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The SEND Code of Practice says:-


5.32 Special educational provision should be matched to the child’s identified SEN. Children’s SEN are generally thought of in the following four broad areas of need and support – see Chapter 6, paragraph 6.28 onwards, for a fuller explanation:
• communication and interaction
• cognition and learning
• social, emotional and mental health
• sensory and/or physical needs


A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

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


Read the legislation Children and Families Act 2014. Chapter 6, Part 3 (20-21)



Special Educational Provision

Special Educational Provision is educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for other children or young people of the same age.

A child or young person may not necessarily have a learning difficulty but may still meet the definition SEN due to their disability.

Examples of special educational needs include:

  • Speech, language and communication needs
  • Behavioural, emotional and social difficulties
  • Autistic spectrum conditions
  • Specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Moderate learning difficulties
  • Profound and multiple learning difficulties
  • Multi-sensory impairment


What do we mean by disability?

A child or young person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial or long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Children and young people with the most complex needs will require specialist services. They will require support with their health, education or physical, learning, emotional, social, or behavioural development, due to disabilities.

Disabilities include:

  • Multiple and complex health needs or chronic illness
  • Sensory impairment such as hearing loss or visual impairment
  • A significant and long-term learning difficulty
  • A physical disability
  • Autistic spectrum disorder
  • A severe communication disorder
  • A significant developmental delay 


Is having English as a second language a special educational need?

No. Children do not have SEN just because the language used at home is different from the language used at school. 

The Ethnic Minority & Traveller Achievement Toolkit provides information and resources to schools to support pupils who are new to English and those who are more advanced bilingual learners. It also provides policy guidance, curriculum advice and good practice guidance for the traveller minority and refugee and asylum seekers. 


Identifying Health Needs

The SEND Code of Practice says:


Where assessment indicates that support from specialist services is required, it is important that children and young people receive it as quickly as possible…The Local Offer should set out clearly what support is available from different services and how it may be accessed. (6.60)

Colleges should ensure they have access to external specialist services and expertise. These can include, for example, educational psychologists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), specialist teachers and support services, supported employment services and therapists. (7.23)


For children with complex needs identified at birth, after an injury or illness, or through their early years, you will likely have health professionals already working with you. They will let you know if they believe your child has Special Educational Needs and can also guide you to other sources of support and information.

Health professionals have a duty to notify the local authority when they identify a child under compulsory school age as having (or probably having) SEN or a disability.  However, you might be the person who notices differences around development or behaviour, this can often happen when a child starts nursery or school for example.

You can talk to their keyworker or Teacher about your observations, discuss what support might be needed, and decide next steps together.

You can also see your child’s GP and together you might talk about whether to make a referral to a specialist service or paediatrician.

If your child continues to make less than expected progress, the setting (nursery, school etc.) may talk to you about making a referral.  This could be to a specialist health service, such as a school nurse or a speech and language therapist. Settings can make a referral into some health services, but not all.

Referrals to Specialists Services

Sometimes a setting, the local authority or health professional are unsure how to support your child.  In this situation they might suggest you consent to a referral to a specialist service for advice so they can better understand your child's needs.

You should have the opportunity to speak with or meet any specialist that sees your child. They will:

  • explain their role
  • explain any observations or assessments they will carry out
  • tell you what will happen next

Seeking a Diagnosis

If you think your child may have additional needs, it is normal to feel unsure about what to do or even to feel overwhelmed. As a parent, you will hear lots of advice and sometimes this can be confusing or even conflicting. You might disagree with your partner about what to do or feel worried about your child being labelled with a diagnosis.

Taking the step towards seeking diagnosis can often be a relief to both parent and to a child who might be feeling different, but not understanding why.  However, it is your personal choice, and the following questions may be helpful:

  • What does my child say, do they notice they are different and how is this affecting them?
  • What are the alternatives, i.e. can we support my child without a diagnosis? (Talk to school, GP and any other professionals involved).
  • What will be the impact of going ahead with a referral, e.g. will a diagnosis mean we can access support?


Some parents decide to request a referral and then wait and see – using the waiting time (which can be lengthy) as additional time to decide.

In education settings, support for SEN is not dependent on a medical diagnosis.  A diagnosis does not always indicate the level of level of support or provision that is needed to effectively support a child with special educational needs. A person-centred approach should be used to identify each individual need and provision put in place to support and ensure progress and full potential is being met.  

Information on identifying health needs, seeking a diagnosis and getting the most out of your health appointment

Information on carers assessments and needs assessments, carers respite & social care provision in an EHC plan


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Allegations Against Staff - LADO

Please use LADO Referral Form updated April 2024.docx  for the LADO:

Contact LADO:

Email: LADO@haringey.gov.uk
T. 020 8489 2968

All allegations should be reported without delay to:

Haringey Safeguarding Children Partnership 
5th Floor, 48 Station Road
Wood Green
N22 7TY

View the latest LADO Annual Report 2022-23 Final.pdf 

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