What is SEND?


Special Education Needs (SEN)


Children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children and young people of the same age. These children and young people may need extra or different help to others.


Many children and young people may have SEN of some kind during their education. Education settings like nurseries, schools and colleges can help most children and young people succeed with some changes to their practice or additional support. But some will need extra help for some or all of their time in education and training.


If you would like to understand more about how your child could be identified as having Special Educational Needs and the support they will receive visit Somerset Choices: Somerset Choices SEND Support





Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability. A disability is described in law (the Equality Act 2010) as ‘a physical or mental impairment, which has a long-term (a year or more) and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’ This includes, for example, sensory impairments such as those that affect sight and hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.


The Equality Act requires that early years providers, schools, colleges, other educational settings and local authorities:


  • must not directly or indirectly discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled children and young people
  • must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of extra aid services (for example, tactile signage or induction loops), so that disabled children and young people are not disadvantaged. This duty is known as ‘anticipatory’. People also need to think in advance about what disabled children and young people might need.


Somerset's Local Offer

It is a statutory requirement of all local authorities to publish a ‘Local offer’, showing the support available to all children and young people with SEND and their families.