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Education 5-25

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

Identifying special educational needs (SEN)

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

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age
  • have 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

For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by:

  • mainstream schools
  • maintained nursery schools
  • mainstream post-16 institutions
  • relevant early years providers

For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind.

A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if they are likely to fall within this definition when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them (Section 20 Children and Families Act 2014).

Post-16 institutions often use the term learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD). The term SEN is used on this website across the 0 to 25 age range but includes LDD.

The Inclusive Framework Strategy for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities outlines the council’s shared vision, principles, and priorities to ensure inclusive practice in providing for children and young people with SEND.

Inclusive Framework Strategy for Children and Young People with (SEND) (PDF, 498KB)

Barking and Dagenham SEND Capital Fund 2018-2021 Consultation (PDF, 397KB)

Special Provision Plan (PDF, 79.1KB)

SEND Improvements Booklet (word doc)

Education, health and care planning

If your child has a high level of need, they will require a more specialist assessment, known as a statutory assessment, to assess whether they need more specialist provision. This will come through a personalised plan known as an education, health and care plan (EHC).

Find out more about EHC plans

Transition to higher education

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)

DSAs are available to help students in higher education with the extra costs they may incur on their course because of a disability. This can include an ongoing health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. Students apply through Student Finance England.

Applications for DSAs can be made as soon as the student finance application service opens. This varies from year to year, but is generally at least six months before the start of the academic year in which a young person is expecting to take up a place in higher education. We encourage young people to make an early claim for DSA so that support is in place when their course begins. Where a young person with an EHC plan makes a claim for DSA, we will share their EHC plan with their DSA assessor, to support and inform the application as soon as possible, where we are asked to do so by the young person. This will include relevant supporting diagnostic and medical information and assessments where the young person agrees.

We aim to plan a smooth transition to higher education (and, where applicable, to the new local authority area) before ceasing to maintain a young person’s EHC plan. Once the young person’s place has been confirmed at a higher education institution, we will pass a copy of their EHC plan to the relevant person in that institution at the earliest opportunity, where we are asked to do so by the young person.

Moving to a different local authority area

We will also plan how social care support will be maintained, where the young person continues to require it, and whether this will continue to be provided by us or by the authority in the area they are moving to. This will include consideration of how the student will be supported if they have a dual location, for example, if they live close to the higher education institution during term time and at home during holidays.

For most young people, we will continue to provide their care and support but this will depend on the circumstances of their case. The Department of Health ordinary residence guidance provides examples to help local authorities in making these decisions. Under the Care Act 2014, young people have the right to request transition assessments for adult care that will enable them to see whether they are likely to have eligible needs that will be met by adult services once they turn 18.

We use these assessments to help plan for support while a young person is in higher education.

Young people aged 19 to 25

We are ambitious for children and young people with SEN, and we want to their aspirations and promote high expectations about what they can achieve in school, college and beyond. We want children and young people to have access to the right support and opportunities to prepare them successfully for adulthood by helping them achieve the agreed outcomes in their EHC plan. This will enable many more young people with SEN to complete their formal education.

We set out in our Local Offer the support and provision that 19 to 25-year-olds with SEN can access regardless of whether they have an EHC plan Further education colleges must provide the special educational provision needed by all young people aged 19 to 25 with SEN attending their institution.

Funding for places for students aged 19 to 25

19 to 25-year-olds with EHC plans have the same free access to further education as 16 to 18-year-olds. Colleges or training providers must not charge young people tuition fees for such places as the funding will be provided by the local authority and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Apprentices aged 19 to 25 with EHC plans are fully funded on the same terms and funding rates as 16 to 18-year-old apprentices.

19 to 25-year-olds with SEN but without EHC plans can choose to remain in further education. Colleges are funded by the ESFA for all students aged 19 and over who do not have an EHC plan (including those who declare a learning difficulty or disability). Colleges can charge fees for these students, but must secure the necessary special educational provision these students need. However, students who meet residency and eligibility criteria have access to government funding. Local authorities are not responsible for securing or funding education and training opportunities for young people aged 19 to 25 who do not have EHC plans.

