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A child or young person has special educational needs and disabilities if they have a learning difficulty and/or a disability that means they need special health and education support, we shorten this to SEND. If you or a child that you care for needs extra health and education support, an application can be made for an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) to your local council.

The SEND system applies to all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged 0-25, as long as they are in education or training. The support received by a child or young person with a learning disability will vary significantly depending on their needs. It may involve a range of professionals across the education, health and social care systems.

If a child or young person has SEN, or an educational setting thinks that they might have SEN, the staff must follow this process:

Assess: they must talk to a child’s parents or the young person themselves to work out what support might be needed.

Plan: once a child or young person’s needs have been identified, staff must work together with them and their family to decide what outcomes they want the child or young person to achieve and what support should be put in place to help them achieve those outcomes.

Do: the staff, supported by the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) where relevant, should put this support into practice.

Review: the support received by the child or young person should be reviewed by everyone involved to see if it is working. If it is, it might continue. If it is not working, or if the outcomes have been achieved, some of the arrangements might be changed.

Schools must set out their arrangements for supporting pupils with SEN in an online policy. You will be able to view this policy via your council’s Local Offer.