Special Educational Needs (SEN)

What does special educational needs mean?
Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means that they need educational provision that is additional to, or different from, the educational provision that is generally available in local mainstream schools. Children below 5 are also considered to have SEN if they either

  • Already need support that it is additional to, or different from, the provision generally available in mainstream nurseries
  • Would need extra support or different provision at school if they did not receive it sooner

It is thought that up to 1 in 5 children has SEN at some point during their time at school. As a speech and language impairment usually makes it harder for children to learn and to interact effectively with other children and adults (which is a fundamental part of school life), most children with speech and language impairments would be considered to have SEN.

In Scotland, the term additional support needs (ASN) has replaced the term special educational needs. The principal difference is that ASN is not confined to children whose need for special attention arises from a disability or learning difficulty but could result from a range of factors e.g. having been in hospital a long time, or been traumatised by the death of a close family member.

For more information:
Assessments and Statements
Choosing a School