SEND support in school

There are many types of support pupils with SEND can receive in school.

Find out about:

  • your child’s educational entitlement
  • how schools support pupils with SEN
  • support in the classroom for under-achievers
  • support in exams
  • specialists in your child’s education

 SEND in schools

SEND support in colleges

Where a student is identified as having SEND and needing SEND support, colleges should bring together all the right information from the school, the student, those working with the student and any test or assessment the college has carried out. This information should be discussed with the student. The student should be offered support at this meeting and might be accompanied by a parent, advocate or other supporter.

Special educational support might include:

  • assistive technology personal care (or access to it)
  • specialist tuition
  • note-takers
  • interpreters
  • one-to-one and small group learning support
  • travel training
  • accessible information such as symbol based materials
  • access to therapies (eg speech and language therapy)

Colleges should ensure they have access to external specialist services and expertise.

All mainstream colleges are provided with resources to support students with additional needs, including young people with SEN and disabilities. 

The Adult College

The Adult College of Barking and Dagenham provides a wide range of full time and part time, day and evening courses for adults in Barking and Dagenham. The college is fully accessible and learners have an individual learning plan. The college has something for everyone, with many courses for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Enrol online or visit the Barking or Dagenham campus for support in deciding your course options.

Barking and Dagenham College

Barking and Dagenham College provides courses for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. These range from entry level courses to practical diplomas combined with additional learning support programmes.

Havering College

Havering College’s realistic opportunities for supported employment (ROSE) programme provides paid work placements for young people with learning disabilities. Each young person is supported in the workplace by a job coach. This is a tailored individual service ensuring young people have access and choice of paid employment.

New City College

New City College (formerly Redbridge College) has range of courses for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities. Additional learning support is also provided.

Going to university

Disability officers at university offer specialist advice about all aspects of support for students with SEND needs. You should contact the disability officer as soon as you are offered a place if you need SEND support.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)

Students with SEN or who are disabled going into or already in higher education, can apply to their funder (eg Student Finance England, NHS Student Grants Unit, Open University) for a DSA. This can pay for equipment, such as a computer hardware, assistive software and ICT training, study skills support from a specialist tutor, proof reading and an annual general allowance for books etc.

DSAs are paid on top of your other student finance and don’t have to be repaid. The amount you receive depends on your individual needs and not your household income.

Your application should be supported by a diagnostic assessment report post 16 years old from either an educational psychologist or a specialist dyslexia teacher. Part time students and post-graduate students are eligible for this allowance.

DSAs are available for courses lasting at least one year at a higher education institution registered with Student Finance England where the student is eligible for student finance. If you are not eligible for student finance, you cannot apply for DSAs. However, your university should provide appropriate support.

Transport support

Our financial support for pupils and students page has comprehensive information on special educational needs travel assistance.

Choosing a school for children with SEND

Schools publish information about their provision for children and young people with SEN and who are disabled on their websites. They must also make this available to those who do not have internet access.

Schools have a legal duty as set out in the SEND code to publish (on their website and in paper form) information on:

  • special educational needs provided for, policies for identifying children and young people with SEN, assessing their needs and the name and contact details of the SENCO (mainstream schools)
  • arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education
  • arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education
  • arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes
  • arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood. As young people prepare for adulthood, outcomes should reflect their ambitions eg employment, dependent living and participation in society
  • how to approach teaching children and young people with SEN
  • how adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN
  • the expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN, including how specialist expertise will be secured
  • judging the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN
  • how children and young people with SEN are enabled to engage in activities with children and young people who do not have SEN
  • how the school involves other bodies (eg health and social care bodies, local authority support services and voluntary sector organisations) in meeting children and young people’s SEN
  • how the school supports their families arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school

If you would like to apply for a school place for your child, visit our school admissions page.

Additionally resourced provision (ARP) in a mainstream school

Most children and young people are educated in mainstream schools and this includes those with statements or education, health and care (EHC) plans.

