Lancashire SEND IAS

Lancashire SEND IAS

Information, advice and support for Special Educational Needs and Disability

SEN meaning

SEN is short for special educational needs. It's a term you'll probably hear a lot from now on.

A child has special educational needs if both of these things are true for them:

  1. They have a learning difficulty or disability. This means:

they have 'significantly greater difficulty' in learning than most of the other children in their age group or class;

or they have a disability which prevents them making use of what's on offer in a mainstream school.

  1. Their learning difficulty or disability means they need educational or training support that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for other children or young people of the same age.

So, in other words, if your child or young person has both a learning difficulty or disability and they need extra or different support from others of their age, then they have a special educational need.

Special educational needs affect different children in different ways. For example, your child may find it hard to:

  • understand things
  • make friends and manage relationships
  • concentrate and settle down to learn
  • talk to others or make themselves understood
  • read, write or understand maths
  • emotionally regulate themselves and ‘behave’ in school

SEN is a really broad area with lots of different kinds of need. Some children may have SEN in a specific area or just need some support to make progress, whereas other children may have a range of needs or need a lot of support. Sometimes these are called complex needs.

Some children or young people may need extra support which isn’t special educational support, for example, if they need medicines given at school to manage a health condition.

You’ll also see the term SEND. This stands for special educational needs and disability.

All children and young people with SEN are entitled to extra support with learning at nursery, school or college.