What are special educational needs (SEN)?
More than a fifth of children in England are said to have special educational needs (SEN). Their difficulties range from problems in thinking and understanding, to physical or sensory difficultiesand/or difficulties with speech and language. They can also have social problems, or emotional and behavioural difficulties.
What types of special educational needs are most common?
The largest categories are moderate learning difficulty (24%), behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (22.7%) and speech, language and communication needs (16.3%). A smaller proportion of children have physical disabilities (3.8%), visual or hearing impairments (3.4%) and autism (8.1%).
Symptoms of special educational needs
It is not always easy to identify whether a child has special educational needs. Bright but undiagnosed severe dyslexics have made it to Oxford without their disability being recognised, and many people struggle their whole lives without knowing that they have special educational needs.
Below are some symptoms of SEN to look out for:
- A lack of pleasure in (or avoidance) of reading
- Being easily distracted
- Reluctance to do homework
- Attaining poor results at school
- Generating distraction – talking loudly, moving about in lesson
- Problems with writing, messy presentation and indecipherable paintings
- Clumsiness – bumping into things, poor spatial awareness and perhaps an inability to jump or hop properly
- Avoiding social contact with others
- Lack of interest in school
- Disorganisation – last to pack up, late settling to work
How can Leaders are Readers help children with special educational needs?
Instead of focusing on what a child can't do, the teachers at Leaders are Readers concentrate on what children can do, drawing out amazing strengths that had otherwise gone unrecognised.
Children with special educational needs may need help in a range of areas, including:
- Reading, writing, number work or understanding information
- Expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
- Making friends or relating to adults
- Organising themselves
At Leaders are Readers, we ensure that there are no more than 12 students in one class, that the lessons are well structured, that children have the opportunity to work in pairs and groups, that each child receives detailed feedback on their work and progression and that every child has the opportunity to participate in class. As a result, children with SEN have a greater chance to thrive in their learning environment and to build lasting friendships with their peers.
We do not let the child's age or school year determine which class they are placed in; instead each child is assessed and placed in the class that will best cater to their needs and abilities. Our aim is to help every child to reach his/her full potential and to overcome any learning obstacles he/she may face.