Call our free helpline0808 808 3555
Call our free helpline
0808 808 3555
In any classroom, children learn at different speeds and in
different ways. Teachers will plan their lessons and choose
different types of lesson materials to help each child learn
Some children need more help than this and may have difficulty
A child who needs a lot of extra help in any of these areas has
special educational needs (SEN). Some children may have SEN because
of a medical condition or a disability. Other children may have SEN
without a diagnosis or a disability.
See the bottom of this page if you live in Northern Ireland,
Scotland or Wales.
In England, a child with SEN may go to a mainstream school,
where there are pupils with and without SEN, or a special school,
where there are only pupils with SEN.
In a mainstream school it is the responsibility of the special
educational needs coordinator (SENCO) at the school to arrange
extra help for those who need it. Most children with special
educational needs will go to mainstream schools, and the law gives
parents a right to say that they prefer this option for their
In a special school there are only pupils with special
educational needs, and they will usually have needs that are more
complex. The school may have specially trained teachers, therapists
or special equipment to support them.
Understanding the SEN system in England
Use the links below for more information about education support
for your child:
Find out more about the SEN reforms in England.
Or find support if your child still has a
If you live in Wales, browse our information about extra support in
mainstream schools and the statementing process for
children with special educational needs.
We also support Northern Ireland and Scotland. Give our helpline
a call on 0808 808 3555 and we can provide information or signpost
you to alternative sources of advice in those nations where
appropriate. Find out our local office details in the In your area
Any questions about support at school? What kind of school is
best for my child? Call our freephone helpline on 0808 808
3555 and talk to one of our education advisers.