The SEND system is the system that supports children and young people with additional needs throughout their education. This includes children and young people with a learning disability.

What is SEND?

Some children and young people may require more help to learn and develop than children and young people of the same age. If this is the case they may be classed as having special educational needs (SEN) so they can get extra support. This could include anything from more accessible information to one to one support at school or college.

Some children and young people with SEN may also have a disability which does not affect their ability to learn but might stop them from being able to do certain day-to-day things.

How is SEND identified?

Every local area must identify which children and young people have SEND so that it can plan how it will go about meeting their needs.

Children and young people with SEND will be identified through many different ways. Some may have their SEN identified by a health worker or a Paediatrician in their early life and some children and young people’s needs may become evident later on in life, for example when they enter a certain stage of education.

Some children’s SEND can be predicted in early age. For example, certain conditions may mean it is more likely that they will require more support to learn and develop.

In all situations, the families of children under the age of 16 must be told about their child’s needs and families of young people over the age of 16 should ordinarily be involved in this process as well.

Who can get support in the SEND system

The SEND system applies to all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged 0-25, as long as they are in education or training.

The support received by a child or young person with a learning disability will vary significantly depending on their needs. It may involve a range of professionals across the education, health and social care systems.

Read our SEND resources below to find out more about the SEND system. 

Get in touch, we're here for you

Mencap Direct is a free help and advice line. Our team can offer advice, information and discuss what support Mencap can offer tailored to your needs, in your area.

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How to get SEND support

There are three ways you can get SEND support:

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