SEND Provider Types

Provision for children, young people and adults with special educational needs and/or disability takes many forms. As the SEND reforms shape and change the landscape of education, health and social care, so there is a rise in uncertainty over what constitutes provision during this time of transition.

More importantly, parents, carers and schools want to know what support and provision is available to address the needs of a child with a Single Plan or to meet the more complex demands of an Education, Health & Care Plan (currently a Statement of SEN).

The Local Offer sets out to develop a Road Map of SEND Provision (England), raising awareness of the breadth and diversity of support that may be available in any given locality. Whilst some special needs may be transitory, single-issue SEN that may be addressed and remedied through targeted, specialist intervention, others will be more complex, and require the intervention of many different service professionals over a greater period of time.

The following categorisation of SEND Providers has been used in this site. 

Provider Types

SEND Providers may come from the public, private or third sector. Many offer a range of services, support packages or products.

Specialist Practitioners & Providers are more likely to offer hands-on, direct support, interventions, therapeutic approaches or respite care, but may also offer consultancy services.  Speech & Language therapy, Visual & Hearing Impairment Services and Autistic Spectrum Disorder services may function as teams of practitioners and consultants, delivering a range of flexible, responsive services.

Consultants may offer a range of support, workforce development, workshops and practical support sessions to their client base. Consultants may also offer direct support, assessment and intervention programmes, and so function also as Practitioners. Roles and the division of labour within teams will depend on professional expertise, experience and qualifications.

Specialist education settings and outreach services vary in the provision they offer. Some may have a range of schools, alternative provision, residential education placements and other services on offer, some of which may be accessible and available within the locality. There may be a greater focus on addressing complex needs, respite and short break services, residential assessment placements,  transition to adulthood and supported living and employment opportunities. 

The Community & Voluntary Sector play a vital role in ensuring CYP (children & young people) have access to a broad and rich social and sporting life, which may fall outside of the school day. Before and after school, evening and weekend activities are often provided by local community and voluntary organisations.

Information, Guidance & Advocacy services typically function to signpost people to the right service or support provision. Many will over-lap with the work of the community and voluntary sector, or run as a CVS organization.

It is good to be aware of the full breadth and diversity of SEND support and provision in your area.

As more services are added to the SEND search database, so the Road Map of SEND Provision (England) will begin to reflect the diversity and breadth of provision each region of England has to offer. 

Look in the What’s New part of the Provider Portal to check for new service additions and news and events. .