An ARP is provision, within a mainstream school, designed to provide specialist and targeted support for children with long term special educational needs. Many young people with additional learning needs can make better progress if they attend mainstream schools. ARPs are additionally funded, which means that a school ARP receives additional resources. They are able to offer:

  • teaching staff with additional knowledge, skills and expertise in a particular area of SEN
  • specialist environments which support the learning needs of each pupil
  • systems to track small-step progress
  • lessons in mainstream classes, but with additional specialist resources and teaching
  • additional educational psychologist and specialist health input as necessary

 Each ARP specialises in a particular area of special educational needs. Each ARP is an integral part of the school.

ARPs are small-scale, typically providing for between 10 and 20 pupils in primary schools and up to 30 in secondary schools. ARP pupils are supported in their own year groups. Pupils will spend time within the designated ARP classroom and their time in their mainstream class will be agreed so that their access is fully successful. This approach enables each individual to receive the particular support that they need, at the appropriate age-related level in the most appropriate setting.

How young people are allocated to an ARP

Pupils allocated an ARP place would usually have an EHC pan. Our Education, Health and Care Panel is the only agency that can allocate an ARP place. The Panel will decide whether a place in an ARP is the most appropriate way of meeting a young person’s needs and, if so, which ARP is the most suitable.

ARP guidance (PDF, 63KB)

ARPs in Barking and Dagenham

If your child has autism or complex social and communication needs:

At primary school age (4 to 11);

  • George Carey Primary School ARP (12 places)
  • Manor Primary School ARP(12 places)
  • Monteagle Primary School ARP (12 places)
  • John Perry Primary School ARP (9 places)

At secondary school age (11 to 16);

  • Jo Richardson Community School ARP (12 places)
  • Sydney Russell Secondary School ARP (12 places)

If your child has social, emotional and/or mental health needs:

At primary school age (4-11);

  • The Acorns at Ripple Primary School
  • The Cambell Primary Centre
  • William Bellamy Primary School ARP (12 places)

At secondary school age

  • Eastbrook Comprehensive School ARP (12 places)

If your child has complex learning needs:

  • Dorothy Barley Junior School ARP (12 places for 7-11 year olds)
  • Richard Alibon Primary School ARP (20 places for 4 to 11 year olds)
  • Dagenham Park Church of England School ARP (30 places for 11 to 16 year olds)
  • Warren Comprehensive School (15 places for 11 to 16 year olds)

If your child is deaf or has a hearing impairment;

  • Five Elms Primary School ARP (20 places for 4 to 11 year olds)
  • Five Elms satellite ARP at Eastbury Primary School (4 to 6 places for 4 to 11 year olds.)
  • Eastbury Comprehensive School ARP (12 places for 11 to 19 year olds)

If your child has speech, language and communication needs:

  • Hunters Hall Primary School ARP (12 places for 4 to 11 year olds)
  • Eastbrook Comprehensive School ARP (24 places for 11 to 16 year olds)

Local authority special schools

Trinity Special School

Children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and severe learning difficulties in Barking and Dagenham can attend Trinity Special School. It has an ARP, Trinity Living and Learning Centre, which provides 12 places for children and young people with more complex needs who need extended places (48 weeks).

Riverside Bridge

Riverside Bridge is an inclusive school where every child is valued and supported to achieve as full and independent life as possible.

Pathways School

Pathways School is a school for young people who have social, emotional and mental health needs.  Young people are placed at this school by the local authority. 

Outside the borough

For some children and young people, attendance at a special school in another local authority area is necessary because they will be able to have support from the specialist staff and facilities they need.

Securing a place at a specialist provision

If your child has not yet started school, your educational psychologist or other professional working with your child will make a recommendation to the Education, Health and Care panel, who will consider the request.

If your child is already at school, and has a statement or an EHC plan, you need to discuss this with your child’s school. This could be through the statutory review of the EHC plan. If your child is undergoing assessment for an EHC plan, you will be able to discuss with your key worker and professionals working with your child.

