Professional support for Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Find out how a child or young person with special educational needs (SEN) can be supported without having an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

There are usually 2 levels of support in schools and settings for children with special educational needs (SEN):

  • Special educational needs (SEN) support, which is provided by the school or setting
  • Education, health and care (EHC) plans, sometimes called an EHCP, for when special educational needs (SEN) support is not enough for the child to get the support they need

Graduated approach

Once it has been decided that the child needs special educational needs support, their school or setting will put cycles of the graduated approach in place. This means they must:

  • assess his or her needs
  • plan what additional and different support or intervention is necessary
  • do - deliver this additional support and/or intervention
  • review - decide on the impact of this and what needs to happen next

The school or setting should draw up a special educational needs support plan, planning and then in reviewing the plan at least three times a year.

The local authority funds schools and settings to meet special education needs and support. This meets the needs of the majority of children with additional needs.

Schools are also able to request additional specialist involvement from other agencies at this stage.


You can also contact the SEND Information and Advice Service (SENDIASS) for impartial information, advice and support.

If you would like to speak to someone from the local authority please contact the special educational needs admin team and they will direct your enquiry to a member of staff based in your local SEND hub.

Contact us.