statement of special educational needs

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A legal document which is issued by the local authority (LA) following a statutory assessment. Written advice will be sought from parents, educational professionals, medical agencies, the psychology service, and social services. Contributors must respond within six weeks. The views of the student should also be sought. A statement records personal details, including name and address, date of birth, and home language. A detailed description of the student's special needs follows. This is set out according to the areas of need identified during the assessment process. The LA will decide what special educational provision is required to meet the student's special educational needs. Objectives are then written which relate to all areas of special needs described in the earlier part. Arrangements for monitoring progress towards the objectives are clearly set out. The main vehicle for review is the statutory review, which must occur at least annually. The next section names the school where the special educational provision will be made. Parents may state a preference that their child is not educated in a mainstream school. If no preference is made, the LA must endeavour to place students in a mainstream school. An exception to this would be if this was not compatible with the education of other children. Other needs which could be identified by social services, health services, or other agencies are set out in the next part of the statement. Non‐educational needs and provision are also recorded. Parents should be informed quickly of all decisions relating to the process as it affects their child. Regulations for the time limits are set out in detail in the Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs. The process for issuing a statement should usually be no more than 26 weeks.

Further Reading:

Department for Education and Skills Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs (Revised) DfES/581/2001 (DfES, 2001).

T. B.

Trisha Bowen,


Liz Ellis

Subjects: Education.

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