What is SEND?

What is SEND? (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) 

Special educational needs (SEN) is a legal term. A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means that they need special educational provision.

Special educational provision is different from what is normally available to children and young people of the same age.

Having a learning difficulty or disability means that a child or young person has greater difficulty in learning than most others of the same age, or a disability which makes it more difficult for them to use the school facilities. For example, they may have problems with:

  1. Specific areas of learning, like reading, writing or number work
  2. Expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
  3. Making friends or relating to adults
  4. Managing their emotions or behaviour
  5. Problems with seeing, hearing, or moving around
  6. Medical conditions that impact on learning
  7. Mental health difficulties, e.g. anxiety or depression

It can be difficult to tell if your child has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), especially before or during the first year of primary school. Here’s child psychologist Laverne Antrobus’ tips for the best ways to spot SEND (BBC Bitesize).

Children and young people with SEND will have a range of needs and diagnoses, many of which are covered within this website, such as Neurodiversity. For more information, visit our parents and carers section.

The Law

The Children and Families Act 2014 implemented a legal framework for SEN Law and reformed legislation relating to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Known as the SEND Code of Practice, it places duties on local authorities and partner organisations, including the NHS, to ensure that children and young people with SEND are supported to achieve the “best possible educational and other outcomes”.