Many children will have special educational needs of some kind during their education. Whether that be autism, a behaviour disorder, hearing issues, language impairments, learning disabilities, speech impairments, visual impairments, medical or health conditions or even communication problems. There are many disabilities which fall under special educational needs each needing support given in a different way because all children and young people make progress at different rates and all have different ways of learning. 

Here are some of the options available to parents with children who have special educational needs.

Before your child starts school

If you think there may be a problem or have any worries during your child's early years you can talk to your health visitor or doctor who will be able to give you advice about the next steps to take and who can help. The early years are a very important time for your child's development, physically and emotionally, do get it checked out if you have any worries at all. 

Primary school or high school

If you have any concerns regarding your child's progress at school you should talk to your child's class or form tutor. You will then be able to talk over your concerns and the teacher can pass these over to the SEN coordinator where you will be able to sit down and discuss various options and what happens next. It is important to work with your child's teachers and to discuss any issues as soon as you encounter them than further down the line. 


Many parents choose to home educate their SEN children instead. If you choose to electively home educate and take full responsibility of your child's education you need to ensure that this is done correctly. If you are removing them from school you will need to send a letter of de-registration to the school. You do not need to inform the LA of your decision to home educate, it is the responsibility of the school to do so. 

You don't have to follow the National Curriculum if you wish to homeschool, you don't need to be a qualifies teacher, keep to school times or follow a set timetable. However you do need to ensure that your child receives an education. There are many groups on Facebook which are great for joining to interact with other parents who choose to home educate, and also discuss different ways of teaching and activities. 

Private tutor

If you don't think your child is getting the best out of being at school and could do with some extra guidance and tuition investing in a private tutor may just be what your child needs. There are many tutors who specialise in working with SEN children, check out your local directory or even ask at the school if they could give you some information. 

Residential special schools and homes

There are many residential special schools and homes across the country like Hillcrest who provide a secure, safe living and learning environment in rural and urban settings. Their special school allows children to learn at their own pace and develop into confident, capable adults. Their Ofsted registered children's homes offer a full curriculum alongside vocational training, a child-centred and therapeutic approach to care and qualified experienced staff. You can find out more by visiting their website here.

Independent support

If you have a question about special education needs and not sure who to ask or speak to there are many services which offer advice and support for parents with children who have special educational needs. Check to see if there are any independent supporters local to you who can help you and your child through the SEN assessment process. You can get more help from the Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA).

What ever option you choose, it has to be right for your child and your family. Do consider the pros and cons before rushing into anything. 

Do you have or know a child with special educational needs? What support do they receive?

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