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Determining whether a child has SEND or is disadvantaged.

In order to determine whether a child has SEND or is disadvantaged, we must first be clear on the definitions:

Disadvantaged definition:

‘Disadvantaged’ includes but is not exclusive to those children in receipt of pupil premium funding:

  • has received free school meals (FSM) within the last 6 years. Also known as ‘ever six’ 
  • Is in the care of the Local Authority (LA) as a child looked after (CLA) or was ever in care (PCLA)
  • Is adopted
  • Is the child of a family in the armed forces   (DfE)

However, schools are at liberty to include other children in their disadvantaged category.  There will be children who are affected by disadvantage, in particular socio-economic disadvantage, whose parents do not claim free school meals.

SEND definition:

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

• has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or

• has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.   (SEND Code of Practice)

It is sometimes assumed that if a child is disadvantaged, they are likely to have SEND.  The following pie charts show that in fact, there is not a huge crossover between the two.

It is difficult to unpick the impact of disadvantage on learning, particularly in the early stages of learning.  This can present as a special educational need, when it may be that the child has not yet had the opportunities to learn and practise, in particular in terms of speech and language.  It is imperative that the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle is implemented in order to determine whether a child has a special educational need or is yet to develop that skill.  For further information on inclusive practice, please refer to the Ordinarily Available Inclusive Practice document.