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AFC - Previously looked-after children
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Previously Looked-After Children

Support and advice for previously looked-after children's parents, guardians and schools

SEND for schools

Useful SEND contacts can be found on the AfC local offer pages. Kingston and Richmond provide key contacts for SEND teams here:

Advice on how to contact all key teams who provide services for children and young people with SEND here:

Detailed information about EHC plans can be found here:

Current Statutory guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25 can be found as a pdf at the foot of the page.

Children and young people do not need a specific diagnosis to access SEN Support in schools. This used to be known as School Action or School Action Plus. An educational psychologist is one of the professionals who must legally provide advice on Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) about the needs of the child and the provision required to meet those needs. Every school will have £6,000 per child allocated to children who are accessing SEN Support.  

The NASEN SEND website has comprehensive information about four broad areas of need:

  1. communication and interaction
  2. social emotional and mental health
  3. sensory and physical
  4. cognition and learning.

Previously looked-after children with social, emotional and mental health needs can easily be misunderstood as having behavioural issues rather than trauma and attachment issues. Information from the NASEN SEND website is reproduced below in response to this need: 

Within the code of practice (, social, emotional and mental health is defined as follows:

Paragraph 6.32

‘Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivedisorder or attachment disorder.’

Paragraph 6.33

‘Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils.’

The SEN Code of Practice (2015) no longer includes ‘behaviour’ as part of this category of need. The reasoning is that a child’s behaviour is perceived as a communication about the child’s state of mind and may be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • anxiety
  • sensory overload
  • anger, including anger about pervasive life situations or undisclosed difficulties
  • response to trauma or attachment difficulties
  • frustration due to speech and communication difficulties
  • response to the wrong level of challenge in lessons
  • grief
  • overwhelm
  • physical pain or discomfort, such as hunger
  • underlying mental health problems
  • undisclosed physical, mental or sexual abuse