Education & learning

Some children and young people need more support than others to achieve their full learning potential.

They may need extra help, for example, because they have difficulty with reading, understanding, talking, managing their emotions or behaviour, or developing physical skills. A child who needs a lot of extra help in any of these areas has special educational needs (SEN).

Educational settings (schools, nurseries and colleges) have a legal duty to support children and young people with additional needs and disabilities and to treat them fairly. In this section you can find advice and information about what support might be available to your child.

An introduction to special educational needs

Support in the early years

Extra support in mainstream schools

Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and EHC plans for children and young people with more complex needs (England only)

Education beyond 16

Admissions and school choice

Transport to school and college

Handling absence from school


Disability discrimination in school


Who to speak to if you are worried about your child's education

If you're concerned that your child has special educational needs, talk to a professional who knows your child. This could be a health visitor, someone at their early years setting (nursery, play group, pre-school) or their teacher.

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can also talk to the SENCO at your child's school. People who live in Scotland should explain their concerns to a teacher, giving examples, and ask what support is available. Scotland follows an approach called 'Getting it right for every child', so ask about this.

Our education helpline specialists

Our education specialist helpline advisers are available from Monday-Friday, 9.30-5.00 pm to answer your query. Call our freephone helpline or post a query on Facebook.