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Quick Guide: Guidance for health services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

This Quick Guide aims to help health commissioners and providers tackle the challenges involved in implementing the joint commissioning of services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) introduced by Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

It works in conjunction with the following existing national guidance:

Department of Health (DH) 2016 SEND resources for Healthcare Professionals Guide

SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years

The Guide should be read in parallel with the NHS England Quick Guide commissioning transition to adult services for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and the Children and young people: Quick guide about personal health budgets and Integrated Personal Commissioning.

14% of school children have an identified special educational need. A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision. A child of compulsory school age, or a young person, has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 provision.

A child under compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if they are likely to be within the above categories (or would be likely to be if no special educational needs provision was made).

Special educational needs can result from:

  • a long-term condition or life-limiting condition, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • a congenital condition, such as cerebral palsy
  • a learning disability
  • autistic spectrum disorder, including both autism and Asperger syndrome
  • serious illness or injury, such as acquired brain injury
  • a sensory impairment
  • behavioural issues.