Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

A young person has a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. However, SEN is also relevant to those students who are considered ´gifted and talented´and may need extra support to stretch them.

Learning Difficulties

A young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or post-16 institutions

Many young people who have SEN may have a disability– that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.  This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer.

Special Educational Provision at Palma College

This is educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, provision made generally for students of the same age. This excludes provision the College is making for students who are underachieving to catch up (e.g. literacy or numeracy catch up sessions) but includes different provision without which a student is unable to learn (e.g. preparing modified resource materials for a student with dyslexia). Students who have SEN should have visited an Educational Psychologist to have a diagnosis confirmed.

Specific Learning Difficulties The term “specific learning difficulties” is used to cover a wide variety of difficulties which can often affect a person’s physical skills, the way they process information and their memory.


Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)

Pupils with moderate learning difficulties will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum, despite appropriate interventions. Their needs cannot be met by usual differentiation in the classroom. Young people with moderate learning difficulties have

? Much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills

? much greater difficulty than their peers in understanding concepts

? Speech and language delay

? Low levels of concentration

? Under-developed social skills.


Gifted and Talented

Gifted and talented students will be supported in their learning needs through a series of enrichment activities and challenges.  They may, in addition to their A Levels, completed the Extended Project which is an independent learning activity recognised by the exam board as a full A Level.

At Palma College, qualified staff offer additional support classes to individuals and also keep the teaching staff up to date with specific needs.  When an educational psychologist’s report recommends specific help during examinations the College can arrange this with the examination board in the UK.