Bradley Barton Primary School and Nursery All inspired to learn and inspired learning for all.

The Main Areas of Need

The 2014 SEND Code of Practice outlines four areas of special educational need that include a range of difficulties and conditions:

1) Communication and interaction.

2) Cognition and learning.

3) Social, emotional and mental health.

4) Sensory and/or physical.

Communication and Interaction


Some of the aspects of difficulty included in this area are:


Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ASD is a relatively new term that recognises there are a number of sub-groups within the spectrum of autism. Pupils with ASD have difficulty in making sense of the world in the way others do. Other difficulties may include:

  • Understanding and using non-verbal and verbal communication.

  • Social interactions and understanding social behaviour which then affects their ability to interact with children and adults.

  • Finding certain stimuli upsetting/distressing .

  • Distress/upset caused by change in routine.

Pupils with ASD cover the full range of ability and the severity of their impairment varies widely. Some pupils also have learning disabilities or other difficulties, making diagnosis difficult.


Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)

Children with speech, language and communication needs cover the whole ability range. They find it increasingly difficult to communicate with others. Difficulties may include:

  • Finding it difficult to take part in a conversation, either because they find it difficult to understand what others say or because of difficulties with fluency and forming sounds, words and sentences.
  • Understanding and/or responding to verbal cues from others.
  • Using words in context.
  • Using appropriate language for social interaction.

For some children, difficulties may become more apparent as the language they need to understand and use becomes more complex.


Cognition and learning.


Children with learning difficulties will learn at a pace that is slower than other children and therefore may have greater difficulty than their peers in obtaining basic numeracy or literacy skills or in understanding new concepts, even with personalised differentiation.They may also have other difficulties such as low self esteem, difficulties in focus and concentration and under-developed social skills. Some aspects of difficulties included in this area are:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    A complex condition which affects a child's behaviour, concentration and learning.
  • Moderate learning difficulty (MLD)
    Children with MLD have attaintments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum. Their needs will not be met by normal differentiation and therefore additional educational provision is provided to help them access the curriculum.
  • Severe learning difficulty (SLD)
    Children with SLD have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. Difficulties may include mobility, communication and perception. These affect their ability to participate in the curriculum without support. Pupils with SLD need support in all areas of the curriculum.
  • Specific learning difficulties (SpLD)
    “A child or a young person with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) may have difficulty with one or more aspects of learning. This includes a range of conditions such as dyslexia (difficulties with reading and spelling); dyscalculia (maths); dyspraxia (co-ordination) and dysgraphia (writing).” (2013 SEN Code of Practice).

Social, mental and emotional health.


Children who have difficulties with their emotional and social development may have under-developed social skills and therefore find it difficult to make and sustain healthy relationships.


Children with emotional difficulties include those who may be withdrawn or isolated, hyperactive and lack concentration; those with immature social skills and those presenting other difficulties arising other complex needs.


Some children may have emotional needs and/or social difficulties that interfere with their own ability to learn effectively. In some instances, the difficulties they experience may potentially cause disruption to the learning of other children.


Social difficulties, in this context, occur when students have problems managing interactions with others in school effectively and appropriately. They may have difficulty making the necessary adjustments to conform to the expectations of others in a variety of settings. The process is known as socialisation. Either difficulty may impact substantially on the child’s ability to learn.


Some of the aspects of difficulty included in this area are:

Adjustment Disorders

A child suffering from an Adjustment Disorder may have witnessed a stressful event or had a big change in their normal lifestyle. This could then have an adverse reaction on their emotional health and/or behaviour.

Anxiety Disorders

A child suffering from an Anxiety Disorder may be prone to frequent panic attacks. Here the child may complain of physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches. The child may also display inappropriate emotional responses, such as outbursts of laughter or crying out of context

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder ('OCD')

A child struggling with their social, emotional or mental health may also have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here the child can display recurrent and persistent obsessions or compulsions. Behaviours may include repetitive hand washing, praying, counting, and repeating words silently.

Sensory and/or Physical Needs


Some of the aspects of difficulty included in this area area:


Hearing Impairment (HI)

Pupils with an HI range from those with a mild hearing loss to those who are profoundly deaf. They cover the whole ability range.

For educational purposes, pupils are regarded as having an HI if they require hearing aids, adaptations to their environment and/or particular teaching strategies to access the concepts and language of the curriculum. Some pupils with HI may also have an additional disability or learning difficulty. Hearing loss may be because of conductive or sensorineural problems and can be measured on a decibel scale.


Visual Impairment (VI)

A visual impairment is generally defined as an eyesight problem that cannot be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses or by surgery.

Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI)

Pupils with MSI have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties.


Physical Disability (PD)

There is a wide range of physical disabilities and pupils cover the whole ability range. Some pupils are able to access the curriculum and learn effectively without additional educational provision. They have a disability but do not have a Special Educational Need. For others, the impact on their education may be severe.


Medical Needs

A medical diagnosis or a disability does not necessarily imply a special educational need (SEN). It may not be necessary for the child or young person with any particular diagnosis or medical condition to have any additional form or educational provision at any phase of education. It is the child’s medical needs rather than a diagnosis that must be considered.


Some children may not require school-based SEN provision but they have medical conditions that, if not properly managed, could hinder their access to education.


Children and young people with medical conditions will include those with Asthma, Diabetes, Arthritis, Epilepsy, severe allergies, Incontinence, Eczema, Cystic fibrosis Tracheotomy, Colostomy and Ileostomy.


In such cases, school staff will take into consideration the medical guidance available and work closely with multi agency professionals.