What to do if you think your child has SEN

Step 1 – Arrange a meeting

  • If your child attends a pre-school, meet with their teacher or key worker.

  • If your child is at school meet with their teacher about your concerns. The teacher will be able to tell you what they can do to help your child. You could also speak to the school's Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), who organises extra help for children with SEN.

  • If your child is at college meet with the person responsible for SEN (usually called the Learning Support Co-ordinator).


Step 2 - At your meeting

  • Say why you think your child may have SEN

  • Ask whether your child has more difficulty learning than other children their age

  • Ask what the setting/school/college can do to help your child

  • Ask what you may be able to do to help when your child is at home


Step 3 - What the setting/school/college should do after the meeting.

They will use the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 to decide if your child does have SEN.

If they agree that your child has SEN they should take a 'graduated approach' called ‘SEN Support’. This means they will offer your child additional support and set targets (or outcomes) to be achieved. They will review your child’s progress regularly, at least 3 times per year, and if necessary change the level of support or the way it is provided. This will all be discussed with you and must be recorded – in Buckinghamshire we recommend the use of a document called an SEN Support Plan. 

It is likely that this will be sufficient to enable your child to make the required progress. However, where despite the setting/school/college having taken relevant and purposeful action your child does not make expected progress they may consider requesting an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. 

Parents carers and young people are also able to request an EHC Needs Assessment themselves. In this instance, the Local Authority will contact the setting/school/college for information about how they have been supporting your child so far in order to decide if an assessment is necessary.


More information

Guide to Special educational needs and disabilities for parents and carers

This guide explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) works.

SEND Code of Practice 0 to 25 Years

Find out more about the duties of local authorities, health bodies, schools and colleges to provide for those with special educational needs.