Special Educational Needs and Disability

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

A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability and will require special educational provision upon entering school.

A child or young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they have:

  • a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • 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

Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but a disabled child or young person may be deemed to have SEN if they require special educational provision.

Supporting children and young people with SEND in education

Cheshire East meets special educational needs via a Graduated Approach.

The majority of children and young people with Special Educational Needs or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met within local mainstream provision. This is known as SEN Support.

Mainstream educational settings must use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN . This includes providing any necessary support that is ‘additional to’ and ‘different from’ what is available for all pupils and doing this as part of the cycle of assessing, planning, and teaching. This support must be reviewed on a regular basis. Educational settings should record details about the additional or different provision they make to meet a child or young person’s special educational needs, in an individual learning plan, such as an  SEN Support Plan. Where necessary and agreed by the family and the educational setting, it should also involve bringing in additional support from other professionals such as educational psychologists, therapists, or other schools.

Families can search through the Cheshire East Local Offer to find out about services and support available to children and young people aged 0-25 with SEND and their families. SEN Support provided by educational settings is part of the Cheshire East Local Offer.

The Cheshire East Toolkit for SEND outlines the provision and support that we expect to be in place for children and young people with SEND in all educational settings. Most educational settings are required to publish detailed information about their own arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN . Details of individual school “Local Offers” can be found as part of each school’s entry in the Cheshire East Local Offer. We have prepared an overview of the range of school provision available in Cheshire East to meet the needs of children with special educational needs.

When this process of SEN support shows that a pupil is still not making progress and is experiencing persistent difficulties, the educational setting will discuss with you whether it is appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment. Details of criteria and thresholds, along with the relevant and purposeful action that educational settings should have already taken to identify, assess and meet the child or young people’s needs, are available in the Cheshire East Toolkit for SEND. An Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment may be required to determine whether special education provision can be provided at the SEN Support level, or if an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is necessary.

Further help and advice about SEN

If you believe that your child or young person’s needs have not been identified and you feel that they need support, ask to speak to the designated person for special educational needs within the educational setting. For schools, this would be the Special Educational Needs Co-Coordinator (SENCO).

If you need further advice and guidance, or if you child or young person is not currently attending an educational setting, please see the Advice and Support section of the Local Offer.


Page last reviewed: 24 November 2020

Contact details

Cheshire East Special Educational Needs and Disability Statutory Assessment Service
Floor 1
Macclesfield Town Hall

C/O Municipal Buildings
Earle Street
Tel:01625 378042

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