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New to SEND?

You’re probably here because you’ve been told your child has, or might have, a special educational need or disability (SEND).

It can feel overwhelming, but help and support is available.  The same can be said about the SEND Local Offer website - so much information is available that it can feel overwhelming.  On this page you will find links to some key things you will find useful to know.

We have also developed the information in a leaflet format:

Support for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) (pdf)

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please email or you can phone the Local Offer Content Manager on 020 8547 4722.


Special words or terms used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.

We will try and avoid jargon where we can or explain terms on these pages where they appear. 

Also, every page of the Local Offer you will see a button with the words "Jargon Buster" where we have explained some terms you might find on this website.

Accessibility tool

You may need need more help using this website because you have English as an additional language or accessibility needs. To help you we have added an accessibility toolbar at the top of the website.

If you think your child has special educational needs, you can speak to the professionals already working with your child, such as your child’s teacher or GP.

There are local SEND support groups listed on this website that provide information,  training and events to help parents of children and young people with SEND.  Most of them are listed in the Information for Carers Section.

All local authorities must, by law, provide an information, advice and support service for SEND. This is an impartial, confidential and free service for parents, children and young people, which provides advice about all aspects of SEND support. In Kingston and Richmond, this service is called SENDIASS.

There are other organisations that also offer free and independent information and advice. It is up to you to choose who you would like to ask for help.

A Parent Carer Forum (PCF) is the name for a group of representatives of local parents and carers of children and young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

PCF's work alongside the local authority (the Council), education, health and other service providers to ensure the services they plan, commission, deliver and monitor meet the needs of children and families.

There is a Kingston SEND Parent Carer Forum

and a

Richmond SEND Parent Carer Forum

Parents and carers have a stand-alone right to assessments and services under the Children and Families Act 2014.  This is called a Parent Carer Needs Assessment (PCNA). Very simply, a PCNA is about parents and carer's needs - assessing what parents and carers need to enable them to carry on caring. It is your chance to consider your role as a carer and what help you may need to support you, to maintain your own health, as well as balancing your caring role with other aspects of your life, such as work and family. 

Read more and apply for an assessment if you feel you need one

A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps to look after someone at home who needs extra support or care. Siblings with a brother or sister with a special educational need or a disability might be a young carer, or feel like they are missing out on things that their friends are doing because they have to help to look after someone.

There are two organisations that support young carers in Kingston and Richmond and others that offer support and offer activities for siblings of children and young people with SEND

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16
  • has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability

Iinformation about DLA and other benefits on the Contact website



Some children are eligible for free childcare and early education from the term after their second birthday.  This includes children who have an Education Health and Care plan or who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance(DLA).

All children are eligible from the term after their 3rd birthday. 

Early Education Funding and 30 hours Childcare Offer

Brokerage means providing help for someone who may need support using services. The Childcare Brokerage Service acts as a middle person, helping, advising, searching and maybe negotiating on your behalf to help you find the childcare you need. This could be when you are looking for childcare for your child with special educational needs or a disability (SEND),  long term childcare or if you need short term, emergency or ad hoc childcare. Please note that the Childcare Brokerage service does not offer free childcare or provide funding towards childcare.

Contact the Childcare Brokerage Service:

Phone: 020 8547 6581


Most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met in their mainstream school, college or early years setting 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 and settings must:

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.

Schools think about the progress they'd expect for your child’s age to decide when the child isn’t making enough progress. This helps to decide if your child has a special educational need. Schools will use the Threshold Guidance to inform this thinking. If it is agreed that your child is experiencing special educational needs then the school will make a plan with you to try and support your child to make better progress.

The guidance is for use by schools, Achieving for Children, health professionals, social care teams and families. It is a guide to the difficulties and challenges that would lead to a pupil being identified as having special educational needs. The aim is to ensure transparency and consistency between schools when identifying needs. Also, to provide clear expectations about the support provided under SEN Support and an Education, Health and Care Plan. Specific interventions or assessments are examples rather than endorsements or requirements. Needs and strategies in the guidance are not intended as checklists, but guidance used in a flexible way according to the needs of the pupil.‚Äč

Read the SEND Threshold Guidance appropriate for the age of your child

Sometimes a child or young person needs a more intensive level of specialist help that would not be met from the resources available. This is the time to consider an EHC needs assessment. Some children may need an EHCP assessment very early on. The local authority should communicate with the appropriate professionals and start the process without delay. Anyone can contact the SEND Team to ask for advice on the best way to request an EHC needs assessment. This will most often be through a multi-agency meeting with those involved, at the educational setting (e.g. school). Following this meeting, either the educational setting or the parents may submit a request. If the young person is over 16, they can ask for an assessment themselves. An EHCP brings the child or young person’s Education, Health and Social Care needs into a single, legal document. The child or young person must have special educational needs to be eligible for a plan.

How to apply for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

Remember, you are entitled to free, independent advice on all SEND matters including the Assessment, Education, Health and Care Planning processes

There are various schemes that can support you with travel, such as blue badge parking permits, Dial-a-Ride, Freedom Pass, and taxicard schemes.

Transport assistance schemes

Your child might be entitled to travel assistance to get them from home to school. This applies to children aged 5 to 16 years.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Home to School Transport in Kingston

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Home to School Transport Policy in Richmond

Achieving for Children (AfC) offers an Independent Travel Training (ITT) programme for young people from Kingston and Richmond. The programme will be offered to young people who already meet the eligibility criteria for SEND Transport assistance.

Short breaks provide disabled children and young people with fun, enjoyment and a chance to be with friends while their parents and carers get a break from caring. They come in many different forms, ranging from an overnight stay in a residential centre or a carer’s home to attending a youth club, leisure centre or getting involved in a sports activity.

All children and young people who meet the following eligibility criteria can apply for short breaks under the Aiming High scheme:

  • child or young person who has a diagnosed disability
  • The child or young person is aged between 0 to 18th birthday
  • The child or young person lives in the Royal Borough of Kingston or the London Borough of Richmond

Some children with more complex needs can access extra specialist sessions as well as the all the other short breaks on offer. 

Short Breaks are usually free to families. You can also apply for money from the Activity Fund (currently up £140 per financial year) towards activities of your child's choice or to buy items such as toys, sensory equipment, exercise or electronic devices. 

Short Breaks in Kingston and Richmond

All local authorities must have a record or register of children with Special Educational Needs and / or Disabilities (SEND) in their area. 

The Register helps us and local health services understand:

  • how many children and young people with special educational needs live in Kingston and Richmond 
  • the types of needs they have

The register is an opportunity for us to hear from children, young people, parents and carers. We use this information to plan and develop better services.

Everyone on the register will benefit from:

  • Information about support, services, activities and events
  • Information aimed at young people with disabilities
  • Opportunities to have your say about the services that are important to you
  • The knowledge that your anonymous statistical data is helping us to plan and improve services

Some families of children and young people on the register, or the young person themselves if over the age of 13 years, might wish to request a Disability Awareness Card. This is an officially produced card that will show the name and year of birth of the child or young person. It will confirm that the child or young person is registered as having a disability on the local Special Educational Needs and Disability Register.

Find out more and how to register