This team forms part of the local authority SEND Communication Service.
Support can also be sought from the NHS Speech & Language Service.
Difficulties with SLCN can arise as a PRIMARY need, specific to the speech and language
systems associated with making and using speech sounds, understanding, using sentences,
and social interaction. SLCN can also arise as a SECONDARY need, related to autism,
physical, hearing or cognitive difficulties affecting the development of speech, language and
communication skills. Reduced developmental opportunities may contribute to language
delay and social disadvantage is one risk factor.
A speech and language difficulty will be evident if a child or young person has a difficulty in
one or more of the following areas:
● Listening and attention
● Understanding of language
● Expressive language skills
● Speech and Phonological Awareness (processing, producing and manipulating
● Capacity to use language successfully to interact and learn.
Children who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) should not be
considered as having a special educational need purely on the basis of the additional
Guidance provided by the ASD Team, Tel 01670 624 802.
This team forms part of the local authority SEND ASD and Behaviour Support
Does the learner have autism or ‘social communication needs’? It is important to note
that only a suitably qualified person, usually a health professional, can confirm someone has
a formal diagnosis of autism or related conditions. A school cannot enter a child in the SEN
register or the census as ‘ASD’ without having sight of that formal diagnosis first.
Until that point we might respectfully refer to the learner having social communication needs.
The school would need to choose another SEND category for the register and census, whilst
noting that the nature of the learning difficulty arises from social communication needs.
This guidance was provided by Psychological Services, Tel 01670 624 813.
For specialist advice on Physical Difficulties please contact the NHS Physiotherapy Service,
For advice on specialist equipment please contact NHS Joint Equipment Loans Service
(JELS), 01670 730595
For advice on physical adaptations to your site / buildings:
● Academies, contact the Education Funding Agency
● Voluntary Aided Schools (Church of England / Catholic), contact the Diocese
● Local authority maintained schools, contact the Education Capital Team,
Northumberland County Council
IMPORTANT - If you have an immediate safeguarding concern please follow your own
school’s policy and inform the appropriate person without delay. If the concern arises
outside school hours you may also contact Social Care or the Police at any time.
Research evidence suggests that children with additional needs are more vulnerable to
abuse than all other children. It is important that within the school setting all staff have
relevant safeguarding training and are fully aware of the additional vulnerabilities of these
children. A key role of the SENDCo is working in partnership with the designated
safeguarding lead to ensure that all school policies and procedures aimed at keeping
children safe, including the child protection policy, reflect that additional vulnerabilities of
What we know about what puts disabled children at risk
Factors that increase risk and lessen protection for disabled children include:
● attitudes and assumptions – e.g. a reluctance to believe disabled children are
abused; minimising the impact of abuse; and attributing indicators of abuse to the
● barriers to the disabled child and their family accessing support services
● issues related to a child's specific impairment – e.g. dependency on a number of
carers for personal or intimate care; impaired capacity to resist/avoid abuse,
difficulties in communicating; and an inability to understand what is happening or to
● limited opportunities for disabled children to seek help from someone else
● a lack of professional skills, expertise and confidence in identifying child protection
concerns and the lack of an effective child protection response.
What we know about disabled children's experiences of abuse
Research suggests that:
● disabled children are at a greater risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and
neglect than non-disabled children