Statement of Special Educational Needs

Information on a Statement of Special Educational Needs, an Annual Review and Transition Planning.

Statement of Special Educational Needs

A Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) sets out the child or young person's special educational needs (SEN), describes the provision and supports to help meet those needs, and the educational setting they should attend.

The Statement of SEN is reviewed every year to ensure the provision made continues to meet the child or young person’s needs.

The school will continue to have lead responsibility in providing support for the child or young person. This may be supplemented by input from EA SEN Services and/or Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust where relevant, as well as specific provisions which may be funded by the Education Authority (EA).

What is in a statement of Special Educational Needs?

A Statement of Special Educational Needs will include:

Part 1: Introduction

  • Name/date of birth/home address.
  • Information on parental responsibility for the child/young person.

Part 2: Special Educational Needs 

  • The Education Authority’s assessment of the child’s special educational needs, in terms of the child’s learning difficulties which call for special educational provision.

Part 3: Special Educational Provision Other Than Placement

  • The objectives which the special educational provision for the child should aim to meet.
  • Details of the special educational provision which the Education Authority considers appropriate to meet the child/young person’s need(s)
  • Arrangements  to be made for monitoring progress.

Part 4: Placement

  • The type of school the EA considers most appropriate (special or mainstream).
  • Name of the school which parent(s) prefer(s).


  • The provision other than at school which the EA considers appropriate

Part 5: Non-Educational Needs

  • Any non-educational needs which the EA considers appropriate, in order for the child/young person to benefit properly from the special educational provision detailed in Part 3.

Part 6: Non-Educational Provision

  • Any non-educational provision which the EA proposes to make available or which it is satisfied that will be made available by a Health and Social Services authority.
  • The objectives for the provision.
  • Arrangements for monitoring progress of the provision.

Appendix A: Parental Advice

Appendix B: Educational Advice

Appendix C: Medical Advice

Appendix D: Psychological Advice

Appendix E: Social Services Advice

Appendix F: Other Advice obtained by the EA

What is special educational provision?

Some examples of extra provisions or supports determined by the EA may include:

  • appropriate facilities,
  • specific equipment,
  • staffing arrangements to support your child,
  • additional adult assistance, and/or
  • specialist teaching support.

Finding a way forward

A child learns best when all partners are working together. Good communication and positive relationships between parents or carers, schools and the EA are vital. 

Involving children with SEND and their parents in decision making is a key objective of the SEN Code of Practice. Parents should also be involved in supporting and consolidation of learning/strategies, where appropriate.

If you don’t agree with the EA, it is important to keep the channels of communication open. 

For general advice you may wish to contact the SEN Helpdesk on 028 9598 5960, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

The Dispute Avoidance & Resolution Service (DARS) is also available in avoiding and resolving disagreements between parents and the Education Authority, regarding children with SEN.

The service provided by Global Mediation provides a forum for exploring differences, identifying points of agreement, and finding a way forward which is acceptable for all involved. You can telephone (028 9072 6060) or write to Global Mediation (55-59 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8FE).

For further information or if you have a comment or complaint to make see the EA’s Comments and Complaints Procedure.

Annual Review of a Statement of SEN

Legislation requires that every child who is the subject of a statement of special educational needs must have a review of that statement at least once every 12 months. This is to make sure that the child’s needs are still being met and to consider if the recommendations and placement as detailed in the statement are still relevant and helping to meet their current special educational needs.

Parents or carers, children with special educational needs, teachers, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and any other relevant professionals will be invited to give their views for the Annual Review. The school will organise this and give prior notice so that all information can be gathered. An Annual Review meeting usually takes place in the school or online with all parties concerned. 

Where appropriate, the young person with special educational needs may be invited to attend part of the meeting to make their contribution. Views of every child with a statement of special educational needs and their parents or carers are always sought.

Returning Your Annual Review Documentation

Parents/carers will be invited to attend an Annual Review meeting with the child/young person’s school or educational setting. In preparation for this meeting, pupil and parent contributions are completed prior to the meeting. There are two options for returning annual reviews. 

Paper Based

The current process involves schools/educational settings collating paper documents from parents/carers and scanning all the information into a document to email the returns to the EA. Parent and carers will receive a copy of the documentation by post from the EA. 

Submitting a Paper Annual Review 

  1. If the child/young person’s school/educational setting has not registered on EA Connect portal, parents/carers will be contacted by the school through a letter/email/phone to arrange the Annual Review meeting. 
  2. Parents/carers will confirm attendance and complete the paper copies of parent and pupil contribution forms to bring along to the annual review meeting. 
  3. After the Annual Review meeting, the school/educational setting will collate and scan all the information into a document and email it to the EA.  
  4. Parents/carers will receive a copy of the documentation by post from the EA. 


Support Resources 

Your child’s school will provide you with any necessary paperwork that you require.  

Digital Returns

This year the EA has launched a digital returns platform for SEN Annual Reviews through the EA Connect portal. In preparation for the Annual Review meeting, parents will now be able to complete their parental and pupil contribution forms online using the EA Connect portal. 

Submitting an Annual Review through EA Connect 

  1. If the child/young person’s school opts into the digital returns process, parents/carers will receive an email invitation to attend an Annual Review meeting with a link to EA Connect. 
  2. Parents/carers will register on the EA Connect parent portal with the email address their school/educational setting has recorded as contact details. 
  3. Parents/carers can view and edit all their child/young person’s details in relation to their Annual Review and can complete the online parent and pupil contribution forms. 
  4. After the Annual Review meeting, parents/carers can access all Annual Review documents on the EA Connect portal and will be notified of any action required. 

Support Resources 

A reference user guide for help and support on submitting your annual return through EA connect is available below.

Transitions Service 14+

The Transitions Service supports the schools and educational settings of young people with a statement of special educational needs who are 14 years of age and older.

Through this service we provide advice and information on possible pathways into training, supported employment, Further Education and employment.

Each Transition Coordinator works in partnership with schools and voluntary agencies for the effective inclusion and assistance of young people with a statement of special educational needs as they move into adult life.

Transition planning meetings take place as part of the Annual Review process with young people aged 14 and older at the centre of the decision-making process. When each young person with a statement of special educational needs leaves school or EA provision, the final Transition Plan is shared with outside agencies as appropriate, to ensure they are supported appropriately when they move into their chosen pathway for adulthood.

Parents or carers can contact their child’s Transitions Coordinator for advice, guidance or clarification at any stage in the process.

Tel: 028 9041 8080

Email: [email protected] 

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