Bexley SEND IASS, Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AT


This Education section provides information and advice about supporting  your child or young person with special educational needs and disabilities in education. 

What is a Special Educational Need?

A ‘Special Educational Need (or SEN)’ means help that is in addition to, or different from the support generally given to all children of the same age.

Teachers make adjustments so that they can meet the wide range of needs for all the children in any given class and this is known as ‘differentiation’.

A school will only recognise a child has a Special Educational Need (or SEN) if they need further adjustments or support on top of ‘differentiation’. 

A child does not need a medical diagnosis to be recognised as having SEN. 

SEN is not always about a child’s academic attainment. Some children may have other barriers to learning.

These are the four broad areas of need, a full description of each can be found in the SEND Code of Practice 2015:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • sensory and/or physical needs


The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. (xiii)

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

* has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, 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 (xiv)


What is SEN support?


Schools, nursery schools and colleges should identify pupils who may be having difficulty and decide whether SEN support is appropriate.

A child does not need a medical diagnosis to be recognised as having SEN.

This means Nursery Schools, Schools and Colleges, must use their ‘best endeavours’ to put appropriate support in place. 

As a parent / carer you may be the first to notice that your child has special educational needs. If you think your child in nursery or school needs SEN support talk to their class teacher, form tutor or to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). For colleges you will need to talk to student or learning support, this information should be on their website.

SEN Support is provided as  part of a graduated cycle of ‘assess, plan, do, review‘. Bexley IASS has developed 3 SEN Support tools for parents which you will find here: 

What is an Education, Health Care Plan ( EHCP )


Most children and young people with special educational needs will have their needs met through extra support provided by the education setting.

This is known as SEN Support and can include a wide range of provision and interventions.  

However, if the educational setting has exhausted all the possible support options and your child or young person is still not making expected progress, or where the setting is not sure how to support your child, it may be appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment (the first stage in getting an EHC plan).

Talk to the SENCO in school (or to student/learning support for a college or the keyworker in a nursery) about the support in place, your child/young person’s rate of progress and what their plan for next steps might be.

When considering a request, the local authority will expect to see evidence of any progress that has been made in the education setting, and that the setting has done everything they can (including seeking specialist advice from outside agencies) to help your child or young person. 

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

“In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.” (9.14)

You can find out more information on The Bexley Local Offer Page: What is an EHCP

Requesting an EHC Needs

For information on what you need to consider prior to requesting a needs assessment please view the video here: 

For more information on the needs assessment process: 

Bexley IASS: EHC Needs Assessment

The Bexley Local Offer: The EHC Needs Assessment process in Bexley. 

What should be included in the EHCP?

An Education, Health and Care plan (“EHC plan”) is a legal document
which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.

The special educational provision (Support provided)  described in an EHC plan must be provided by the child or young person’s local authority (“LA”).

This means an EHCP can give a child or young person extra educational
support. It can also give parents and young people more choice about which school or other setting the child or young person can attend.

An EHC plan can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.

For more information about the Education Health Care Plan:

Bexley IASS: EHC Plans explained

The Bexley Local Offer: EHC Plans.

IPSEA: EHC Plan checklist 

Who you can speak to


It can be overwhelming and confusing understanding this statutory process. If you have any questions regarding SEN Support, The EHC Needs Assessment Process or the EHCP itself, please contact:

Choosing a school for your child with Special Educational Needs 

Bexley IASS works at  arms-length from the local authority, we offer impartial information, advice and support around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Due to our impartiality, we cannot offer advice or opinion on the most suitable school for your child. 

Here is a link to the Bexley Local Offer page on Schools – Specialist Resource Provisions, Special Schools, Out of Borough and Section 41 C&F Act Approved List

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