young people. It describes what has been achieved over the past year and future plans.


Admiral Lord Nelson School

A virtual network meeting is convened half-termly for SENCOs working in the city. The purpose is to provide information and professional development for SENCOs to enable them to deliver their role effectively. This includes national updates and information about local policies and procedures. The network meeting is also an opportunity for SENCOs to network, share best practice, ideas and resources.

For more details on the SENCO network please contact Queralt Barrau.


A termly newsletter is produced following the SENCO network. This summarises the information shared at the network meeting as well as other items of relevance to SENCOs. If you would like to share anything via the SENCO newsletter please contact Sarah Christopher.


Supporting children and young people with reading difficulties

The Portsmouth Educational Psychology team has produced guidance for schools, parents, support teachers, and other professionals on the issues involved in helping children and young people with reading difficulties.

On a day-to-day basis, schools are responsible for supporting pupils with literacy difficulties. Each school should describe their provision in their provision map or special educational needs and disability (SEND) support plans.

Portsmouth Inclusion Outreach Service

Details of the Portsmouth Inclusion Outreach Service offer as of September 2020 can be found on the Local Offer website.

The outreach support is available to all mainstream schools. It is delivered by a range of professionals from a partnership of services including MABS, Solent Academies Trust, Children’s Therapy Service, and experienced outreach SENCOs from mainstream schools in the city.

Please call the helpline (02392 606060) or email [email protected].

The Inclusion Outreach Service offers a wide range of workshops and professional development opportunities which can be booked via the Portsmouth Learning Gateway.

nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs)

nasen is a charitable organisation that exists to support and champion those working with, and for, children and young people with SEND and learning differences.

Membership is FREE and provides access to an excellent wide range of resources and support for all members.

SEN information reports

School SEN information reports should be updated on an annual basis and dated for the academic year. SEN information reports should be easy to find on the school website and should link to the Local Offer website. Please note it should be called the SEN information report (NOT the school local offer).

This checklist serves as a reminder of what should be included in a SEN information report.

Home to school transport

Portsmouth City Council provides transport to mainstream or special schools for children and young people who meet specific criteria set out in the Home to School Travel Assistance Policy and the Post-16 learners statement.

Further details can be found on the Portsmouth City Council website.