What follows is a very brief description of BESD (Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties). More detail can be found within the 2008 BESD Guidance.
The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice (2001) sets out four areas of SEN:
The Code of Practice describes BESD as a learning difficulty where children and young people demonstrate features of emotional and behavioural difficulties such as:
Learning difficulties can arise for children and young people with BESD because their difficulties can affect their ability to cope with school routines and relationships.
The term "behavioural, emotional and social difficulties" covers a wide range of SEN. It includes children and young people with:
Children and young people whose behavioural difficulties may be less obvious, for example:
Whether a child or young person is considered to have BESD depends on a range of factors, including the:
of the difficulties and their cumulative effect on the child or young person’s behaviour and/or emotional wellbeing compared with what might generally be expected for a particular age.
Pupils with BESD cover the full range of ability. However, their difficulties are likely to be a barrier to learning and persist despite the implementation of an effective school behaviour policy and personal and social curriculum. Learning difficulties and behaviour difficulties are often in a two-way relationship with each other.
For some pupils, behaviour difficulties may frustrate access to the curriculum, for example if aggressive behaviour leads to exclusion from some classroom activities or from the school.
For others, a learning difficulty may lead to or worsen behavioural and emotional difficulties, for example, a child who has difficulty in grasping the basics of literacy or numeracy may withdraw from lessons or try to divert attention away from the learning difficulty by disruptive behaviour.
Difficulties in acquiring basic skills can also lead to low self-esteem and even depression.
The majority of children and young people with any form of BESD should be considered to have SEN if they require additional or different educational arrangements or interventions from those that are generally offered in a mainstream school. Although it is recognised that there are considerable challenges, children and young people with BESD should be supported in reaching expectations and participating fully in school. As a special educational need, BESD does not prevent children and young people achieving well.