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18. How does the referral process work?

Some children who are receiving Stage 3 support will require support from outside agencies. These outside agencies may include Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Educational Psychologists, Specialist Support Services etc. In order to receive their support a referral needs to be completed.


If school makes the professional judgement that your child needs support from an outside agency, you will be informed. We will always ask for your permission before we go ahead. If you do not feel that it is appropriate and do not give your permission we are unable to go ahead. If you are in agreement, the SENCo will be responsible for completing the referral. The SENCo will meet you and the child’s class teacher and the evidence that has been collected with be collated into a referral report. 


Referrals for most outside agencies are done via the Referral Management Centre. In the referral, school will be asked to provide a detailed review of the child’s needs and difficulties. We will comment on all of the areas detailed in the Special Educational Needs Code of practice, which include Cognition and Learning, Communication and Interaction, Social Emotional and Mental Health and Physical and Sensory needs. We may send copies of observations, checklists, questionnaires, and children’s work to support the referral.


If a referral has been made by another professional, ie. the child’s GP, then school may be asked by the Referral Management Centre to provide a report on the child in a school context. This report will cover the same areas as mentioned above.


In order to provide the agency with the most accurate picture of the child, we are required to provide evidence that has been gathered over a long period of time and evidence that demonstrates the child’s needs most accurately. We ensure that all referrals include the child’s strengths and achievements, however in order for the referral to be successful it requires an in-depth review of the child’s difficulties. The referral will include true accounts of behaviour and or needs and class teacher and SENCo’s professional opinions.

You are entitled to a copy of this document. However, please be aware that referrals are a document to predominantly highlight difficulties rather than strengths in order to get the support that school feel that they require, so they may come across as harsh.  If you feel that you need to discuss anything in a referral with the SENCO then please book a meeting to discuss any concerns or questions you have. Amendments will be made to the document if the SENCO feels that it is appropriate. If your views are significantly different to schools, or if your child acts significantly different at home than they do in school, then you will be asked to complete a Parental Views Form where you can express your views openly. This will be sent to the referral Management Centre along with the school report.


Please be aware that the referral process can be a very lengthy one. As a school we pride ourselves on creating a comprehensive referrals accompanied by strong evidence to support it. Our referrals have been highly commended by professionals, including our Consultant Community Paediatrician Dr Williams.  This speeds up the process when the document enters the Referral Management Centre as they have all the information they require, however this does mean that the wait for a referral to be completed can take time. Referral completion can also be affected by the volume of children needing support in school at that time, and there may be a school waiting list. Parents will be kept up to date on the process. 

Additionally some outside agencies require specific interventions to have been completed for a specific amount of time before a referral is made. Please be patient with us while these are being completed. Again school will keep parents up to date on the process. 



We are fully aware that some children do not behave in the same way at school as they do at home and this can result in parental concerns differing from observations of the child at school. We ensure that we value all parental concerns, and aim to support parents as best we can in these situations. Due to the fact that the most accurate observations and details of the child’s needs are home based, we ask parents to complete any referrals, with the aid of our SENCo. Our SENCo is available to support parents through this process but also direct parents to other agencies that may be able to provide support ie. the Community Nursery Nurse, the child’s GP or an Early Help Assessment.