Some children and young people need more support than others to achieve their full learning potential.
They may need extra help, for example, because they have difficulty with reading, understanding, talking, managing their emotions or behaviour, or developing physical skills. A child who needs a lot of extra help in any of these areas has special educational needs (SEN).
Educational settings (schools, nurseries and colleges) have a legal duty to support children and young people with additional needs and disabilities and to treat them fairly. In this section you can find advice and information about what support might be available to your child.
Information for families in England
Most of the information in this section is for families in England only. Browse the following pages for more advice:
- An introduction to special educational needs in England
- Support in the early years
- Extra support in mainstream schools
- Education, Health and Care assessments and plans for children and young people with more complex needs
- Education beyond 16
- Transport to and from school or college
Or find support if your child still has a statement.
Information for families in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
If you live in Wales, browse our information about the statementing process for children with special educational needs.
We can also support families in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Give our helpline a call on 0808 808 3555 for information and advice on any aspect of raising a disabled child, or contact your local office.
Who to speak to if you are worried about your child's education (UK wide)
If you're concerned that your child has special educational needs, talk to a professional who knows your child. This could be a health visitor, someone at their early years setting (nursery, play group, pre-school) or their teacher.
If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can also talk to the SENCO at your child's school. People who live in Scotland should explain their concerns to a teacher, giving examples, and ask what support is available. Scotland follows an approach called 'Getting it right for every child', so ask about this.
Our education helpline specialists
Our education specialist helpline advisers are available from Monday-Friday, 9.30-5.00 pm to answer your query. Call our freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555, or post a query on Facebook. We can help on any aspect of education in England and Wales
Our education advisors explain how our helpline can help you.