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What does Special Educational Needs (SEN), additional needs or a disability mean?

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (0-25 years) 2014 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 schools 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.

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