Special Needs

What is Special Needs

What is Special Needs

The special needs area of the education sector involves looking after young children and adults who require additional care. Special needs is the umbrella term in which a vast array of learning and physical disabilities exist:

  • Behavioural, emotional and social (e.g. difficulty making friends)

  • Speech, reading and writing (e.g. dyslexia)

  • Understanding things

  • Concentrating (e.g. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

  • Physical and sensory needs or impairments

More than a fifth of children (21%) in England are said to have special educational needs (SEN).  The largest categories are moderate learning difficulties and emotional behaviour difficulties.

Unless it is apparent a child has special needs from birth, SEN are usually picked up when the parents or school notice a child is falling behind their classmates.

Once this happens the school will draw up an assessment of the need under a programme called “school action”. If more support is needed, the child is listed as “school action plus”, which may involve the school bringing in specialist help from outside.  In more severe cases, local authorities will make a formal assessment of a child’s needs known as a “statement”. Roughly, 13% of children with SEN have statements,

Some children have learning difficulties or disabilities severe enough for them to be educated separately in special schools, of which some are private schools. In some cases the LEA will fund places for children, alternatively, fund the place themselves.

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