What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

What the SEND Code of Practice says:

"A child or young person has special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them." (Introduction xiii)

What is a learning difficulty?

Children who have a learning difficulty find it harder to learn than the majority of children the same age, or they may have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the education provided for other children.

Children do not have learning difficulties simply because their language is not English or they have a disability. However some of these children may also have learning difficulties. A learning difficulty might cause difficulties with:

  • Some or all of your child's work
  • Reading, writing or number work
  • Your child's ability to express themselves or understand information
  • Making friends or relating to adults
  • Behaviour in school
  • Personal Organisation
  • Tasks or activities which depend on sensory or physical skills

What is special educational provision?

Special educational provision is the additional or different help given to children with special educational needs. For children under two years old any educational provision is special educational provision.

Special educational provision takes many different forms. Most children with special educational needs have support in their class under SEN Support. It might be additional or different help provided in a mainstream class for a small group or an individual child. It can include group work or individual support that takes place outside the classroom. It could also be attendance in a specialist class or in a special school.

In only a small number of cases, where a child/young person is experiencing particularly high levels of difficulty, and is unable to make adequate progress, will a statutory assessment be necessary.