SEND jargon buster

Our glossary of commonly used SEND acronyms and what they stand for.

Glossary of terms

Expand the item to find definitions and explanations.


  • Accident and Emergency

  • Assistive and Augmentive Communication

    Used to describe the different methods that can be used to help people with disabilities communicate with others.

  • Attention Deficit Disorder

    A diagnosis given by psychiatrists and paediatricians used to describe serious and persistent inattentiveness and/or over-activity and impulsiveness.

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Someone who can help ensure that a person is listened to, and that their rights, concerns and needs are acted upon.

  • Additional Educational Needs

  • Aiming High for Disabled Children

  • Used within social services. Refers to the case of a child or young person that has been allocated to a named social worker or other key worker. This worker remains accountable for the case until it is closed or transferred.

  • Used within social services to describe the social or key worker that an allocated case (see above) is assigned to.

  • Accelerated Learning Programme

  • Additional Literacy Support Programme

  • The review of a statement of special educational needs that takes place yearly. Forms are on the Local Offer website. [LINK]

  • Alternative Provision College

  • Assessing Pupil Progress grid

  • A qualified social worker who has additional training and is approved by the local authority to carry out statutory duties under the Mental Health Act (1983). Duties include assessing whether a person needs to be detained in hospital compulsorily (sectioned).

  • Asperger Syndrome

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders

    Statutory measures to protect the public from behaviour that causes (or is likely to cause) harassment, alarm or distress. They were introduced by the section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and came into force from 1 April 1999.

  • Autism Spectrum Condition

    previously referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder.


  • Social services use:

    Since the Children Act 1989, social services use 'at risk' for a child needing local authority protection due to being 'at risk of significant harm'. 

    Wider professional use:

    More recently, officials may use 'at risk' to describe and offer guidance, for example:

    • at risk of offending
    • at risk of social exclusion

    General use:

    It is also an everyday term suggesting a child is at risk of almost anything - exclusion from school, health problems, alcohol dependency and so on.

    Overall, take care to clarify what a child is 'at risk' from and take actions that are appropriate.


  • Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties

    BESD is a term that covers a wide range of individuals with different abilities and severities.

  • British Sign Language

  • Behaviour Support Team


  • Carers Assessment

  • Common Assessment Framework

    A form to co-ordinate all the agencies working with a family experiencing problems.

  • Child and Family Court Advisory Service (CAFCASS)

    A non-departmental public body for England and Wales. Their function is to assist courts regarding family legal proceedings. This is to ensure the court makes decisions that are in the best interests of children. Their role is to:

    • make provision for the representation of children
    • provide information and support for children and their family.

    Courts ask for CAFCASS to help in cases where:

    • parents are separating or divorcing and have not agreed on arrangements for children
    • parents may have their children removed from their care for the children's safety
    • adoption of children may occur.
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

  • Contact Assessment Referral Team

  • Children's Disability Family Support Service

  • Children's Disabilities Information Officer

  • Children's Disability Register

  • Child Disability Service

    Provides a social work service to children and young people with severe or complex disabilities and their families.

  • Children’s Disability Team

  • Cause for Concern

  • Cause for Praise

  • Continuing Health Care Assessment

  • Child in Need

  • The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015

    Statutory guidance on the Children and Families Act 2014.

  • A document set out in the form of a timetable, showing the support and provision for an individual pupil above and beyond that usually provided for other pupils in the class.

    It should detail exactly what programmes, strategies and support is available, related to ILP targets and/ or EHCP outcomes (which can be colour coded or numbered for reference), for how long and whether 1:1 or, if in a small group, the ratio of adult to pupil numbers in the group.

    The total number of hours should be added for each day and the cost involved with a weekly total at the end.

  • Child Protection

  • Continuing Professional Development

  • Child Protection Plan

    Plan put in place by the Local Authority when a child is deemed to be at significant risk of harm (See 'at risk' above).

  • Children and Young People's Services


  • Development Co-ordination Difficulties

  • Disability Discrimination Act

  • A delay in reaching normal development milestones such as talking and walking.

  • Department for Education

    Central government department responsible for education.

  • An ongoing physical or mental impairment. That substantially limits one or more life activity and impairs how you interact with the world.

  • Disability Living Allowance

  • Direct Payment

  • Concentration, organisational skills, comprehension and handwriting are amongst a range of other areas that could be affected.

  • A difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills.

  • A disability where motor skills are difficult to learn and retain. Coordination and balance could be affected, amongst other areas.