Alternative provision

Alternative provision is where young people participate in education away from school (because of illness, exclusion or other reasons).

There are opportunities for young people to have an alternative good quality education allowing them to take the right qualifications, preventing them slipping behind, and supporting them to reintegrate successfully into school as soon as possible, where possible.

Find out more about the alternative provision for the young people of Barking and Dagenham at Mayesbrook Park School.

SEND support in youth custody

The SEND code of practice 0 to 25 years sets out rights to children and young people in custody.

These rights include:

  • the right to keep an education, health and care (EHC) plan on hold while being detained
  • having special provision as set out in the EHC plan continued during custody (including health)
  • the right to request an EHC plan while detained

For children and young people in youth custody, arrangements for carrying out the health part of EHC needs assessments and arranging for the health provision will be slightly different, as NHS England is responsible for young people in custody.

The SEND code sets out the policy position for information only, so that local authorities, custodial establishments, and youth offending teams can prepare to implement their duties.

The Youth Offending Service is a good first point of contact if you are a parent of a child in custody or are a young person in custody and want to take forward the new rights in relation to SEN.

Resolving disagreements, mediation and complaints

Disagreement resolution

Disagreement resolution arrangements cover all children and young people with SEN, not just those being assessed for, or with, an EHC plan. Use of a disagreement resolution service is voluntary and has to be with the agreement of all parties.

Parents and young people will be able to resolve disagreements about any aspect of SEN provision, and health and social care, during the processes related to EHC needs assessments and planning. This often leads to an early and local solution.

The Information, Advice and Support Service and other organisations can provide advice and support to informally resolve your disagreement.

We provide independent disagreement resolution through KIDS, which already provides this service to a number of other London boroughs. This service can be accessed through the EHC Team.


Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to the SEN and Disability Tribunal. This is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes. It involves an independent third party (a mediator) who helps both sides come to an agreement. More guidance can be found in our mediation guide (PDF, 118KB).

Appealing to the tribunal

If you are not happy with the decision of the local authority, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Education Needs and Disability). An application to appeal must be made in writing to the tribunal within two months of receiving the local authority’s letter giving its final written decision. You will need a certificate from a mediation advisor to say whether you have had or want mediation. 

Appeal an EHC plan decision

Appeal an SEN statement decision

SEND tribunal

Extended powers SEND tribunal: national trial

Disability discrimination claims

The parents of disabled children or young people have the right to make disability discrimination claims to the tribunal if they believe those children or young people have been discriminated against by schools or local authorities.

Complain about a school or childminder

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal forms

Complaints about this council

If a parent or young person is not be happy with one of our services, or they have any other grievance, they can make a complaint.

Judicial review

Parents and young people can make an application for judicial review to the Administrative Court, which can consider decisions of local authorities in the exercise of their duties. For example, a judicial review in relation to EHC plans would be a review of the way in which decisions, reflected in the plan, were made rather than the content of these decisions. An application for judicial review will be considered only once all other options have been exhausted. Any application for judicial review is time bound.

Administrative Court judicial review guide

Funding for pupils with SEND

Most children and young people will have the special educational needs and disabilities will have the support they need from with the school or setting’s budget.

There are three levels or ‘elements’ of funding for educational support for children and young people with special educational needs.

Element 1: an amount of money for each pupil in the school

This is a sum of money that each school will receive for EVERY child/young person. This is used to make general provision for all pupils in the school including pupils with SEND

Element 2: this is known as the school's notional SEN budget

All schools receive an additional amount of money to support the needs of children with additional needs. The government has recommended that schools should use this notional SEND budget to pay for up to £6,000 worth of special educational provision to meet a child’s additional needs. Most children’s special educational provision comes to less than £6,000.

Element 3: top up funding

If the school can evidence that a child/young person with SEND needs more than £6,000 (Element 2) worth of special educational provision, the school can request top up funding from the local authority to meet the cost of the extra provision required for the child/young person. If the local authority agrees, the funding is provided from the high needs budget.

