Recording children with special educational needs

This page includes:
SEN and Medical Categories Guidance and
New Guidance - Move to Three Stages of Special Educational Provision

Planning and Policy Development

The collection and recording of standard information about pupils in schools with special educational needs, across the Education Authority  and schools is essential for the Department of Education  and the Education Authority to assist in special education policy development and planning; identification of current and future funding needs; monitoring trends and providing answers to queries about data (specifically about pupils with special educational needs.)

SEN and Medical Categories Guidance

The Department of Education has developed new guidance to assist schools with the recording of children with special education needs (SEN) and medical diagnoses.

A full review of SEN categories was undertaken in 2017/18 and consequently a new list of SEN categories and associated descriptions has been created.  The purpose of the guidance is to highlight the changes which are to be implemented from January 2019.  This guidance should be used to help schools determine the most appropriate SEN category or categories which can be recorded for pupils with SEN - this will allow the creation of the schools SEN Register.

Pupils with a medical diagnosis/es who do not have an associated special educational need should be recorded on a school's Medical Register only.  Any pupil with a medical diagnosis who requires special educational provision or has been assessed in other SEN categories should be recorded on the school's Medical Register and also on the SEN Register.

New Guidance - Move to Three Stages of Special Educational Provision

The Department of Education has published a guidance Circular to make schools aware that the five stage approach to identification, assessment and provision of Special Education Needs (SEN) will be replaced with three stages of special educational provision on the Schools Information Management System (SIMS).  This will take place as part of the SIMS Spring 2021 Upgrade which is due to be deployed to all schools in April 2021.  The guidance includes actions schools on SIMS should take and also contains advice for those settings not on SIMS.

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