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Section 23 Notification - information sharing about under 5s with SEND

Please see theinformation below which explains what a Section 23 Notification is for and why health professionals notify the Local Authority.

This information is also in a leaflet found in the downloads section.


Young children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) will often need some extra help and support at pre-school or nursery (known as Early Years settings), and when they start infant or primary school. 

To make sure your child receives the right support, health and education professionals will work together and share information. This includes doctors, health visitors, speech and language therapists, and other professionals within the NHS and Suffolk County Council.

Why is it important that Suffolk County Council knows about your child?

Gathering early information about children with SEND means the council can: 

  • work with Early Years settings to make sure the right support is available for your child now 
  • make longer term plans to ensure the right services, support and funding are in place in mainstream schools for when your child is ready to start 
  • ensure there are enough special school places for children with the most complex needs. 
How can sharing information help my child?

With this information, Suffolk County Council can: 

  • help you find a suitable Early Years setting for your child’s needs
  • make sure the Early Years setting receives funding and support for your child’s needs 
  • make sure you have the information you need to choose the right infant or primary school.

Privacy notice - Suffolk County Council

Further information

If you would like to ask some questions or find out more:

You can talk to the health profressional who has signposted you to this information.

Contact: Special Edcucational Needs and Disability
Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) in
Email: enquiries@suffolksendiass.co.uk
Visit: www.suffolksendiass.co.uk

Visit Suffolk SEND local Offer:

Contact: Suffolk Family information Service (FIS)
Email: childcare.planning@suffolk.gov.uk
visit: www.suffolk.gov.uk/family

Explanation - Definition

What is a Section 23 notification?

Health professionals have a duty to tell the local authority if they believe a
child under school age has, or is likely to have, special educational needs or
a disability (SEND).

  •  inform parents that they believe their child has (or is likely to have) SEND.
  • arrange for parents to discuss this opinion with appropriate healt professionals.
  • inform parents that they have a duty to notify their child to the local authority.
  • advise parents of organisations that may be able to support them in relation to their child’s SEND

This duty is Section 23 of the Children and Families Act 2014

What does special educational needs (SEND) mean?

According to the SEND code of Practice a child or young person has SEND
if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special
educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty
or disability if he or she:

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

For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational
or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally
for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools,
maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant
early years providers.

For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means
educational provision of any kind.

A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or
she is likely to fall within the definition in the paragraph above when they
reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision
was not made for them


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