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Glossary of SEND Terms

Glossary of Commonly Used SEND Terms

SEND Category
(Area of Need)


Description of Need

Cognition and Learning Difficulties


Specific Learning Difficulties


Moderate Learning Difficulties


Severe Learning Difficulties; includes children who have difficulty developing basic skills.


Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulties

Behaviour & Emotional Needs


Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Communication and Interaction Needs (CI)


Speech, Language and Communication Needs; including expressing themselves or showing understanding of what others are saying.


Autistic Spectrum Disorder, difficulties with social communication, making friends or relating to adults.

Sensory and/or Physical Needs


Visual Impairment


Hearing Impairment


Multi-Sensory Impairment


Physical Disability



Complex Medical



Annual Review

A yearly review of SEND provision and progress.


A carer is a person named by a local authority to care for a child who has parental responsibility.

Categories of Need

Terms used by professionals to refer to different types of Special Educational Needs. These are often abbreviated, as follows:

Code of Practice (CoP)

A guide to LEAs and schools about the help which can be given to children with SEND. LEAs and schools must have regard to the CoP when dealing with a child with SEND.

Connexions Service

A service to help all young people aged 13 to 19 prepare for the transition to adult life.

Educational Psychologist (EP)

An officer of the Local Authority. He or she will play an important role in assessing your child’s educational needs and gives advice to schools.

Foundation Stage

This begins when children reach the age of 3 and continues until the end of the reception year.


This is when children with SEND are included in mainstream schools.

Pupil Profile

This is a plan for a child, examining what they can do now, what they need to do next and outcomes to be achieved.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

An assistant providing in-school support for pupils with SEND and/or disabilities. A TA will normally work with a particular pupil or pupils, providing close support to those teaching him or her.

Local Authority (LA)

A local government body, responsible for providing education, carrying out statutory assessments and maintaining statements.

Mainstream, or maintained school

An ordinary school, which is for all children, not just those with SEND. This will normally be a state school.

Named Officer

The person at the Local Authority who deals with your child’s case.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) (formerly Parent Partnership)

A service provided by the LA, which encourages partnerships between parents, LEAs, schools, voluntary organisations and other agencies.

Universal Offer

When a class or subject teacher identify that a pupil has SEND they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum.

Local Offer

When the class or subject teacher and the SENDCo are provided with advice or support from outside specialist, so that alternative interventions additional or different strategies to those provided for the pupil through the Universal Offer can be put in place. A Pupil Profile will be devised.

SEND Code of Practice (CoP)

A guide for early education settings, state school and LEAs on the help they can give to children with SEND. Schools and LEAs must take account of the Code when they deal with a child with SEND.

SEND Coordinator (SENDCo)

They are a qualified teacher who has the responsibility for managing and coordinating the SEND in the school.


An independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by LEAs on statutory assessments and statements

Special educational provision

The extra or differentiated help given to children with SEND.

Special school

A school that is for children with SEND.

Statement of SEND or an EHCP

A document that sets out a child’s needs and includes:

  • the outcomes to be achieved;

  • how those outcomes are going to be met – the educational provision required;

  • the monitoring arrangements;

  • the school or pre-school setting your child will attend;

  • any non-educational needs your child has and how those will be met.

Statutory assessment

A very detailed examination of a child’s Special Educational Needs, which may lead to a statement or EHC Plan.

Transition Plan

A plan drawn up detailing the steps needed to move from primary school to secondary school.