SEND acronyms
SEND acronyms

TALK the talk! SEND is a minefield of acronyms. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:


AAC Augmentative and Alternative Communication

ADVISORY TEACHER – a specialist teacher employed by the local education authority to give advice to schools

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

APA Alternative Provision Academy (formerly Pupil Referral Units PRU)

AR (annual review) – under the Children and Families Act 2014, local authorities must carry out a review of every

EHC plan at least once every 12 months

ARB Area Resource Base

ASC Autistic Spectrum Condition

ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder

AS Asperger’s syndrome

ASSESSMENT – this involves building a picture of your child’s abilities, difficulties, behaviour and his or her special educational needs and the support required to meet those needs

AWPU (Age Weighted Pupil Unit) – the amount of money that every maintained school receives for each pupil that is on the school roll, whether or not they have SEN. The value of the AWPU varies from one local authority to another and according to the age of the pupils


BASELINE ASSESSMENT – the assessment of a child’s aptitude and ability as s/he starts school

BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT TEACHER – a trained and experienced teacher who can advise on the needs of children with a range of emotional, behavioural and social needs. They offer support and advice to parents, children and schools

BENCHMARKING – providing descriptions of what is expected or what has been achieved

BEST VALUE – a more sophisticated concept than ‘value for money’, taking into account a range of factors, including quality and the wishes of clients

BESD (behavioural, emotional and social difficulties) – where a child’s emotions or behaviour are barriers to their learning. This may result in them being: withdrawn and/or isolated; disruptive and/or disturbing others; hyperactive and/or having difficulties with concentration; having immature social skills; presenting challenging behaviour. These difficulties may arise from medical disorders and/or difficult home situations

BOSS Behaviour Outreach Support Service

BSL British Sign Language

BSS Behaviour Support Service


CAF Common Assessment Framework / Form

CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

CARER – for the purpose of the SEN Code of Practice, a carer is a person named by a local authority to care for a child for whom the social services department has a parental responsibility

CCG Clinical Commissioning Groups – CCGs are groups of professionals that work together to commission health services, ensuring there is sufficient capacity contracted to deliver the necessary services to people

CCP Consultant Community Paediatrician

CD Conduct Disorder

CDC Child Development Centre – where medical assessments are made of children whose development is giving cause for concern.

CHC Continuing Health Care

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT 2014 – this law came into force on September 1, 2014. Part 3 of the Act sets out the new law on special educational needs and disability. The Act is supported by the SEND Regulations 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 Years

C&I Communication and Interaction

C&L Cognition and Learning

CiC Children in Care

CIN Child in Need

CIRCLE TIME – a technique for raising pupils’ self-esteem in school

CIRCULARS – these are issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to LAs and give guidance on how the Education Act should be interpreted. Although circulars are not law many include decisions made by the Secretary of State under delegated powers

CiCESS Children in Care Education Support Service

CLA Children Looked After (now Children in Care)

CLUSTERS – groups (usually of schools) who cooperate for training/discussion etc

CMHT Community Mental Health Team (adults)

CODE OF PRACTICE (CoP) – the SEN Code of Practice is a guide for Local Education Authorities, parents and schools about how help should be given to children with Special Educational Needs. Local Education Authorities and schools must have regard to the code

CP Cerebral Palsy or Child Protection

CPI Commissioning, Performance and Improvement

CSW Community Support Worker

CYP Children and Young People

CVI Cortical Visual Impairment


DAMP – Deficits in Attention, Motor Control and Perception

DBS Disclosure and Barring Service

DCTS Disabled Children and Therapy Service

DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) – Government department, responsible for education, formerly known as the Department for Education and Skills (DfES)

DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) – since 2002, schools and local education authorities must not treat disabled pupils less favourably because of their disability

DfES (Department for Education and Skills – Government department now called Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)

DfE – Department for Education

DIRECT PAYMENT – a payment made directly to a parent or young person to purchase specific services. Under the Children and Families Act 2014 a Direct Payment may be made as part of a Personal Budget so that the parent or young person can buy certain services that are specified in their EHC plan. Direct payments can only be used for provision provided on the school or college premises if the school or college agree

