Children with Special Educational Needs and/or  Disability

What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

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.


What is an EHC Plan?

Until September 2014 Local Authorities like Reading Borough Council, gave extra help to those children whose needs couldn't be met in a mainstream school or early years education setting by a process known as a 'Statement of Special Educational Need'.  However in September 2014 the law was changed by The Children & Families Act 2014 to introduce the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) to replace statements.  The idea is to include plans and provision for health and social care for those children who have those needs as well as educational needs.  

Over the three years from 2014 the Local Authority will be transferring the statements of children with SEN to EHC Plans.

For many children with Special Educational Needs they will have their provision made without the help of an EHC plan within their normal educational setting because schools receive additional funding to do this.  However, if a parent feels that this is not meeting their child’s needs they can get help and support form a number of different organisations.

National charities like IPSEA, Contact a Family, Cerebra and SOSSEN, who exist to help families of children with SEN and Disabilities, have websites as shown below and there is also the local Information Advice and Support Service for SEND which is an excellent arms length service of Reading Borough Council. Reading Mencap Family Advisers can also help and support you at school or local authority meetings.

Getting help

Reading Information, Advice and Support Service for SEND (IASS for SEND)

Lesley Chamberlain - Manager, 

The Hamilton Centre, Hamilton Road, Reading, RG1 5SG 

Tel:0118 9237 3421 



IPSEA (Independent Panel for Special Educational Advice) 

This is one of the original great advice charities in Special Educational Needs

Phone or email to book a telephone appointment on: 

email or phone 01799 582 030.


Contact a Family

This very active charity produces a range of indispensible guides

Free Helpline: 0808 8083555




This charity publishes many helpful guides for parents of disabled children across a 

range of areas


Tel: 01267 244200



They operate a friendly impartial telephone helpline for parents about SEN

Tel: 020 8358 3731


Reading Mencap Family Advisers will also help.  

Please ring 0118 9662518 during office hours 9.30 to 1.30 Monday to Friday.