There are many SEN terms that are abbreviated which can lead to confusion (even for us!). Below is a glossary of the most used SEN terms.

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder

ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder

CAMHS Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service

COP Code of Practice

CP Child Protection

EAL English as an Additional Language

EHA Early Help Assessment

EP Educational Psychologist

FSM Free School Meals

HI Hearing Impairment

IEP Individual Education Plan

KS Key Stage

LAC Looked After Child

LEA Local Education Authority

MLD Moderate Learning Difficulty

NC National Curriculum

OT Occupational Therapist

PP Pupil Premium

SaLT Speech & Language Therapy

SEN Special Educational Needs

SEND Special Educational Needs & Disability

SENCO Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

SEMH Social Emotional and Mental Health

SpLD Specific Learning Difficulty

VI Visual Impairment


A glossary of terms is available below –

Annual review A review of a pupil’s EHC plan carried out by the LA at least every 12 months
Areas of need  Four broad categories used to describe a pupil’s SEN. They are: communication and interaction, cognition and learning, SEMH (see below), sensory and/or physical needs
ASD Autistic spectrum disorder
CCG Clinical commissioning group. A group of NHS professionals which is responsible for planning and arranging the delivery of the healthcare provision for people in its area
Disagreement resolution A service for resolving disagreements about provision between parents or young people and other bodies, commissioned by the LA. Available to all children and young people with SEN, not just those with EHC plans
EHC needs assessment Initial assessment, carried out by the LA, for deciding whether a child or young person needs an EHC plan. Can be requested by parents, young people or schools
EHC plan Education health and care plan. A statutory document drawn up by the LA, setting out the education, health and social care support to be provided to a child or young person with SEN or a disability. Replacing statements and learning difficulty assessments by April 2018
Graduated approach A four-part cycle for assessing, planning, delivering and reviewing provision for pupils with SEN
IEP Individual education plan. See ‘school-based plans’
LA Local authority
LDA Learning difficulty assessment. A statutory document drawn up by the LA describing the provision for a young person with SEN in post-16 education, training or higher education. Being replaced by EHC plans by April 2018
Local offer Sets out information about provision that the LA expects to be available in its area for children and young people with SEND. Published by the LA
Mediation A form of disagreement resolution for parents and young people considering appealing decisions about EHC needs assessments and plans at the tribunal
MLD Moderate learning difficulties
One-page profile See school-based plans
Outcome Describes the difference that will be made to an individual as a result of special educational and other provision. Must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART)
Personal budget An amount of money requested by parents or young people for securing provision set out in the EHC plan. The budget, prepared by the LA, can be held directly by the parent or young person, or managed on their behalf by the LA, school or other organisation
PMLD Profound and multiple learning difficulties
Pupil passport See school-based plans
Pupil profile See school-based plans
SALT Speech and language therapy, sometimes speech and language therapist
School offer Some schools refer to their SEN information report as a ‘school offer’.
School-based plan A non-statutory document setting out school-based support and interventions for a pupil with SEN. Examples of school-based plans include IEPs, SEN support plans, pupil passports, and one-page profiles
SEMH Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
SEN Special educational needs. A pupil has SEN if he or she needs special educational provision due to a learning difficulty or disability (see special educational provision)
SEN information report A document published on the school website, setting out the school’s provision for pupils with SEN
SEN policy Sets out the vision, values and aims of the school’s SEND arrangements. Does not have to be a standalone document
SEN support An overall term that refers to pupils needing special educational provision who do not have EHC plans. Replaces the previous categories of School Action (SA) and School Action Plus (SA+)
SEN support plan See school-based plans
SENCO Special educational needs co-ordinator. The person in a school responsible for co-ordinating provision for pupils with SEN
SEND Special educational needs and disability
SEND Code of Practice Statutory guidance setting out the duties and responsibilities of organisations, including schools, in relation to children and young people with SEND
SEND resource base Specialist provision within a mainstream school, also known as an SEN unit or specialist resource base
Sensory room A space which uses special lighting, music, and objects to creating a calm environment or develop certain senses. Often used as a therapy for pupils with limited communication
SLCN Speech and language communication needs
SLD Severe learning difficulties. Can also refer to speech and language difficulties
Special educational provision Provision to help pupils with SEN of disabilities access the curriculum that is different from or additional to the provision normally available to pupils of the same age
Special school A school that is specifically organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN
SpLD Specific learning difficulties. SpLD affect one or more particular aspects of learning. Examples include dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia
Statement A statutory document drawn up by the LA describing the provision for a child or young person with SEN who is still at school. Being replaced by EHC plans by April 2018
Top-up funding Additional funding available from the LA for pupils with high needs, i.e. those whose educational provision costs more than £10,000 per year
Transition planning Preparation for moves between phases of education or for adult life
Tribunal An independent body that determines appeals by parents or young people against LA decisions on EHC needs assessments and EHC plans, as well as claims of disability discrimination