This document describes the system currently used in England to identify and evaluate students with special educational needs. (Although similar perspectives are implemented in the rest of the United Kingdom the legal and regulatory instruments are different and there are variations in language and some practical details). The key reference documents are the Code of Practice (DfES, 2001a) or Good Practice Guide enacted by the Department for Education and Skills in 2001 and the SEN* Toolkit (DfES, 2001b), or the tool kit for special educational needs related to the above mentioned guide.
This article begins by defining three related concepts; special educational needs, learning difficulties and the provision of special needs education. It then establishes the fundamental principles that constitute the basis for identifying and evaluating, and lists their key success factors. The main section of this article describes the current mechanism used to identify and evaluate students with special educational needs in order to provide the support they require. The last section refers to financing issues and the procedures used to assign resources to schools in order to facilitate the provision of special needs education.