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Special Educational Needs (SEN) support in the UK

  • March 17, 2022

Special schools are those that provide an education specifically for children with special educational needs or disabilities.

The school level data shows that in January 2021, there were 352 schools with Special Educational Needs (SEN) units and 1,066 schools with a resourced provision (up from 1,028) in England. With improvements in efficiency of diagnosis for conditions like ADHD and Autism schools are simultaneously ensuring they can tailor and personalise the schooling environment to best benefit everyone.

SEN support

From 2015, the School Action and School Action Plus categories have combined to form one category of SEN support. Extra or different help is given from that provided as part of the school’s usual curriculum. The class teacher and special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) may receive advice or support from outside specialists. The pupil does not have an Education, Health and Care plan.

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and statements of SEN

A pupil has an EHC plan when a formal assessment has been made. A document is in place that sets out the child’s need and the extra help they should receive. Prior to September 2014, a statement of SEN was used. Following the introduction of EHC plans in September 2014, statements of SEN and EHC plans were grouped together within the data. The transfer of statements of SEN to EHC plans was due to be completed in March 2018, and by December 2018, there were less than 100 statements of SEN nationally.

The most common type of need among pupils with an EHC plan is Autistic spectrum disorder, with 92,600 pupils (30% of pupils with an EHC plan).

The most common type of need among pupils with SEN support are Speech, Language and Communication needs, with 245,200 pupils. This is followed by Moderate Learning Difficulty (203,400 pupils) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (195,300 pupils).

The type of support offered

Children under 5

SEN support for children under 5 includes:

  • a written progress check when your child is 2 years old
  • a child health visitor carrying out a health check for your child if they’re aged 2 to 3
  • a written assessment in the summer term of your child’s first year of primary school
  • making reasonable adjustments for disabled children, like providing aids like tactile signs

Children between 5 and 15

Talk to the teacher or the SEN co-ordinator (SENCO) if you think your child needs:

  • a special learning programme
  • extra help from a teacher or assistant
  • to work in a smaller group
  • observation in class or at break     
  • help taking part in class activities
  • extra encouragement in their learning, for example to ask questions or to try something they find difficult
  • help communicating with other children
  • support with physical or personal care difficulties, for example eating, getting around school safely or using the toilet

How BDI Resourcing can help

When relocating to the UK our Relocation support officers are able to help you find schools in your NHS Trusts area that fulfill all the needs of you children.

If you are a Doctor looking to relocate to the UK do send your CV to [email protected].

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have hundreds of videos about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!


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