A Statement of SEN - What it is & What it Should Contain
A Statement of special educational needs:
When a Local Education Authority (LEA) has carried out a statutory assessment of a child's special educational needs (SEN), it has to make a decision about whether or not to issue a Statement of special educational needs.
A Statement of special educational needs is a legal document. It should describe a child's needs and all of the special help he or she should receive. It should be written in clear, unambiguous language. Once the Statement has been signed by the LEA, it must provide all of the special educational provision contained in the Statement.
If the LEA decides that a Statement is necessary, it must first prepare a proposed Statement which is sent to parents/carers along with all the reports that were submitted during the assessment. These reports are called Appendices* and contain the advice sent in to the LEA by a variety of different people:
*The identification letters on the Appendices changed on 01.01.02. The old letters are shown in brackets in the table. e.g. Appendix A used to be Appendices A, B and C.
Appendix A (was A,B & C) Parental Representations and Parental Evidence

Appendix B (was App. D)
Educational Advice (from the school or pre-school group, any visiting or specialist teachers, etc.)
Appendix C (was App. E) Medical Advice (including therapies)
Appendix D (was App. F)
Psychological Advice (the Educational Psychologist's report)
Appendix E (was App. G) Advice from the Social Services Authority
Appendix F (was App. H) Any other advice, such as the views of the pupil, which is considered to be useful
parents/carers only have 15 days to respond to the proposed Statement so it is important to consider its contents carefully.
As well as the Appendices, the Statement itself is made up of six parts:
Part 1 - Introduction the child's name, address,date of birth, etc.
Part 2 - Special educational needs each and every one of the child's needs as identified by the assessment should be described here
Part 3 - Special educational provision the help considered to be appropriate to meet the child's needs as described in Part 2.
Part 4 - Placement the type and name of the school or other setting where the special educational provision is to be made
Part 5 - Non-educational needs details of any other non-educational help as agreed between the health services, Social Services and the LEA, such as transport to school.
Part 6 - Non-educational provision

describes how the help detailed in Part 5 will happen.

Does the Statement contain all the appropriate information about my child's needs?
One way of checking that the Statement contains all the appropriate information is to concentrate first on the Appendices. We suggest that you go through them using two different coloured pens to highlight every reference to your child's needs in one colour and the provision that is to be made in another colour. It might also be helpful to write down who said that your child had these needs and where you read it. You should then read through the Statement itself and check that all the needs are mentioned in Part 2 and that provision to meet those needs is detailed in Part 3.
What do I do if I agree or disagree with the Statement?
The LEA will have sent you a yellow form with your child's proposed Statement. This form gives you the opportunity to either agree or disagree with the Statement and/or the school or type of provision that is being suggested. If you want to disagree with the Statement you might wish to use the notes you made when checking it to list your areas of disagreement. It is important to return this form by the due date. If you need more time, you should telephone your Case Officer, whose name will be at the top of the LEA's accompanying letter, to ask for the deadline to be extended. You can also ask for a meeting with an LEA officer to discuss the Statement and any concerns you may have.
Why is no school named on the proposed Statement?
The law says that when a parent is sent a proposed Statement it will not name a school. This is because you have the right to make your preference of maintained (LEA, not independent) school known to the LEA. The majority of children who have a Statement attend their nearest mainstream school where the Statement may bring additional resources to help the school to meet the pupil's special educational needs.
Can I ask for a private school?
The law does not allow you to express a preference for an independent (private) school, but does allow you to "make representations". This means that you can make a case to the LEA about why an independent school might be the best place to meet your child's needs. However, the LEA does not have to agree to your request if it feels the needs can be met in one of its own schools.
What will happen after I return the SEN?
If you have agreed with the Statement and the suggested school, the LEA has 8 weeks to issue a final Statement which will be signed by the Director of Education. At this point the Statement is a legal document.
If you have disagreed with the Statement or the school suggested, the LEA will consider your comments and you may be invited to meet with the Special Needs Officer to discuss your concerns. If there is agreement and your concerns are resolved, the LEA will make amendments to the Statement if required and will then proceed as above to issue the final one.
If the LEA is unable to agree to some or all of your comments, then it will probably issue a final Statement as above which will incorporate any agreed amendments. If you are still in disagreement, you have the right of Appeal to the SEN Tribunal within 2 months of the final Statement being issued.