Special Educational Needs

All children are individual and develop at different rates.  However, some children have significant difficulties with learning compared to their peers. This is referred to as ‘Special Educational Needs’ or SEN. You can find the legal definition of Special Educational Needs on the IPSEA website.

Independent Provider of Special Educational Advice (IPSEA)

(IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice is a charity providing a specialist source of expert legally-based information and advice to support children, young people, their parents and Carers in relation to special educational needs.  We recommend this as the main source of support.  

Identifying Special Educational Needs

Some Special Educational Needs may be identified very early in a child’s life, but others may not be emerge until they are much older.  Nurseries, schools and post-16 provision must do their best to identify and meet special educational needs, and most children’s needs can be met within the resources of the school or other educational setting.  They may also bring in help from other agencies, for example, education welfare, CAMHS, speech and language therapy etc.

If you are concerned about your child’s learning and development or how their educational needs are being met at a result of their Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND), talk to your child’s early years setting or school in the first instance.  If your child is under five and not in an early years setting and you are concerned about their learning or development you can talk to your child’s GP or health visitor. 

IPSEA explain what you can expect from your child’s nursery, school or post 16 educational provision

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

Some children and young people may not reach their full potential and need additional support above what their school or other setting can give them.  If this is the case, then the Local Authority has a legal duty to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. If as a result of this assessment, an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is issued then there is a legal duty to make this provision available.  You can find out more about EHCP on the IPSEA website.

Information, advice and support

All Local Authorities are required by law to provide free impartial information, advice and support to children, young people and their parents or Carers.  In Merton this is provided by Merton SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (MIASS). This service offers practical support, for example, understanding rights, attending meetings, and solving local disputes.
Telephone: 0208 543 8854 (Office hours 9am – 5pm 24 hour answer machine if they do not answer leave a message and they will get back to you.)

Contact: for families with disabled children also have useful information related to Special Educational needs.