Special Educational Needs Support Service (SENSS)

Specialist services for children and young people with identified special educational needs.

The SEN Support Service (SENSS) is responsible for statutory duties in relation to SEN, specifically providing high quality support for children and young people aged 0 – 25 in schools/settings and colleges and sharing good practice in relation to different needs.


Communication and interaction

Physical and sensory


  • delivering provision described in Statements in relation to the above special educational needs
  • contributing to the identification, assessment and monitoring of special education provision
  • representing the Local Authority’s position at the First-Tier Tribunal (SEND)
  • ensuring efficient and effective use of resources

How the service makes a difference

Setting very high expectations of achievement and independence for all children and young people supported directly or indirectly, monitoring progress and challenging attitudes and practices which do not promote these values.

Providing a specialist work force of advisory teachers with additional specialist/mandatory qualifications in SEN, supported by a range of trained and experienced specialist support staff.

Empowering staff in schools/setting/colleges to comprehensively understand and meet needs of children and young people with SEN so that the children and young people fully access the teaching and learning environment and make good progress.

The impact of the service

  • SENSS track the academic, independence and social progress made by the higher level needs pupils they support. Pupils supported by SENSS make good progress.
  • Few pupils with statements are excluded from either mainstream or special school.
  • Low numbers of complaints and tribunals.
  • Low number of placements in out of county provision.
  • Timely response to referrals.

What schools say

When asked, in the SENSS survey 2010, 91 per cent of schools said SENSS input had made a positive contribution to pupil progress.

What they valued most:

  • Assessment of needs of individual students - 128 (95 per cent)
  • Whole staff training - 55 (41 per cent)
  • Training for staff working with particular individual - 112 (82 per cent)
  • Modelling ways of working - 78 (58 per cent)
  • Classroom advice - 124 (92 per cent)
  • Liaison with staff - collaborative working - 100 (74 per cent)
  • Activities/programmes for individual students - 112 (83 per cent)

Costs of the service

SENSS fulfils the local authority’s statutory functions in relation to individually assigned resources, delivery of high quality support services and monitoring SEN provision.  These services are free of charge to settings, schools and academies.

SENSS also offers training and advice for non-statutory functions.


We respect the need for confidentiality and the responsible and informed sharing of personal information. If there are concerns regarding a child’s safety we would, having, where possible, initially identified our concerns with the parents/ carers, liaise with Social Care in accordance with Oxfordshire’s Safeguarding Children procedures. https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/report-child-abuse

Comments and Complaints

If you wish to make a comment, give a compliment or make a complaint about the service, please contact SENSS on 01865 323070 and ask to speak to a senior manager.

Or you can email the service at senss@oxfordshire.gov.uk. Alternatively use the council's main comments and complaints service