Children have special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty that needs the school to make special educational provision. They have a learning difficulty if they find it much harder to learn than most children of the same age or if they have disabilities that make it much more difficult for them to learn like everyone else in school.
Special educational provision means the special help and resources that are made available to a child with special educational needs. This is provided by the school mainly or, in a minority of cases, by the Local Authority.
Many children will have special educational needs at some time during their school careers but in the vast majority of cases these needs will and can be met within the child’s school at School Action or School Action Plus.
All schools have a Policy on SEN and a teacher who coordinates all the help for children with SEN, that teacher is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
What do I do if I think my child has special needs?
The first thing to do is talk to the class teacher. They will discuss your concerns and explain how they personalise the learning for your child. If you are still concerned following support from the teacher you can always ask to speak to the SENCo.
The SENCo may advise that your child is given additional support and is put at what is called School Action. This will just help you and the school see what additional support is being given to your child, either through a Provision Map or an Individual Education Plan (IEP), which sets out the targets and resources for your child. This will be reviewed and if progress has been made all well and good, if not they may need to continue with different types of help.
Sometimes the school may need to ask advice from a specialist such as an Educational Psychologist, Specialist Teacher or a Speech & Language Therapist, and in this case your child may move to School Action Plus. This says that you all know your child needs additional help and this is how it will be done.
All children are supported in their learning through different types of teaching and learning experiences but some will be given support at School Action or School Action Plus.
In a very few cases you and the school may decide that your child needs more help than would normally be available and the school may make a request for a Statutory Assessment. The LA will then decide whether they agree with you and if they do will gather advice from lots of people, including you as parents. A minority of children will be given a Statement of Special Educational Needs which is when the LA says what has to be provided for your child. You will be fully involved in all of this.
More information can be found by clicking the links on the left, or on our Help for Parents page.
Special Education Service
Leicester City Council
5th Floor, York House
91 Granby Street
Telephone: (0116) 373 7527
Fax: (0116) 373 7529
Or Use our online enquiry form.