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What is the SEND system?: 1. What is the SEND system?

1. What is the SEND system?

The SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) system aims to ensure children and young people’s special educational needs (SEN) are identified, assessed and met. 


Reforms to the SEND system began last September (2014), following the passing of the new Children and Families Act, 2014.

The Act, which changes how children and young people’s SEN is identified, assessed and met, were first proposed in the 2011 Support and Aspiration Green Paper. Dyslexia Action campaigned, alongside other members of the dyslexia sector, to ensure the new SEN system worked for children and young people with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia. 

The law now identifies that a child or young person has a learning difficulty, including dyslexia, if they have:

‘a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age’. Children and Families Act (2014, part 3; 20)


‘Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation’.  Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2014), Ch6.30)


 ‘Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.' Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2014), (Ch6.31)

Did you know?

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the ability to learn to read and spell. It often runs in families and stems from a difficulty in processing the sounds in words.