Who to talk to about your child and SEND

If you think your child may have special educational needs, a good first step is to talk to people with the right experience.  There are many different people that you can speak to, depending on your circumstances.

Not in nursery or pre-school

If your child is under the age of five and not in an early years setting (for example, a nursery, pre-school or childminder) speak to your Health Visitor or your GP.

In nursery or pre-school

If your child attends a nursery or pre-school then talk to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), their teacher or key worker.  If the nursery or pre-school does not have a designated SENCo, then speak to the manager.


By law, mainstream schools must have a SENCo who is responsible for all the children with special educational needs in the school. Most settings and schools put the name of the SENCo on their website.


Colleges don’t have to have a SENCo, but they must have a named person who makes sure any young person with special educational needs gets the support they need. You can usually find this information on the college website too.

Support and advice 

There are lots of parent/carer support groups run across Essex.  Look at our parent support groups category to find one, or follow the Essex Local Offer Facebook page.

The Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service provide a range of 0 to 19 and family support services throughout Essex that are free.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) provides free and impartial information, advice and support about education, health and social care for children, young people and their parents on matters relating to special educational needs and disability. Contact information can be found on the SENDIASS Essex Local Offer page.

Next step

For a useful next step, read the ‘Talking to practitioners about your child’s progress.’