SEND - Who's who?

Parents of children with Special Educational Needs have a lot of information to get to grips with and may find themselves working with a range of professionals throughout their child’s education.

We’ve compiled a useful guide below to help you keep track of who might do what, and when.

On your Team:

Professionals who can help in the Early Years

All babies, children and young people are unique and develop at different rates. If you have any concerns about your child’s development then talk to your health visitor, who can offer you advice or refer you to the child development team of specialists.

  • Paediatric consultant
  • Educational psychologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech and Language therapist
  • Dietician
  • Urologist
  • Disability social worker

Find out more about these specialists at Sky Badger.

Professionals who can help when your child starts school

When your child starts school, you will meet another group of professionals who will support your child as they begin learning in an educational setting.

Educational Psychologist:

A professional who is legally registered to assess a child’s special educational needs and who gives advice to schools about meeting the additional needs of a child in schools. Educational psychologists give independent assessments to support the identification and meeting of a child’s special educational needs.


A Special Educational Needs co-ordinator is a qualified teacher who has responsibility for co-ordinating the SEN provision in a school.

Family of Schools SENCO:

A SENCO who co-ordinates SEN provision and processes across a family or network of schools. A family of schools is usually one secondary school and its primary feeder schools.

Locality SENCO:

A SENCO who oversees the SEN provision across a local area. Locality SENCOs give training and guidance for SENCOs in their area and ensure that approaches, which benefit children’s learning, are implemented consistently.

Specialist Teacher:

A teacher with expertise in working with children who have specific learning needs such as a neurological, sensory or physical condition.

Teaching Assistant:

TA or also known as a Learning Support Assistant, LSA. Provides support to the teacher in the classroom when they are teaching classes with children who have SEND. TAs work with pupils on an individual, small-group or whole-class basis.

SEND 0-25 Team:

This local authority team deals with EHC Plans and specialist placements in schools.

SEND Manager:

A caseworker in the SEND Team.

What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

A child or young person has special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning, physical or sensory disability which means that they need special educational provision. SEN provision is different from or in addition to that provision which is usually available to all children of the same age.

Having SEND is very common and 15% of all children and young people have a formal diagnosis by the time they reach school age.

Having a learning difficulty or physical disability means that a pupil has greater support needs than most pupils who are in the same age group.

Having SEND covers areas of learning such as:
  • Learning new skills such as reading, writing and number work
  • Communicating and understanding what other people are saying
  • Making friends and relating to adults
  • Difficulties with seeing, hearing or moving around
  • Medical conditions that have an impact on learning
  • Managing emotions and behaviour
  • Mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression

The Language of SEND across the UK

SEND = Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in England

SEN = Special educational Needs in Northern Ireland

ALN = Additional Learning Needs in Wales

ASN – Additional Support Needs in Scotland

Need more help?

If you need to speak with one of Shine’s specialist advisers about spina bifida or hydrocephalus, call us on 01733 555988 or click here to email us.

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