Supporting Families
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General Information

Updated January 2022

I am afraid I no longer supply information and advice for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), even though I regard this as by far the most important area where parents need support. This is purely for personal reasons I am afraid, even though this was the area where I first started offering support over seventeen years ago. Quite simply, I am afraid I no longer have the capacity. SEND issues require ever increasing expertise to be able to offer advice in this incredibly complex area, and I have lost the background to be able to contribute with confidence. Issues which often appear quite straight forward initially, have almost inevitably required a major input by me to establish the basis for moving forward. I  always became involved in situations I picked up, and which require emotional energy I no longer have. 
I believe it remains the case that families with the best resources and ability to fight hardest in the interests of their children are able to secure the best provision in an unfair world. 


Most recently, I published a fairly comprehensive article in 2020 about Education Health and Care Plans, with extensive information and advice here, based on 2018-19 statistics relating to provision and quality of provision. It has sections on LockdownKCC SEND Provision Ofsted Inspection 2019Education Health and Care Plans in Kent 2018-19Special Educational Needs and Disability TribunalSchool Placements of Kent EHCP Children 2018-19Elective Home Education and EHCPsPrivate and State Special Schools  

You will find considerable information and advice at the KCC Special Education Needs and Disability Hub website.  The well respected national Independent Panel for Special Education Advice (IPSEA) is a tremendous source of support, although overwhelmed by demand. IPSEA also offer specialist help at tribunal for parents seeking an EHCP. 

What follows was written some years ago, but may still be helpful to some.  

Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.

Children have a learning difficulty if they:
a) have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or
(b) have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority
(c) are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition at (a) or (b) above or would so do if special educational provision was not made for them.

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

Special educational provision means:

(a) for children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area
(b) for children under two, educational provision of any kind.

A child is disabled if s/he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently impaired by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed. A person has a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act  2005 if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities..

From this one can see that a child is not entitled to Special Educational Need support unless s/he has a learning difficulty which is not the case for all disabled children.


Provision for children with SEND is governed by the Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice, 2015 and updated in 2020

Most children with Special Educational Needs are educated in mainstream schools, some of those with Education and Health Care Needs Plans (EHCPs)  are in Special Schools and some in SEN Units attached to mainstream schools.There is considerable debate over which type of institution is best for which children, with political and educational views changing over the past few decades. There are separate pages on this site providing information on individual Special Schools and SEN Units.

  • MENCAP also publish an excellent advice website, and you will find many other sources on the Internet. 
  • Many schools operate excellent polices to support pupils; others do not give the same priority. Parents often report great difficulty in securing proper support for their children. For Special Education Needs below the level of the EHCP, provision is by agreement between school and parent. you should be prepared to press the school to secure the support you need, although parents are in a weak position as the school controls provision.

Last modified on Monday, 03 January 2022 04:31
More in this category: SEN Units »