DISABILITY CODES OF PRACTICE – there are two Disability Codes of Practice. One is for schools and the other covers post-16 provision. These Codes explain the duties to avoid disability discrimination in education and cover schools, colleges and local education authorities

DRC (Disability Rights Commission) – this is an independent body, established by act of Parliament to eliminate the discrimination faced by disabled people and promote equality of opportunity

DISAGREEMENT RESOLUTION – local authorities must provide independent disagreement resolution to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities, schools and other settings about SEND duties and provision. You can find more information on disagreement resolution in the SEND Code of Practice 11.6 to 11.10

DISAPPLICATION – removal or lifting of a programme of study, attainment target, assessment or any other component of the National Curriculum, or any combination of these including entire subjects or the entire National Curriculum

DLA Disability Living Allowance – any award is based on the child’s care needs, not diagnosis

DLT Directorate Leadership Team

DS Down’s syndrome


EAL English as an Additional Language

EARLY EDUCATION SETTINGS – providers in receipt of Government funding to deliver early education including maintained mainstream and special schools, maintained nursery schools, independent schools, non-maintained special schools, local authority day-care providers such as pre-schools, playgroups and private day care nurseries, local authority portage schemes and accredited childminders working as part of an approved national child-minding association network

EYDCP (Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships) – every LA is required to establish an early years development partnership to work with them in reviewing the sufficiency of nursery education and preparing early years development plans

EARLY YEARS PRACTITIONERS – all the adults who work with children in early education settings, whatever their qualifications

EBD (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) – emotional and/or behavioural problems that interfere with the child’s education

EDUCATION ACT 1996 – part IV of the Education Act 1996 was the legal framework for SEN. Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 now replaces this legislation

EDP (Education Development Plan) – a requirement by the Government for fully costed plans for educational development

EH Early Help

EFA (Education Funding Agency) – the EFA is the Government agency that funds education for learners between the ages of 3 and 19, and those with learning difficulties and disabilities between the ages of 3 and 25. The EFA allocates funds to local authorities, which then provide the funding for maintained schools. The EFA directly funds academies and free schools

EHC needs assessment – local authorities must carry out an EHC needs assessment if a child or young person may need an EHC plan. The assessment is a detailed look at the special educational needs that the child or young person has and what help he/she may need in order to learn. It is sometimes called a statutory assessment

EHC Education, Health & Care

EHCA&P Education, Health and Care Assessment and Planning

EHCP (Education Health and Care plan) – an EHC plan describes the special educational needs that a child or young person has and the help that they will be given to meet them. It also includes the health and care provision that is needed. It is a legal document written by the local authority and is used for children and young people who have high support needs

EMASS (Ethnic Minority Achievement Support Service) – the Ethnic Minority Achievement Support Service provides quality support to raise the achievement of minority ethnic pupils. This service works in partnership with schools and communities to raise expectations and standards and promote inclusion for all pupils by offering expertise, advice, continuing professional development and resources. Its main aim is to raise attainment of under-performing minority ethnic pupils by advising schools, raising their awareness and providing effective teaching strategies for minority ethnic and EAL (English as an additional language) pupils.

EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) – arrangements that the local education authority makes to educate pupils other than in a school setting. EOTAS also includes children who are educated at home when parents arrange the education

EP Educational Psychologist – a qualified professional who has had training in psychology to understand more about the ways children learn, think and behave. The Educational Psychologist plays an important role in assessing a child’s special education needs and giving advice to schools. Local education authorities usually employ educational psychologists

EPS Educational Psychology Service – the Educational Psychology Service provides assessment, advice and support to help children and young people from the age of 0 to 19, who are experiencing difficulty with their learning, development, behaviour or social and emotional wellbeing

ES Early Support

ESCO Early Support Care Co-ordination

ESI Employment Status Indicator Tool

EWO (Education Welfare Officer) – EWOs work by inviting schools to discuss children whose irregular attendance is causing concern. They then make contact with parents either by telephone, letter or home visit. Education welfare officers will always work with parents and schools to try to bring about improvements in the level of attendance and also the child’s wellbeing at school

