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

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 Kingston and Richmond 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
Special educational needs

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

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

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • has 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.