Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:
  • behaviour or ability to socialise, eg they struggle to make friends
  • reading and writing,
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels
  • physical ability


The number of children with special educational needs and cognitive disabilities is increasing in the UK.


The 0-25(years) Code of Practice sets out four key areas of SEND:


  • Communicating and interacting – Children and young people have speech, language and communication difficulties which make it challenging for them to make sense of language or to understand how to communicate effectively and appropriately with others.
  • Cognition and learning – Children and young people learn at a slower pace than others their age, have difficulty in understanding parts of the curriculum, have difficulties with organisation and memory skills, or have a specific difficulty affecting one particular part of their learning performance such as in literacy or numeracy.
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties – Children and young people have difficulty in managing their relationships with other people, are withdrawn, or they behave in ways that may hinder their and other children’s learning or have an impact on their health and wellbeing.
  • Sensory and/or physical needs – Children and young people with visual and/or hearing impairments, or a physical need that means they must have additional ongoing support and equipment.


Many of our pupils have difficulties in more than one of these key areas. At St Luke's, many children have several diagnoses, which creates an additional complexity of needs. The SEND diagnoses (and undiagnosed traits) are lenses through which we see their needs and abilities. These lenses support our strategies and techniques, though ultimately , the individual child is who we work with to find possibilities through creating opportunities that enable them to shine.

St Luke's School SEND Information Report

Hertfordshire's Local Offer

Disability - Legal Terminology


Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability. A disability is described in law (the Equality Act 2010) as ‘a physical or mental impairment, which has a long-term (a year or more) and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’ This includes, for example, sensory impairments such as those that affect sight and hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.

The Equality Act requires that early years providers, schools, colleges, other educational settings and local authorities:
  • must not directly or indirectly discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled children and young people
  • must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of extra aid services (for example, tactile signage or induction loops),

so that disabled children and young people are not disadvantaged. This duty is known as ‘anticipatory’. People also need to think in advance about what disabled children and young people might need.