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What are Special Educational Needs?

What are Special Educational Needs?

Many children at some time in their school career will have a special educational need of some kind. Some children arrive at school with a pre-identified special educational need however for some, these difficulties may be identified at school.  Some children may get to a point where they no longer have these difficulties whilst for others, their need may be more long term.


All children have the right to a broad and balanced education. The law says that a child has special educational needs if he or she has learning difficulties and needs special help. This help is known as special educational provision. A child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age, or if he or she has a disability which makes it difficult to use the normal educational facilities in the area.


For example, a child may have learning difficulties caused by:

  • A physical or sensory need.
  • Difficulties with reading, writing, speaking or mathematics work. (Cognition and Learning)
  • Difficulties with Communication and interaction (Speech and Language, Social skills)
  • A Social, Emotional and mental health difficulty 


These are only examples. Your child may have more general difficulties with school work. 

 Early intervention is crucial. As soon as a teacher or parent has registered a concern about a child's progress we will intervene to try to help the child overcome their difficulties as soon as possible. This is because we want every child to reach their full potential. A child may need a little extra support in class or to work in a small group with other children. Children usually enjoy taking part in groups due to the caring nature of the school.
If a child has been identified as having a special educational need, they will have a Personal Provision Map where targets are clearly identified to support the child’s need. These are fully shared with the parent(s) and the child, to ensure that all parties are involved and have a voice. The child's progress will be monitored and it may be decided they no longer require extra support, or school may decide some support is needed from an outside agency such as Educational Psychology.
In a few cases, school may feel they need more support/funding to support a child and will apply for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The Local Education Authority (LEA) makes a statutory assessment based upon specialist advice. The LEA may then draw up an Education Health and Care Plan which describes the child’s needs and provision and gives school additional funding to meet their needs.
In addition, we use a range of assessments to help us determine exactly why a child is having difficulty. Children usually enjoy the assessments which may be a computer game or talking about some pictures. This helps us to provide the right support for your child.
We realise it can be a difficult time when you are told your child is having difficulty in school. However it is important that you know and that we are here to support your family at all times.