A Special Educational Need (SEN) is where a child or young person has a learning difficulty and/or disability (D) which requires additional educational provision compared to that which is normally available to children of the same age. Early identification of any SEND is one of the core principles of the SEND Code of Practice (2015). It is important to note that a child or young person with a disability; is EAL (English as and Additional Language) or who has a medical condition, does not necessarily mean that they have SEND. 

Governing boards have an essential role in Norfolk to support all children and young people with SEND, NGN has worked hard on your behalf to help shape the new Norfolk Area SEND Strategy with a multi-agency approach and in co-production with parents/carers. The four key priorities  will help us ensure that our commitment to listening to children, young people and their families, supporting inclusion and meeting needs will mean that we are changing lives together.

Essential reading

What young people with SEND in Norfolk want to change about the support they receive

Thank you to Norfolk SEND Partnership

Statutory duties and SEND funding

When the word ‘must’ is used it means this is a statutory requirement, when the word ‘should’ is used, governing boards (proprietor for academies and independent schools) ‘must’ have regard to the Code of Practice. All boards have statutory duties in relation to pupils with SEND and they must ensure that the school or setting is providing the necessary provision for every pupil with SEND. The principles underlying the SEND Code of Practice include:

  • taking into account the views of children, young people and their families
  • enabling children, young people and their parents to participate in decision-making
  • collaborating with partners in education, health and social care to provide support
  • identifying the needs of children and young people
  • making high quality provision to meet the needs of children and young people
  • focusing on inclusive practices and removing barriers to learning
  • helping children and young people to prepare for adulthood

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

The role of SENCo in a nursery (maintained) or school is of paramount importance to the effectiveness of early identification and SEND provision for children and young people. In post-16 settings there will a named individual with overall responsibility for SEND. 

The SENCo has an important role to play with the headteacher and governing body, in determining the strategic development of SEN policy and provision in the school. They will be most effective in that role if they are part of the school leadership team. (SEND Code of Practice 6.87)

The SEND Link Governor

On each governing board, one governor should have oversight of SEND and be a link governor between the SENCo, SLT and Board. This governor does not know about individualised children but has a clear understanding about the SEND profile and needs within the school including any barriers. This governor can champion SEND and inclusion, ensuring that SEND is on each agenda, including discussions about budgets and resources. It is the Governing Board that has overall accountability for SEND within their school, so all governors need to be appraised of SEND within their setting. 

There should be a member of the governing body or a sub-committee with specific oversight of the school’s arrangements for SEN and disability. School leaders should regularly review how expertise and resources used to address SEN can be used to build the quality of whole-school provision as part of their approach to school improvement. (SEND Code of Practice 6.3)

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 applies to all maintained and independent schools, including academies and special schools. It is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil because of their disability. You can read more about how this affects schools and governing board’s responsibilities in the Equality Act 2010: advice for schools – GOV.UK


SEND funding can seem complex, each SENCo should have a good understanding of the budget implications for children with SEND. Further advice is available to governors and SENCo’s. A good place to start is SEN funding for schools – Norfolk County Council

Schools have an amount identified within their overall budget, called the notional SEN budget. This is not a ring-fenced amount, and it is for the school to provide high quality appropriate support from the whole of its budget. (SEND Code of Practice 6.96)

It is for schools, as part of their normal budget planning, to determine their approach to using their resources to support the progress of pupils with SEN. The SENCo, headteacher and governing body or proprietor should establish a clear picture of the resources that are available to the school. They should consider their strategic approach to meeting SEN in the context of the total resources available, including any resources targeted at particular groups, such as the pupil premium. (SEND Code of Practice 6.97)

Key terminology



Further information

Local Offer

All local authorities must publish a Local Offer, this provides all of the information relating to provision for children and young people (0-25) across education, health and social care. 

SEN Support

If a child or young person is identified as having SEN, special educational provision will be put in place following the assess-plan-do-review process. 


Provision Expected at SEN Support sets out the expectation of Norfolk County Council for all settings. 


An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or simply EHC plan is for children and young people who have been assessed as having complex needs that cannot be met by SEN Support.

SEN Information Report

Governing bodies of maintained schools and nurseries and proprietors of academy schools must publish information on their websites, the implementation of the SEND policy, this must be updated annually.

Areas of Need

Special educational needs fall broadly into four areas: 

  1. Communication and interaction
  2. Cognition and learning
  3. Social, mental and emotional health
  4. Sensory and/or physical

Where to find more information…

Read our Governance Conversation on SEND blog here.

NGN is always keen to talk to clerks and governors in Norfolk so get in touch or follow us on social media.