Most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met in mainstream education. Most will need some extra help from their teacher or other school staff, but some will also need help from people working alongside the staff.

All schools are required to have a named Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who is responsible for coordinating the school’s support programme for SEN and disabilities.  When difficulties are first identified, they put in place extra help, known as SEN Support.

Find out more about SEN Support (opens a separate section on this website)

Some children or young peoples’ needs may be better met by attending a school or college that specialises in educating children and young people with specific educational needs or disabilities. There are options both in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead as well as out of the borough if appropriate.

Find out more about choosing a school

Find out more about applying for school


​What are special educational needs?

On average, five children in every class have difficulty learning because they have special educational needs (SEN). Special educational needs that affect a child's ability to learn can include:

  • social emotional and mental health difficulties, or ability to socialise, for example not being able to make friends.
  • reading and writing, for example they have a reading or spelling difficulty.
  • ability to speak or understand language (though children and young people who speak English as an additional language as their only need should not be identified as having SEN).
  • concentration levels, for example they have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  • physical needs or impairments.

A child or young person has SEN if:

  • they are progressing at a significantly slower rate than the majority of children their age, and
  • they need additional or different help from the services usually provided in the school

As a parent, you will know your child better than anyone else. If you feel that your child may have additional needs, you could discuss your concerns with your Health Visitor or GP who will be able to refer you to other more specialist services, if required.

If your child has started at an Early Years setting such as a pre-school or day nursery or is in school, you could also discuss your concerns with your child’s class teacher or key person in the first instance. You may also ask to meet with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at the school, who has responsibility for ensuring that children’s needs are assessed and that suitable provision is arranged to enable children to progress and participate in all aspects of school life.

You can also contact the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service​ for Windsor and Maidenhead on 01628 683182 or email IAS@RBWM.gov.uk. This is a free, impartial and confidential service available to any parent and child, or young person, resident in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Special Education Needs and Disability: A guide for parents and carers produced by the Department for Education in August 2014.

The SEND Code of Practice is available at the following link: Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years

For further information. you can contact the Children and Young People’s Disability Service (CYPDS) on 01628 685878 or email cypds@achievingforchildren.org.uk

4Children and the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have produced a toolkit for SEN and disability in the early years. Each section of the toolkit provides a briefing on a particular aspect of the SEN and disability reforms as they apply to early years providers.