Special Educational Needs (SEN) are defined in Section 20 of the Children & Families Act 2014. The Act does not give specific examples, instead giving a criteria that must be met. This means that what can be SEN is very vast and will be different for each person. Because of this, not every SEN will come from a diagnosis.
For a Child or Young Person to have SEN, both of the following must be true:
- They have a learning difficulty or disability; and
- They require Special Educational Provision be made for them because of their learning difficulty or disability.
It is important to know that a Child who is under compulsory school age will have SEN if they might meet this criteria when they reach compulsory school age.
What is a learning difficulty/disability?
A learning difficulty usually presents in childhood and can create an obstacle to traditional classroom learning. There are many different types of learning difficulty and a person can have more than one.
A learning disability is a condition that affects learning and intelligence across all areas of life. It is this longer-term, wider-reaching impact that makes it different from a learning difficulty.
As stated in Paragraph 4 of Section 20, it is important to know that a Child or Young Person will not have a learning difficulty/disability if their issues come from speaking a different language at home, to the one they are being taught in.
What is Special Educational Provision?
Special Educational Provision is defined in the Chapter 6.15 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015
. It says that Special Educational Provision is anything different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.