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What Is SEN?

Definition of SEN

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.


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

(a) Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of other the same age; or

(b) 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. SEN Code of Practice (2014, p 4)


Definition of disability

Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability under the Equality act 2010 – that is ‘...a physical or mental impairment which has a long –term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’. SEN Code of Practice (2014, p5)

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