EWS (Education Welfare Service) – the Education Welfare Service supports schools and families to meet the LA’s statutory requirements in promoting high levels of attendance and reducing unauthorised absence. The service does this by establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with schools and with families

EY Early Years

EYFS Early Years Foundation Stage


FAS Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FACT First Assess Communication Tool

FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL (SEN and disability) – the First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is a legal body. The Tribunal hears appeals from parents of children with SEN, and young people with SEN, about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans

FIS Family Information Service

FOUNDATION STAGE – the foundation stage begins when children reach the age of three. Many children attend an early education setting soon after their third birthday. The foundation stage continues until the end of the reception year and is consistent with the national curriculum. It prepares children for learning in year 1, when programmes of study for Key Stage 1 are taught.

FE (Further Education) – full or part-time education for people who are over compulsory school age (16 years in England) which does not take place in a school. It can take place in a sixth form college, a further education college or a higher education institution. Further education courses are usually up to the standard of GCSE A level or National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3

FP&Q Finance Performance and Quality

F&PB Funding and Personal Budgets

FSM Free School Meals

FSW Family Support Worker


GRADUATED APPROACH – the SEND Code of Practice says that schools should follow a graduated approach when providing SEN Support. This is based on a cycle of ‘assess, plan, do, review’

GEP (Group Education Plan) – where pupils in the same group, class or subject lessons have common targets and therefore, common strategies, a group learning plan can be drawn up rather than IEPs for each child

GLD Global Learning Delay


HFA High-Functioning Autism

HI Hearing Impairment

HLTA Higher Level Teaching Assistant

HV Health Visitor


ICT Information and Communications Technology

IEP (Individual Education Plan) – details of the additional help your child will receive, the targets set and the arrangements for reviewing progress. It is a working document for all teaching staff recording key short-term targets and strategies for an individual pupil. IEPs should be discussed with parents and the child and they should be consulted as part of the review process. IEPs will usually be written for children who have support through Early Years Action, Early Years Action Plus, School Action, School Action Plus and Statements

INSET In-Service Education and Training

INCLUSION – educating children with special educational needs together with children without special educational needs in mainstream schools wherever possible and ensuring children with special educational needs engage in the activities of the school together with children who do not have special educational needs

INDEPENDENT SCHOOL – a school, which is neither funded by the LA, nor is it a voluntary aided school. Charitable trusts and organisations, particularly those catering for special educational needs, run some independent schools. They usually charge fees

IRP Independent Review Panel


JC Joint Commissioning

JSE Joint Strategic Executive


Key Stage 1 (KS1) – the level of the National Curriculum taught to children in Reception to Year 2 (age 4-7)

Key Stage 2 (KS2) – the level of the National Curriculum taught to children in years 3 to 6 (age 7-11).

Key Stage 3 (KS3) – the level of the National Curriculum taught to children in years 7 to 9 (age 11-14).

Key Stage 4 (KS4) – the level of the National Curriculum taught to children in years and 11 (age 14-16).

Keyworker – someone who provides children, young people and parents with a single point of contact to help make sure the support they receive is co-ordinated. A keyworker could be provided directly by a local authority or local health organisation, a school or college, or from a voluntary or private sector body.


LA Local Authority

LAC Looked After Children (now Children in Care)

LARM locality allocation and review meeting

LDD learning difficulties and disabilities

LEARNING DIFFICULTIES – a child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age or has a disability which affects his or her ability to learn in the same way or the same environment as other children

LEARNING MENTOR – a person working in school with groups and individual children to help them overcome barriers to learning. Mentors may also be trained volunteers working with individual children through an external organisation

LOCAL AUTHORITY/AUTHORITIES – local authorities are administrative offices that provide services within their local areas. There are 152 across England which are education authorities. Here in Torbay, it is Torbay Council.

