SEND Hub - education

Ordinarily available provision (OAP)

Ordinarily available provision (OAP) is the support that is available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in mainstream schools. The purpose of OAP is that all students get a high-quality education and achieve their full potential regardless of their needs. This means that the majority of students with SEND can have their needs met in a mainstream setting.

OAP includes a wide range of support including:

  • additional teaching or support staff
  • modified teaching methods
  • personalised learning plans
  • access to extra resources or equipment
  • use of Graduated Response

Schools must have OAP that is flexible and responsive to the individual needs of each student, and they should work closely with parents, carers, and relevant professionals to identify and deliver the correct level of support.

You can talk with the school’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) to find out what they have on offer for students with SEND.

Graduated Response

The Graduated Response makes sure that the right level of support is given to children at the right time.

Education professionals work with children and their parents or carers to:

  • assess what level of support the child needs
  • create a plan for support and set clear goals
  • deliver interventions which have regular impact reviews

This cycle is called 'assess, plan, do, review' and it helps professionals decide whether a child’s needs can be met with universal support or whether they need more targeted or specialist interventions.

EPS training library

The Educational Psychology Service online training library contains short videos on how to approach issues within Early Years settings. 

See our dedicated webpage for more details.

Education, health and care plans (EHCP)

A child or young person may be eligible for an EHCP if their education, health, and social care needs require support beyond what the school or setting can provide. It is a legal document that describes their individual needs and is created by the local authority in collaboration with the student, their parents or carers, their school and any professionals involved in their care.

Specialist provision

There are over 5,000 students in North Somerset with SEND and most of them have their needs met in a mainstream school or setting. However, in some cases students with SEND may require specialist provision to meet their needs. This can include attending a specialist school or receiving support from a specialist teacher or therapist.

If your child is going to attend a specialist setting, they will already have an EHCP. This means that if your child needs to be educated through specialist provision, you will have had discussions with the local authority and anyone involved in your child’s care to determine the best course of action. Part of the assessment process for EHCPs involves identifying your child’s needs and working to find the best setting for them. You can contact our SEND team for advice.

Home to school transport

You may be eligible for free transport between home and school.

Journey through education

Understanding your child’s journey through education can help you plan ahead of time. This journey may look different for each child. The information in this section provides an overview of what can typically be expected at each stage.

Early years

Early years provision runs from birth to five years old. For parents of children with SEND, this can be a challenging time as you adjust and learn what support is available for you and your child.

Early years settings will have a special educational needs and disability coordinator (SENDCo). They work to make sure all children get the support they need to thrive and are often the best people to talk with to understand what support the setting can offer.

How to plan ahead

You can apply for a place at a primary school a year before your child starts. Applications are usually taken between September and January. This means you can start planning when your child is three or four years old. It’s a good idea to visit schools to speak with professionals in the local area.

The BBC website has some useful articles about choosing a primary school.


Primary education typically covers ages five to 11 from reception to year 6.

Like with all education settings, you can expect to receive the support provided through ordinarily available provision (OAP). You should visit the school’s website, speak with class teachers and SENDCos and visit the school in person if possible. This means you can look at their policies around SEND support and arrange a meeting to discuss what support your child needs and how the school can help.

If you meet with the school, you can bring:

  • examples of homework
  • reports from care or health professionals
  • information or support plans from early years settings
  • statements you have written about your child’s needs, behaviour at school or home or any other concerns you have

How to plan ahead

It is best to start thinking about secondary school places by the time your child starts year 5. You will need to apply for a place at secondary school when your child starts year 6, usually between September and October.

If your child has an EHCP you do not need to follow the same application process. Part of the EHCP process involves discussions around which school is best for your child.


Secondary school caters for children aged 11 to 16 across years 7 to 11.

Like primary education, you should try to meet with the SENDCo of your school or setting to discuss what support is available for your child. If your child received extra support during primary school, you will have lots of resources you can bring to this meeting including:

  • progress and attainment information
  • examples of work
  • support plans
  • behaviour at home and school
  • any other information which can help them understand your child’s needs

You can ask what kind of support the school can offer and what assessments they may use to understand your child’s needs. At any point in your child’s education you can meet with teachers and SENDCos to ask:

  • how your child is being supported
  • how their progress is being measured
  • what you can do at home to help
  • whether they are reaching their targets

Any discussion you have should include the next steps, clear goals and arrangements to meet again to discuss these.

How to plan ahead

Young people must stay in education or training until they are 18 years old, but they can choose what they want to do between 16 and 18 after they leave school in year 11.

This is called post-16 education and it covers things like sixth-form, college, university, apprenticeships or supported internships.

You may have thought about this stage when your child chose their options for GCSEs in year 9. It is best to have a plan in place by the time they reach year 10.

The teachers, SENDCos and careers advisors at your school or setting will have lots of knowledge to help with this. You can also contact our post-16 team for advice.

Post-16 team

Preparing for adulthood

Once your child reaches 18 there is a lot to think about when planning the next steps in their journey. Choosing what to do at this stage can feel overwhelming because there are so many options to choose from.