Special Educational Needs

A child has special educational needs 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) 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.

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

Using the SEN Service

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 is mainly involved with children and young people with the most severe, complex and/or 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 provision 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

Contact Us

The service is based in Bilborough and can be contacted by email, telephone, or in writing.

Email: special.needs@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Tel: 0115 876 4300

Special Educational Needs Service
Building 5 Woolsthorpe Depot
Woolsthorpe Close

(Please note that requests for EHC needs assessments need to be made using our application form. Please see Education, Health & Care (EHC) Needs Assessments & Plans for further details).

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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 him or her. 

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

  • 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 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 but 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 re supporting pupils with medical conditions (DfE 2014).

When your health visitor or doctor makes a routine check, they might suggest that there could be a problem. If you have any worries, you should talk to your health visitor or family doctor.

At school, there will be a teacher called a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), who is responsible for planning the provision made for individual children with SEN.

If you are concerned that your child may not be receiving the support they need, you should talk initially to your child's teacher or the SENCO. You will be able to talk over your concerns, find out what the school thinks, and what happens next.

Working together with your child's teachers will often help to sort out worries and problems. The closer you work with your child's teachers, the more successful any help for your child can be.

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.

Only a very small percentage of children and young people with SEN require an EHC plan.

An EHC plan is a detailed plan that brings a child/young person’s educational, health and care needs together into a single legal document. It is created by the local authority, based on specialist advice along with input from the parents or carers and the child or young person themselves.

More information on EHC needs assessments in Nottingham, along with how to request one, is available on the related page Education, Health & Care (EHC) Needs Assessments & Plans

Children and young people can only be educated in a special school if it is named in their EHC plan.

However, an EHC plan does not necessarily mean a special school is best suited: many children and young people with an EHC plan can be successfully supported in a mainstream school or college.

Nottingham City's Local Offer website is a central point of information about all services, support and activities for children and young people with SEND.

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

Ask Us Nottinghamshire
Tel: 0800 121 7772
Comment online here.

Rainbow Carers Forum
Tel: 07837 278981
Email: admin@rainbowparentscarersforum.org.uk

Ask Iris
Tel: 0115 853 3291
Email: advice@disabilitynottinghamshire.org.uk

Also see

Contact Us

Special Educational Needs Service
Building 5 Woolsthorpe Depot
Woolsthorpe Close

0115 876 4300

Useful Documents 

Graduated Approach to SEN

Circle of Support

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