Financial support for pupils and students

NASEN Pupil Premium (free school meals) guide

Rising Stars Pupil Premium (free school meals) guide (PDF, 557KB)

Background to SEN funding

In 2013 the Department for Education (DfE) introduced changes in school funding which are known as the School Funding Reform. All maintained mainstream schools receive basic pupil funding per pupil which is known as the age weighted pupil unit (AWPU) – this is usually calculated at £4,000 per pupil.

Special educational needs and disability funding

Schools have access to additional funding for pupils who have SEND and this is broken down into two elements - SEND funding and top up funding:

  1. SEND funding is an identified figure within the schools delegated budget which each school receives annually. This funding is provided from a funding stream called the dedicated schools grant. It is provided by the local authority to maintained schools and the Education Funding Agency for Academies and Free Schools. This funding is used to support pupils who receive SEN support in schools. Some pupils with EHC) plans will also receive this funding. In Barking and Dagenham 11.23% of the dedicated schools grant is designated as the High Needs block and 66% is delegated directly schools to meet the needs of pupils with high levels of special educational needs and disabilities.
  2. Top up funding is sometimes also known as high needs or element 3 funding. This funding is provided by the local authority and is provided based on the child’s individual needs. Pupils who receive top up funding may, or may not, have an EHC plan but will have complex needs as identified by the local authority's banding document.

Funding from these different elements is not in principle any different from the way SEN funding has been funded in the past. What is different is:

  • where funding is provided from – academies and free schools are funded directly from the Education Funding Agency (EFA)
  • a national assumption is now being made that AWPU is the equivalent of a notional £4,000 per pupil
  • the level of support an individual school is expected to provide from the additional support element of its funding has now been nationally defined as a notional £6,000

How school’s access top Up funding

All schools can make an application for top up funding for any pupil in school. However, the local authority would require detailed evidence demonstrating why the school cannot support the pupil from within its own resources. For example, the local authority would need to consider evidence of how the school has supported the child via SEN funding. Applications for top up are made to the local authority’s top up panel. Schools are given a right of appeal if the local authority does not agree to provide top up.

Special schools

Most special schools receive advance base funding of £10,000 for each planned place which is based on expected admissions. Top up funding is then provided at an agreed rate and reflective of the type and extent of the individual’s special educational needs or disability.

Additional resource provision (ARP) funding

ARPs attached to mainstream schools are funded in the same way as special schools with preplanned base funding provided and then additional top up funding dependent on the type of provision and individual pupils needs.

Alternative provision

Alternative provision (which included pupil referral units) is funded the same as above with base funding of £10,000 per place.


Young people who continue to attend a special school or school 6th form are funded in the same way as explained above.

Young people who attend a further education institution (such as a local college) are funded on the following basis;

  • element 1 - this represents the funding that all students at the institution attract for their study programmes. It does not take into account the additional support costs of high needs students. For maintained secondary schools, this funding is paid via local authorities as the sixth-form grant. For other institutions, it is paid directly by EFA and the rate is £4,000
  • element 2 - like the funding system for schools, further education colleges receive £6,000 notional SEN funding to support the needs of learners with additional needs
  • element 3 - this is top up funding over and above the £6,000 SEN funding required to support the needs of the learner. This amount is agreed between the local authority and institution

Accessibility strategy

Our accessibility strategy (PDF, 840KB) is based on the same principle as the accessibility plans for schools and applies to our maintained infant, junior, primary and secondary schools, children’s centres and early years settings. The strategy describes how we support educational settings for which we are responsible body, to comply with these duties.  Our new accessibility strategy is being updated. 

We welcome feedback and comments from parent/carers, professionals and partners.

Leave feedback on our accessibility strategy

Elective Home Education Policy

Find out more about home education and read the Elective Home Education Policy.

Education, Health and Care Team

Barking Town Hall, Floor 2, 1 Town Hall Square, Barking, IG11 7LU

020 8227 2400