Go to navigation
Placement in mainsteam school - meeting special needs education
The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice gives
guidance to early education settings, state schools, local
authorities (LAs) and anybody else who helps to identify, assess
and provide help for children with special educational needs. It
sets out the processes and procedures that all these organisations
must follow to meet the needs of children. They must not ignore the
guidance in the code. They must also take account of the code when
they write their SEN policies.
SEN Code of Practice
Download the SEN
Code of Practice from the Department for Education
If you would like a hard copy, please phone 0845 602
2260 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The code describes how help for children with SEN in schools and
early education settings should be provided through a graduated
The graduated approach recognises that children learn in
different ways and can have different kinds or levels of SEN. So
increasingly, step by step, specialist expertise can be brought in
to help the school with the difficulties that a child may have.
Early education settings and schools place great importance on
identifying special educational needs early, so that they can help
children as quickly as possible. Once it has been decided that a
child has SEN, the child’s teachers should take account of the
guidance in the SEN Code of Practice. This includes giving parents
information about the local parent partnership service.
The school must tell parents when they first start giving extra
or different help for their child because they have special
educational needs. The extra or different help could be a different
way of teaching certain things, some help from an extra adult,
perhaps in a small group or the use of particular equipment, like a
computer or a desk with a sloping top.
In early education settings, this help is called Early Years
Action and in schools this is called School Action.
A child might need help through the graduated approach for only
a short time or for many years, perhaps even for the whole of their
Parents should be consulted at each step. Different schools will
take account of the code of practice in different ways. However, no
matter how the school chooses to take account of the code, if a
child has SEN, their parents should be consulted at each step. The
school will also consider a child’s own views. Schools should tell
parents about their children’s progress. They have a right to see
the school’s SEN policy and to receive a copy of the school’s
annual report, which will include a report on that policy.
Find out more on the
DfE's SEN Code of Practice page.