LOCAL OFFER – the Local Offer, published by every local authority, tells you what support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, and their families. It includes information about education, health and care provision. It also give information about training, employment and independent living for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

LSA (Learning Support Assistant) – a person employed by the school to provide support in the classroom or undertake specific work with a child or group of children who have learning difficulties. They work under the direction of the class teacher

LSCB Local Safeguarding Children Board


MAINSTREAM SCHOOL – this is a school that provides education for all children, whether or not they have special educational needs or disabilities

MARAG multi-agency referral action group

MEDIATION – mediation is a type of disagreement resolution. Every local authority must provide independent medication to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities about EHC plans. Mediation must also be provided on the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.

MEDIATION ADVICE – the purpose of mediation advice is to give information about what mediation involves. Parents or young people who wish to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) must first seek mediation advice. The advice must be factual and unbiased. After mediation advice has been given the parent or young person can choose whether they wish to go to mediation. However, it is not necessary to seek mediation advice if the appeal is only about the name of the school, or college named on the plan, the type of provision specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named

MLD Moderate Learning Difficulties

MODIFICATION – amendment or alteration of a programme of study, attainment target, assessment, or any other component of the National Curriculum in order to give your child access to that area of the curriculum

MONITORING – the ongoing assessment of work, progress, expenditure or achievement

MSI Multiple Sensory Impairment

MULTI-DISCIPLINARY – involving professionals from a range of disciplines (usually Education, Children’s Social Care and Health)


NAMED OFFICER – a case officer working in the Inclusion Team who is the point of contact for parents of children undergoing statutory assessment or who have statements

NC (National Curriculum) – this sets out a clear, full and statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils, determining what should be taught and setting attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported

NON-MAINTAINED SPECIAL SCHOOL – a non-profit making school which charges fees. Most non-maintained special schools are run by charities or charitable trusts

NT Neurotypical


ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OfSTED Office for Standards in Education

OT Occupational Therapist – a person trained to provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for children with physical difficulties. They are able to give schools advice on programmes of support, and to advise on suitable equipment and the provision of other facilities.


PAEDIATRICIAN – a doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children

PARENT CARER FORUM – a Parent Carer Forum is a representative local group of parents and carers of disabled children who works with local authorities, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families

PBST (Primary Behaviour Support Team) – a specialist team which gives advice to school on behaviour management strategies and may work with individual children and young people

PD Physical Difficulty / Disability

PDA Pathological Demand Avoidance

PERSONAL BUDGET – a Personal Budget is money set aside to fund support as part of an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from Education, Health & Social Care. Parents of children with an EHC plan and young people with an EHC plan can choose whether or not they wish to have a Personal Budget

PEP Promoting Effective Parenting or Personal Education Plan

PfA Preparing for Adulthood

PHYSIOTHERAPIST – a person trained to provide assessment and treatment in movement and physical development such as balance, co-ordination, ability to sit, stand and walk. They are able to give advice to schools on programmes of support

PLP Personal Learning Plan

PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty

PMHW Public Mental Health Worker

PORTAGE – home-based, pre-school education for children with special educational needs. There is a national portage association, which provides a Code of Practice and accredited training. Portage home visitors work in partnership with parents, helping parents to help their child

PSA (Parent Support Advisor) – the role of the PSA is to enhance children’s achievement in school by working in partnership with families, parents and carers. The PSA will help pupils in a school context to enable them to have full access to educational opportunities and overcome barriers to learning and participation by working directly with parents

PSP (Pastoral Support Plan) – to be put in place to help modify a pupil’s behaviour. They should be put in place where a child is at serious risk of permanent exclusion

PSYCHIATRIST – a doctor who helps people who have difficulties with the way they feel and behave. Child psychiatrists specialise in helping children

PSHE personal, social and health education

PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) – a centre for pupils who are permanently excluded from school. Some PRUs are able to support schools with preventative work.

PR Parental Responsibility

PP pupil premium


RAD reactive attachment disorder

REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS – changes schools and other settings are required to make which could include changes to physical features (for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom), or providing extra support and aids (such as specialist teachers or equipment)

RSA Referral for statutory assessment (EHCP)


SAFEGUARDING – protecting children and young people from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children and young people’s health or development; ensuring that children and young people are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; undertaking that role so as to enable those children and young people to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully

S&L Speech and Language

SALT (Speech and Language Therapist or Therapy) – this is a Health Care provision. The role and aim of which is to enable adults and children with speech, language and communication difficulties (and associated difficulties with eating and swallowing) to reach their maximum communication potential and achieve independence in all aspects of life.

