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What is SEND?

For children and young people of compulsory school age, they have a special educational need/learning difficultly or disability if they:

  1. have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of learners the same age; or
  2. have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or post-16 institutions.

A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if the fall within the definitions above or would do if special educational provision was not made for them.

Children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities may need extra help or support, or special provision made for them to allow them to have the same opportunities as others the same age.

If a child or young person has special educational needs or disabilities their needs fall into one or more of the following areas:

  • Communication and interaction
    • Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)
    • Autism
  • Cognition and learning
    • Specific learning difficulty (SpLD)
    • Moderate learning difficulty (MLD)
    • Severe learning difficulty (SLD)
    • Profound and multiple learning difficulty (PMLD)
  • Emotional, social and mental health
    • Attachment difficulties
    • Social and emotional difficulties
    • Mental health issues
    • Attention and hyperactivity difficulties
  • Physical and sensory
    • Visual impairment (VI)
    • Hearing impairment (HI)
    • Multi-sensory impairment (MSI/Deafblind)
    • Physical disability (PD)

Children who fall into a mixture of these categories are considered to have 'complex needs'. A child may also be described as having 'mild' or 'severe' learning difficulties depending on the degree of their needs and the impact they have on their lives.


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