Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

If your child or young person has learning difficulties or a disability that means they need special health and education support, they may be able to get support through their school or a supporting organisation.

Types of support

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn – for example it can affect their:

  • communication and interaction – for example, speech and language difficulties
  • cognition and learning abilities
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • sensory and/or physical abilities – for example, their hearing and sight

For a definition of SEND, you can read Croydon's Local offer page on SEND support explained. 

Types of support

There are a number of ways you can get support for your child or young person.

Educational settings

If you think your child might have special educational needs, you should contact the SEN co-ordinator or ‘SENCO' in your child’s school or nursery.

Read about the different ways you can access SEN support for:

Find out more about SEN support for children from 0 to 25 years old and young people over 16 – GOV.UK.

Croydon Best Start service for 0 to 5 year olds

Best Start is a universal service that can give you access to early intervention support from pregnancy until your child turns 5. The service ensures that babies and children have the best start in life by giving them access to the right services and information.

Find out more on what Best Start service offers.

Search for a school and educational services

Search for SEND schools in Croydon

Search for other educational services – Croydon's Local Offer

Early help intervention support

If housing, family or other domestic circumstance is thought to be contributing to educational need, agencies will work together to provide support.

Early help is based on these principles:

  • early identification and intervention
  • effective integrated support for children with complex needs
  • children, young people and their families are listened to
  • agencies work together with shared responsibility
  • safe-guarding and welfare of the child/young person is paramount. 
  • helping families to help themselves. 

Find out more about early help support and how you can access it.

Search for local organisations specialising in SEND

The Local Offer website provides information and advice about services that children, young people and their families can expect from a range of voluntary community sector organisations specialising in special education and disability support. Its purpose is to enable young people and their families to find and engage with services that will benefit them.

Search or view services in the Local Offer directory

An education, health and care (EHC) assessment

If your child or young person up to the age of 25 has more complex needs that are not being met by SEN support or universal services, a parent, carer or professional can request for an EHCP assessment.

Find out more about the EHCP plan process – Croydon's Local Offer

For more details on SEND support, read the Local Offer's detailed guidance.