SC Social Care

SCHOOLS FORUM – every local authority has a Schools Forum. It made up of representatives from schools and academies, and some representation from other bodies, such as nursery and 14-19 education providers. The role of the Schools Forum includes looking at the local formula used to fund schools and SEN provision

SDQ Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

SEAL Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

SEN A&PT SEN Assessment and Provision Team

SEN Special Educational Needs

SENCO special educational needs coordinator – a SENCO is a qualified teacher in a school or maintained nursery school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision. Early years settings that are part of group provision arrangements are expected to identify an individual to perform the role of SENCO

SEND Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

SENDIASS Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (independent service)

SELF ESTEEM – self esteem is the way we judge ourselves as individuals and how we value or estimate what we can do. It is closely allied to self confidence. Children with low self esteem feel inside that they cannot do things.

SEND CODE OF PRACTICE – this is statutory guidance that supports Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. It tells local authorities, early years settings, schools, colleges, health & social care providers and others what they must and should do to identify, assess and provide for children and young people with SEN or disabilities

SENDIST (Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal) – an independent body established under the 1996 Education Act that hears appeals by parents against LA decisions on assessments and statements. Parents can lodge an appeal against a school if there is an issue around fixed term exclusions, or if the child’s parent/carer feel their child has been discriminated against because of their disability. The tribunal’s decision will be binding on both parties to the appeal.

SEN INFORMATION REPORT – all schools must publish, on their websites, information about their policy and arrangements for supporting children with SEN. This must be kept up to date

SEN SUPPORT – any help for children and young people with SEN that is additional to or different from the support generally made for other children of the same age. The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process

SIGNPOSTING – sometimes a service that provides information, advice and support may be asked for help that it is not able to give directly. When this happens the person seeking information, advice or support may signposted to other service providers. This means that they will be given information, including contact details, about other sources of help

SEMHD Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties

SFA Schools Funding Agency

SLCN Speech, Language and Communication Needs

SLD Severe Learning Difficulties

SLT School Leadership Team

SMO (School Medical Officer) – a doctor who makes sure your child’s health is not stopping him/her from learning. The Medical Officer may do regular check-ups on your child if s/he has a physical, sensory or medical problem

SMT Senior Management Team

SM Selective Mutism (formerly known as elective mutism)

S&PN Sensory and/or Physical Needs

SpLD Specific Learning Difficulty

SPDs Sensory Processing Difficulties

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL PROVISION – for children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LA, other than special schools, in the area. For children under two it is educational provision of any kind

SPECIAL SCHOOL – a school which is resourced and organised to provide specifically for the education of pupils with an EHC plan

STATUTORY ASSESSMENT – a formal procedure, which involves the collection of information from as many people as possible. Assessment works best when all involved, parents, school staff, health & social services, psychologists and other LA staff work in partnership to secure the best outcome for the child

STATUTORY GUIDANCE – guidance that local authorities and other local bodies have a legal duty to follow

START Statutory Assessment Resources Team

STAPS Specialist Teacher and Psychology Service

STT Specialist Teaching Team

SW Social Worker


TA Teaching Assistant

TAC Team Around the Child

TRANSITION PLAN – a plan devised following the Year 9 annual review and updated at subsequent annual reviews. The purpose of the plan is to draw together information from a range of individuals within and beyond the school in order to plan coherently for the young person’s transition to adult life

TAF Team Around the Family

TES (Travellers’ Education Service) – the purpose of this service is to promote access to education to traveller pupils and provide support to enable them to attain their full potential. The term traveller used within this provision incorporates housed, sited and mobile gypsy travellers and Irish travellers (holding ethnic minority status), fairground and circus families, barge families (living on waterways) and new travellers

TFF Together for Families

TRIBUNAL – an independent body to which parents can take grievances relating to statementing procedures


WTT Working Together Team (outreach)


VI Visual Impairment


YOS Youth Offending Service

YP Young People


  • These are the most common acronyms but do please be aware different organisations will sometimes use different ones