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Special educational needs and disabilities

A child or young person has a special educational need if they:

  • Find it much harder to learn than most other children or young people of the same age.
  • Have a disability that prevents them from using the facilities provided at school, nursery or college. Or they find it much harder to use those facilities.

Special educational needs and disabilities vary widely, but can affect a child’s:

  • Reading and writing (e.g. because they have dyslexia).
  • Ability to understand things.
  • Ability to concentrate (e.g. if they have attention deficit disorder or attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder).
  • Ability to make friends and relate to their peers.

Most children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities have their needs met by their school (or nursery or college). The sort of personal help a child will need varies depending on the nature of their needs.

Examples of the support a school might provide include:

  • A tailored learning programme.
  • Allowing the child to work in a small group.
  • Help with communication difficulties.
  • Extra help from a teaching assistant, including support to take part in class activities.
  • Help with particular needs, such as getting around the school or using the toilet.

Some children with special educational needs or disabilities will need more support than the school can provide. They may need an education, health and care plan.

Our funding means we can currently only help 1 in 3 people

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