Extra support for special educational needs

If your child has epilepsy and additional learning needs, they may get all the support they need from their school.

But if your child needs more support than the school can offer, they may be entitled to extra help from their local authority.

Woman and child looking at a book. There is a wheelchair in the background.

Depending on where you live, different words might be used in your school. These all describe when a child needs extra support with their learning, behaviour or healthcare needs:

England – Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Scotland – Additional support needs/Additional support for learning (ASL)

Wales – Additional Learning Needs (ALN)

Below we explain some of the key things to know about in each part of the UK.

The process of applying for extra support can be complex, so we’ve given some links for further advice and support in each country.

Epilepsy Action also has more information about general school support, learning and behaviour and going to college or university.

Where do you live?

  • England

    SEND Support

    Your child may get support at their school or college. Your child may need an education, health and care (EHC) plan if they need more support than their school can provide.

    Education, health and care plan (EHC plan or EHCP)

    A legal document written by the local authority if your child needs more help than a school would normally offer them. The EHC plan sets out your child’s needs, and what support the local authority will put in place for them.

    EHC plans replaced statements of special educational needs in England in 2014, so sometimes you might hear them referred to as a statement.

    Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment

    An assessment carried out by the local authority to decide if your child needs an EHC plan. A request for an assessment can be made by you, your child’s school or your child themselves if they are over 16.

    Advice and support

  • Northern Ireland

    SEN support

    Statement of special educational needs

    A document written by the Education Authority setting out your child’s special educational needs and the support they will give.

    School Action

    Schools, nurseries and playgroups can provide help for children with special educational needs. Teachers will plan their education taking account of the guidance given in the code of practice.

    Statutory assessment

    An assessment of your child’s needs carried out by the Education Authority. The local authority uses the assessment to decide if your child needs a statement of special educational needs. You or your child’s school can ask for a statutory assessment.

    Advice and support

  • Scotland

    SEN support

    Additional support needs/Additional support for learning (ASL)

    In Scotland, special educational needs are called additional support needs. The laws and guidance in this country use the term: additional support for learning (ASL).

    Learning support plans

    These are formal documents used by schools for children who have significant support needs. They have different names in different local authorities, for example additional support plans (ASPs), individual support plans (ISPs) and individualised education programmes (IEPs).

    Co-ordinated support plan

    This is a plan for children with complex support needs involving 2 or more agencies. A CSP is a legal document, meaning if your child has one, the local authority must provide the support set out in the CSP.


    Advice and support

    • Enquire
      The Scottish advice service for additional support for learning.
    • The Scottish Government website
      Has information on additional support for learning, including contact details of advice organisation.
  • Wales

    SEN support

    The Welsh Government passed a law changing the approach to supporting children who have difficulties with learning in Wales. It introduced a new Additional Learning Needs (ALN) system. This is replacing the previous Special Educational Needs (SEN) system.

    Individual Development Plan

    Individual Development Plans (IDP) are replacing statements of educational needs. All children with Additional Learning Needs will have an Individual Development Plan, which outlines the support your child needs. Schools, colleges and local authorities should work in partnership with parents, carers, children and young people to prepare an IDP for children and young people with ALN.


    Advice and support

A family sitting on a sofa laughing

Your child and epilepsy

The aim of the course is to provide parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to care for and support children with epilepsy.

The course includes information like learning and behaviour in part six.

Take the course
This information has been produced under the terms of the PIF TICK. The PIF TICK is the UK-wide Quality Mark for Health Information. Please contact website@epilepsy.org.uk if you would like a reference list for this information.
Published: September 2020
Last modified: April 2024
To be reviewed: March 2027
Tracking: L017.04 (Previously F143)
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