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What Is The Special Educational Needs Code Of Practice In Schools?

SEN school code of practice

The SEN Code of Practice has been designed to offer guidance in addition to outlining regulations specifically for those supporting and teaching children and young adults with SEN (special educational needs). 

The code of practice used by SEN teachers/teaching assistants and support workers is called the SEND Code of Practice. SEND stands for special educational needs and disability. 

Schools, colleges, and other settings where people with SEN (aged up to twenty-five) are offered support must adhere to the SEND code of practice as it details legal requirements. It provides statutory guidance on policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Headteachers, teachers/teaching assistants, early years educators, and those working in health and social services, must all consider the SEND Code of Practice when making decisions to ensure that they fulfil their statutory duties towards children and young adults with SEN.

Additionally, those responsible for supporting young individuals with SEN must be able to demonstrate how they are fulfilling their statutory duties.

The SEND Code of Practice facilitates creating a consistent and efficient experience for children and young adults with SEN. In an environment where the SEND Code of Practice is properly implemented, individual needs are picked up early and support is regularly monitored and adapted to ensure effective support is given. 

The SEND Code of Practice also puts focus on the future of an SEN child/young adult, such as their career aspirations. 

Overall, the SEND Code of Practice aims to improve the outcome of individuals once they have left the educational system by making it smoother for them to transition into adulthood.

How Is SEN Defined In The SEND Code Of Practice?

A child or young adult is considered to have special educational needs if they have a learning disability or difficulty that requires them to have further support.

The SEND Code of Practice is designed to help individuals who have difficulties with the following:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional, and mental health
  • Sensory impairments or physical disabilities


Let’s look at these 4 areas in greater detail.

1. Communication and Interaction

The SEND Code of Practice will benefit children and young adults who have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). For example, people with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. 

Individuals who fall into this category may have difficulty understanding and communicating with others, especially teachers or people in authority.

The SEND Code of Practice ensures that effective use is made of specialist speech and language therapy services.

2. Cognition and Learning

Apple on top of workbooks, which are next to colouring pencils and toy blocks

Children and young adults who learn at a much slower pace than their peers may have cognitive and learning difficulties. Extra support will be needed to ensure individuals can meet their learning needs.

For example, those with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia may require different techniques and tools to facilitate reading, writing, and communicating. 

Learning difficulties can range from moderate to severe, so support may be necessary for all areas of the curriculum. Additionally, an individual may need further support if they have difficulties with mobility caused by a physical disability.

3. Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties

Children and young adults who are withdrawn, or those displaying challenging, disruptive behaviour, will benefit from the consistency that the SEND Code of Practice can bring to their educational experience, if properly adhered to by their teachers and support workers, etc.

The SEND Code of Practice states that behaviours such as the above may stem from underlying mental health difficulties. For example, anxiety or depression.

Other individuals who fall into this category may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reactive attachment disorder (RAD), or other similar disorders.

4. Sensory and/or Physical Needs

Teacher and SEN student working with specialist equipment

Further support will be required by children and young adults who have a disability that prevents or hinders them in an educational setting, such as in an SEN school. 

For example, individuals with hearing impairments, multi-sensory impairments, and/or physical disabilities may need help in using facilities, or the educational tools/equipment that are there to assist students in their learning. 

If SEN students are unable to use facilities or tools/equipment, then they will be losing access to opportunities that other children and young adults have. The SEND Code of Practice is designed to help teachers and support workers recognise when an individual requires extra support so that students are offered the same opportunities as their peers.

The SEND Code of Practice not only provides teachers, early years educators, and those working in health and social services with their legal obligations, but it also offers guidance as to how they can effectively support and educate children and young adults with SEN.

Take a look at our current vacancies, if you’re wanting to find an SEN teacher/teaching assistant job.



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