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Do I Have Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

A child has special educational needs (SEN) if they have learning difficulties or a disability that needs special educational provision. In most cases, the special provision required can be provided in a mainstream school.

The Department for Education (DfE) 

The Department for Education (DfE) produces guidance called the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice. This guidance must be followed by the Local Authority, schools, health services and other organisations that work with children and young people.

Find more information by clicking the links below

The DfE also produces guidance for families called Special Educational Needs and Disability: a Guide for Parents and Carers. This provides helpful information on what the law says about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), critical points about the SEND Code of Practice, and what to expect from the system which supports children and young people with SEND.

Find more information by clicking the links below

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities(SEND)

The Nottingham City Local Offer contains information about the support available to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families.

To find out more about SEN and support, Click on the following to visit related pages

To access more information, visit our Local Offer site below.

Special Education Needs & Disabilities Local Offer (ASKLiON Website)

Contact information for some of the local organisations that provide information and support is also given below:

Ask Us Nottinghamshire
: 0800 121 7772
Online Form: Comment online here.

Rainbow Carers Forum
: 07837 278981

Ask Iris
Tel: 0115 853 3291

The Council for Disabled Children - The Council for Disabled Children

Nottingham City Strategy for improving outcomes for Children & Young People with SEND - More information at | Ask Lion

More Information can be found by downloading the following Documents. Click below to view.


Nottingham City Virtual School

Frequently Asked Questions

If your health visitor or doctor finds a problem during a routine check, they may tell you. Talk to your health visitor or family doctor if you have any concerns.

At school, a teacher called a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) will plan the provision for individual children with special educational needs.

If you're worried your child may not receive the necessary support, talk to your child's teacher or the SENCO. You can discuss your concerns and find out what the school thinks and what will happen next.

Working closely with your child's teachers can often resolve worries and problems. The more you work with your child's teachers, the more successful the support for your child can be.

A child has special educational needs if they have learning difficulties or a disability that needs special education. Some children and young people with the most complex needs may need extra help. In most cases, the required special provision can be made within a mainstream school.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (0-25 years) 2015 states that:

 “A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. 

A child of compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

  • Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  • Has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her 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 SEN if he or she is likely to fall within the definition above when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if the special educational provision was not made for them.

Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘… a physical or mental impairment which has a long term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’”. 

This definition includes children and young people with long-term medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN. Still, where a child requires special educational provision over and above the adjustments, aids and services required by the Equality Act 2010, they will additionally be covered by the SEND definition.

Schools must also have regard to statutory guidance regarding supporting pupils with medical conditions (DfE 2014).

The SEN Service is available for:

  • Children and young people 0 to 25 with special educational needs and their families who live in the City of Nottingham or attend a City school. The service mainly involves children and young people with the most severe, complex and long-term special educational needs.
  • Children with special educational needs who are looked after by Nottingham City but living elsewhere
  • Schools, academies, colleges, early years providers and other educational establishments
  • Colleagues within the Local Authority (LA)
  • Colleagues from partner agencies, including Health

What does the SEN Service do?

  • Co-ordinates Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments
  • Issues and maintains EHC plans
  • Provides advice to schools on statutory requirements around special educational needs
  • Manage all placements at specialist provisions in Nottingham City
  • Monitors reviews of EHC plans and ensures that the plans are kept up-to-date
  • Provides advice to parents about adapted schools and support available for their child's specific difficulty
  • Identifies and develops appropriate help for students with special educational needs
  • Arranges travel assistance for eligible students with special transport needs
  • Assists schools in implementing individual programmes for pupils
  • Provides schools with advice on where to obtain specialist training and support
  • Administers SEN support funding to schools

Requesting an EHC needs assessment.

The following people have the right to request an EHC needs assessment:

  • The child’s parent
  • A young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25
  • Children and young people aged 10-18 in youth custodial institutions
  • A person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution

In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEND to the local authority's attention. This could include:

  • Foster carers
  • Health and social care professionals
  • Early years practitioners
  • Educational psychologists
  • Youth offending teams, probation services and those responsible for education in custody

Where possible, this should be done with the family and/or young person’s knowledge and agreement.

Requesting an EHC needs assessment can be done by contacting the SEN Service. The application form can also be accessed by clicking on the link below.

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment request form

Information about how the provision supports pupils with special educational needs must be made available in their SEN Policy. 

Schools and other settings in Nottingham use a Graduated Approach to SEN Support, using a range of strategies and support depending on the needs of the individual.

The school or setting has the responsibility to involve parents in the planning for and meeting of their child's special educational needs. 

For most children and young people, the SEN Support provided for them within the school or setting will be enough the meet their needs.

For a small number of children and young people (those with complex SEN and disabilities that need more intensive specialist support) an Education, Health &Care (EHC) Plan may be needed.

Contact us

Special Educational Needs Service
Building 5 Woolsthorpe Depot
Woolsthorpe Close

Tel: 0115 876 4300

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