Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice

For children and young people aged 0 - 25

The SEND Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures. It relates to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

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 says it is very important to involve parents and children in identifying, understanding and taking decisions about their needs. Parents should 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.