Special educational needs

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What are special educational needs / additional learning needs?

This means that a child has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age .
A child with special educational needs might experience difficulties in one or more of the following areas :

  • cognitive and learning
  • communication and interaction
  • behavioural, social and emotional development
  • sensory and / or physical
  • medical need.

What should I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

If you think your child has special educational needs then call your child's school and speak to either the class teacher, the special educational needs coordinator or the headteacher.

You can ask how the school supports children with special educational needs and this information will also be available in the school's SEN Policy.  


If my child has special educational needs does this mean that he / she requires a statement?

Only a small percentage of children with special needs require a statutory assessment and a statement. The SEN Code of Practice identifies a staged approach to meeting the special needs of children. The school will inform you if your child has special educational needs and how the school satisfies these needs.

The SEN Code of Practice identifies the stages of identification and meeting special educational needs as follows:

  • monitoring
  • school action
  • school action plus
  • 3* scheme
  • statutory assessment
  • statement of special educational needs

How will I know if my child is on one of the stages for special needs?

School are responsible for the Monitoring, School Action and School Action Plus stages. The school has a responsibility to inform and involve parents in planning for and meeting their child's special educational needs. If your child is placed on School Action or School Action Plus they will have an Individual Education Plan which will give targets to achieve and how these will be achieved. Parents can contribute to the individual plans and will have a copy of it. Your child's progress should be monitored and their plan reviewed on a regular basis. You will always be asked for your views and invited to take part in the reviews.

If the school feel that they cannot satisfy your child's needs by their resources and the resources available to them from the support services, they will talk to you about requesting the Local Education Authority (LEA) to carry out a statutory assessment.

If my child has special educational needs will he / she have to go to a special school?

Only a small percentage of children with special educational needs will need to attend a special school. In many cases children can continue in mainstream schools where they will receive the extra support they need to satisfy their special educational needs.


What is an Annual Review?

Your child's statement will be reviewed annually. The Local Education Authority will inform a school when your child's review should take place. The school will set the date and organize the review. The purpose of the review is to look at the progress made over the previous twelve months in relation to the objectives on the statement.

What is a Transition Review and Transition Plan?

The first annual review in year 9 is called the Transition Review. The review monitors progress over the last year and begins to plan for the future. The Transition Plan is developed to help your child make the step from school to adult life.

Are there any support schemes for families?

SNAP Cymru is a parent partnership service which provides independent information and support to families of children with special educational needs and disability. They provide a variety of services which include:

  • talking with you about your concerns.
  • helping you to understand what assistance can be given to your child.
  • supporting you at meetings, and in discussions with the school.
  • giving you information about the services in your local area.
  • arranging meetings with you and others if needed.

For more information go to the SNAP Cymru website.