Special needs explained

Most children grow up without having any major difficulties at school. Some children find it a little harder and need extra help. This could mean that they have special educational needs (SEN).

A child might have special educational needs because of difficulties with:

  • communication and interaction (autism, speech, language and communication needs) 
  • cognition and learning (dyslexia; dyspraxia; moderate, severe and profound learning difficulty) 
  • social, emotional or mental health needs 
  • sensory and/or physical needs (visual, hearing or both impairments, a physical difficulty) 

Children have a special educational need if they have:

  • significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Many pupils have special educational needs at some time during their education. These might already be known when a child is very young, or they might be identified at any time after a child has started school.

The great majority of children will have their special educational needs met in their local mainstream school, sometimes with extra help. For a small number of children Salford City Council may make a statutory assessment of their special educational needs. Only a few children have special educational needs which are so severe that they need a very different type of school to other children.

For initial advice and information about provision for children with special educational needs, you should contact the child's school directly.

This page was last updated on 8 April 2016

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