What is SEN Support?

SEN Support is what schools and similar settings use to find and meet the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN). 

They should change support where necessary for each child.

This used to be called Early Years/School Action and Early Years/School Action Plus.

Who can get SEN Support?

Education settings must make sure they meet the “reasonable” special educational needs of children. This means that all education settings – early years settings, schools and colleges – should be able to meet the needs of most children with a learning disability .

How to get SEN Support

If a child or young person has SEN, or an educational setting thinks that they might have SEN, the staff must follow this process:

  1. Assess: they must talk to a child’s parents or the young person themselves to work out what support might be needed.
  2. Plan: once a child or young person’s needs have been identified, staff must work together with them and their family to decide what outcomes they want the child or young person to achieve and what support should be put in place to help them achieve those outcomes. 
  3. Do: the staff, supported by the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) where relevant, should put this support into practice.
  4. Review: the support received by the child or young person should be reviewed by everyone involved to see if it is working. If it is, it might continue. If it is not working, or if the outcomes have been achieved, some of the arrangements might be changed.

Schools must set out their arrangements for supporting pupils with SEN in an online policy. You will be able to view this policy via your council's Local Offer.

Get in touch, we're here for you

The Learning Disability Helpline is our 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.

Call or email us
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The Local Offer


Every council must have a Local Offer of support that it expects to be available in the local area for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

The local offer will be available on the council’s website – if you are unsure, you can find your local council here.


Find out more

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