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My child has language difficulties

Guidance for parents and carers about help in school.


Schools have a responsibility to provide for pupils with special educational needs.

We provide funding through school budgets to help support pupils with special educational needs. Derbyshire local authority has produced The Derbyshire Descriptors of Special Educational Needs (SEN) Provision.

The descriptors offer guidance and advice to primary and secondary schools about the level and type of support they should provide for pupils with additional needs. They are used by the local authority to monitor provision for pupils with SEN without a statement.

They outline how schools should:

  • assess, plan and review provision
  • arrange teaching groups
  • adjust the curriculum and teaching methods
  • provide resources, such as access to additional support from a teaching assistant for up to 3 hours per week for pupils at School Action or up to 8 hours a week for pupils at School Action Plus

Your child may:

  • have difficulties with language which affect learning
  • find it hard to listen and understand what you say
  • find it hard to express themselves using words and sentences
  • use speech which is difficult for others to understand
  • have limited social interaction
  • be over physical with other students
  • show a marked difference between their language and other skills
  • not be doing as well as they ought to be at school
  • show frustration or become stressed and be unable to explain what is the matter
  • have a speech and language therapy programme
  • have problems communicating with other children and making friends
  • possibly have motor difficulties, for example writing, running, hopping

What your school can do

Your school can:

  • use teacher assessment and observations to establish how your child learns best
  • find out which ways of teaching are the most effective
  • discuss your child with relevant professionals who visit the school and use their advice to plan different work for your child
  • arrange for your child to have some extra help in smaller teaching groups supported by a teaching assistant
  • organise groups carefully so that your child can talk to and mix with other children
  • organise the classroom to help your child to listen and pay attention
  • teach new words for topic work
  • use classroom supports such as visual timetables and prompts
  • follow guidance from Derbyshire’s File for Language Friendly Schools
  • involve you and your child in planning and in reviewing progress

Who else can help?

Schools have access to a range of professionals who advise on arrangements for supporting pupils with behaviour difficulties. These include:

If your child has other difficulties as well as with language, all schools have access to county services which can offer support and advice for pupils with:

Your GP can advise on child and adolescent mental health services and voluntary services such as Barnardo's.

You or your child’s teacher (with your permission) can ask a speech and language therapist to see your child. Your GP can make a referral for physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Other advice

Derbyshire has published comprehensive files of advice and information on dyslexia, autism and speech and language difficulties.

Contact us

  • Buxton office, tel: 01629 533535
  • Chesterfield office, tel: 01246 204851
  • Denby office, tel: 01629 533815
  • County Hall, tel: 01629 536850

The full version of the SEN Descriptors is available in every school.

If you require this and other local inclusion officer service leaflets in large print or another format, please contact the head of local inclusion officer service.