What is Special Educational NeeDS?

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special   educational provision to be made for him or her. 

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty if he or she:

Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or

Has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

SEN Code of Practice (2014, p 4) 


Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is’…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.  This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more  children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial.

SEN Code of Practice (2014, p5)

So SEND could mean that a child has: 

  • learning difficulties – in acquiring basic skills in school
  • emotional and behavioural difficulties – making friends or relating to adults or behaving properly in school
  • specific learning difficulty – with reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • sensory or physical needs - such as hearing or visual impairment, which might affect them in school
  • communication problems– in expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
  • medical or health conditions– which may slow down a child’s progress and/or involves treatment that affects his or her education.
  • physical impairment-  substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

As a school, when a child is highlighted as having a difficulty / barrier to learning they are assessed and progress is monitored. Assessments take many forms from observations, discussions with the child and teacher, use of appropriate screeners and more formal assessment tools as detailed in the SEND policy. From the information obtained, support strategies and / or interventions are put in place. These are   monitored and additional advice can be obtained with the consent of parents, if we feel that more individualised support is needed, utilising the Local Offer (click link below).