A statement of special needs is a formal document detailing a child’s learning difficulties and the help that will be provided.

If your child needs extra assistance at school – over and above the normal provision that teachers give – a statement of special needs will ensure that the necessary level of support required is provided. However, it is only necessary to get a statement if the school is unable to adequately provide for your child’s educational needs.

Very few children actually qualify for a statement of special needs. If you or your child’s educators have concerns regarding your child’s progress, it may be worth having some diagnostic testing completed first. This testing may prove sufficient in identifying your child’s needs and may better inform teachers on effective strategies to address these needs within the mainstream setting.

Should you or your child’s school feel that a statement of special needs is the best option; a statutory assessment can be sought from your local authority.

A statutory assessment is a comprehensive analysis of your child’s educational and non-educational needs. Either parents or the school can request that a statutory assessment. Schools cannot initiate a statutory assessment without first gaining your approval. If a school asks for one, they must inform you.

Requests are followed up within 6 weeks. During this time the local authority will consult with you and the school. At the end of this consultation process, a decision to carry out a statutory assessment will be made — you and the school will be notified of this decision within 12 weeks.

If an assessment is deemed necessary, the local authority may then seek the input of your child’s school, a doctor, an educational psychologist, social services (if applicable) and the parents.

If you need advice regarding educational assessment or special needs assessment, please contact us.