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What are special educational needs?

A child has special educational needs if he or she has learning difficulties which require special educational provision to be made for them.

A learning difficulty means that the child or young person:

  • Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of their peers; or
  • Has 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; or
  • Is under school age but either fall into one of these groups or would do if special provision was not made.

The comparison to decide significantly greater is with children of the same general age group. The definition applies if either the learning difficulty OR disability is present as long as there is a need for special education provision.

The test for the type of provision is that which is generally available across the country not necessarily facilities available within the Council area.

As many as 20% of children may have special educational needs at some point during their education and about 3% of children have learning difficulties at a level that requires an Education, Health care Plan to be issued.

All children with special educational needs have a right to a broad and well-balanced education. As a parent, you have a right to play an important part in ensuring that the Council makes the best decision on what education and which school is right for your child.

Most children with special educational needs attend mainstream schools, and continue to be successfully educated with children of their age. Extra resources and support are made available to ensure that your child receives the appropriate educational provision.

Special educational provision means educational provision which is additional to, or different from, the provision made generally to children of their age in schools maintained by the Council. For children under 2 it means educational provision of any kind.

For further information or queries on what is meant by special educational needs and disability please contact us:

Telephone: 0121 303 5004

E-mail: sendiass@birmingham.gov.uk

Website: www.birmingham.gov.uk/sendiass