Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice

For children and young people aged 0 - 25

A child or young person has a special educational need or disability (SEND) if he or she has a learning difficulty, which calls for special provision to be made for him or her.

The SEND Code of Practice defines a child with a learning difficulty as a child who has greater difficulty learning than the majority of children of the same age or has a disability which prevents or hinders the child from making use of educational facilities provided for children of the same age.

The SEND Code of Practice places great importance on involving parents and children in identifying, understanding and taking decisions about special educational needs. For parents to be at the heart of decision making about their child, it is helpful for them to know how their child's setting will make decisions about any extra support and what form that support should take.

The SEN Support handbook is for schools and early years settings to help them to identify a child's special educational needs, what level of support they are expected to offer and how to arrange and monitor the support given. It also sets out expectations of what they must offer as part of their general offer. If a setting has concerns that a child is finding certain aspects of learning hard or that they are not making the same progress as other children, they can use the checklists in this handbook.

The checklists cover the four broad categories of SEN, as mentioned in the SEND Code of Practice:

  • cognition and learning needs
  • communication and interaction needs
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH)
  • sensory and/or physical needs.