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Additional needs

What is SEND?

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disability.

A child or young person of compulsory school age is said to have SEND if they:

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age
  • Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

A child under compulsory school age has SEND if they fall within the definitions above, or they would do if special educational provision was not made for them.

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the opportunity to thrive. Some just need a little extra help or special support to achieve their potential.

A wide range of help, advice and support is available for parents of children who are struggling to cope at school and who suspect their child may have some form of learning difficulty or behavioural problem.

There is also extra support and specialist provision available across health and care for children with more severe problems and challenges.

The four areas of need

Children with SEND may need extra help or support, or special provision made for them to allow them to have the same opportunities as others of the same age. If a child has SEND their needs will fall into one or more of the following four areas of need listed in the SEND Code of Practice:

What is the SEND Local Offer?

By law every local authority in England has to have a SEND Local Offer.

It’s for parent carers and families of children and young people with special educational needs and disability, and people who work with them.

The Local Offer is the education, health and social care services on offer for children and young people aged 0 to 25 years old with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

It includes:

  • Health – specialist clinics, support and advice for children and young people with medical needs
  • Social care – access social care support, short breaks, direct payments and personal budgets
  • Education – support in early years, schools and college, including transport
  • Transitions – moving between phases of education and preparing for adulthood
  • Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) – the statutory EHCP process explained, including applying for a plan, transfers and reviews
  • Information, advice and support – where to get impartial information, advice and support

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email

If it’s an emergency call 999

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