In this context, children with special educational needs are defined as follows, according to the criteria laid down in The Children and Families Act 2014. A child or young person has special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him/her.
A child has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
(ii) has a disability which either prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or post 16 institutions.
(iii) is under the age of five and without special provision would fall into either of the above categories when over five.'
Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘… a physical or mental impairment which has a long term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities’.
This definition includes children and young people with long term medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but where a child requires special educational provision over and above the adjustments, aids and services required by the Equality Act 2010, they will additionally be covered by the SEND definition. In addition, we are required to also have regard to statutory guidance regarding supporting pupils with medical conditions (DfE 2014).