Skip to main content

An overview of SEN support

Find out what special educational needs (SEN) are, what support is available and who provides it.

A child or young person may have special educational needs when a learning difficulty or disability means that they require support that is different or additional to that which is normally available to pupils of the same age.

SEN can be characterised by a range of needs and difficulties. There are four broad areas:

  • Communication and interaction - speech, language, and communication needs and difficulties with interaction with others.
  • Cognition and learning - learning difficulties vary in severity and may make it difficult to learn everything or just certain things.
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties - this covers a wide range of needs and these may be seen in a child or young person as withdrawn and isolated behaviours or as challenging and unsafe behaviours.
  • Sensory and/physical needs - these include visual and hearing impairment and physical and mobility needs.

Education settings and SEN Support

Education settings are the main source of support for children and young people with SEN.

If you believe your child has SEN you should speak to their teacher and with the school's Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). This is a specially trained teacher responsible for making sure children and young people with SEN are correctly supported. 

Education settings provide information on the support they give as part of their record on the Local Offer website.