  • English as an Additional Language

  • English as an additional language Intensive (Introductory) Programme

  • Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

    • Every Child a Reader
    • Every Child a Talker
    • Every Child a Writer
    • Every Child Counts

    Intervention programmes to support children in the relevant skill.

  • Early Help

  • Early Help Plan

  • Education Health Care Plan

    Replaced SEN statements from September 2014.

  • Educational Health and Care Needs Assessment

  • Early Literacy Support

  • Education Management System

  • End of Life Care

  • Education other than at School

  • Educational Psychologist

    A person, with a degree in psychology, training and experience in teaching and a further degree in educational psychology.

  • Educational Psychologists Service

    West Sussex Educational Psychology Service (EPS) is a specialist team working across the county. Through the application of psychology, we aim to promote the educational, social and emotional development of all children and young people in the community.

    Find out more about the West Sussex Educational Psychology Service on the Local Offer

  • Early Support

  • Education Welfare Officer

    A local authority officer who helps parents and local authorities to meet their statutory obligations regarding school attendance.

    • Early Years Action
    • Early Years Action Plus
  • Early Years and Childcare

  • Early Years Foundation Stage


  • Family Common Assessment Framework

  • Fisher Family Trust literacy programme

  • Family Information Service

    • Foundation Stage
    • Foundation Stage 1
    • Foundation Stage 2
  • Free School Meals

  • Family Support Worker

  • Families Together Carer

  • Full Time Equivalent


  • Health and Wellbeing Board

  • Health Action Plan

  • Higher Education

  • Used within the health service to describe the provision of information on healthier lifestyles and how to make the best use of health services.

    The intention is to enable people to make rational health choices and ensure that people are aware of those factors that determine health in the community.

  • Hearing Impaired

  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant

    Staff who support greater complexity children and have more autonomy than other classroom support roles. This may involve working with individual pupils, larger groups or whole classes.


  • Information, Advice and Support Service

    Formerly known as the Parent Partnership Service (PPS).

  • Individual budget

  • Individual Behaviour Plan

  • Individual Education Plan or Individual Learning Plan

    A working document recording short term targets and strategies for an individual pupil.

  • Used to describe the process of ensuring equality of learning opportunities for all children and young people, whatever their disabilities or disadvantages.

  • Inclusion Coordinator

  • In-Service Education and Training

  • Enabling & encouraging professionals to work together effectively to deliver frontline services. This is to improve outcomes for children and young people.

    The Every child matters: change for children programme sets out a model for change with integration at every level. It also sets out how services for children and young people need to be coordinated and built around their needs.

  • Initial Teacher Training


  • When two or more agencies work together to commission services for agreed purposes, usually including the pooling of financial resources.


  • Key Stage


  • Local Authority

  • Looked After Child

  • Learning Mentor

  • Local Medical Committee

  • Local Offer

  • Including the West Sussex Safeguarding Board.

    Coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of local arrangements and services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

  • Lead Professional

  • Learning Support Advisor

  • School-based Learning Support Programme

  • Learning Support Programme

    Written by a specialist teacher.

  • Learning Support Service

  • Long Term Condition(s)

  • Lead Worker


  • Mapping Attainment Grid

  • A signed language, based on British Sign Language (BSL), but not the same.

    It is used to help hearing people who experience communication difficulties.


  • Moderate Learning Difficulties


  • National Curriculum

  • Not in Education, Employment or Training

  • National Grid for Learning



  • Assessment tool for pupils working below Level One of National Curriculum

  • Phonological Awareness Training

  • Personal Budget

  • Person Centred Planning

  • Person Centred Reviews

  • Picture Exchange Communication System [needs link].

  • Personal Health Budget

  • Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting

    An assessment tool for schools to break down levels into smaller steps.

  • Pupil Level Annual Schools Census

  • Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties

  • A home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.

  • Planning, Preparation and Assessment

  • A document set out in the form of a timetable, showing the support and provision for an individual pupil above and beyond that usually provided for other pupils in the class.

    It should detail exactly what programmes, strategies and support are available, related to ILP targets and  or EHCP outcomes. These can be colour coded or numbered for reference. It should also specify length of the support and whether this is 1 to 1 or not. If support is in a small group, it should also give the ratio of adult to pupil numbers in the group.

  • Pupil Referral Unit

  • Parent Support Advisor

  • Personal and Social Development

  • Personal, Social and Health Education

  • Pastoral Support Programme or Pastoral Support Plan

    Supporting the child's mental and emotional wellbeing.

  • Physiotherapist

  • Patient Transport Services


  • Qualified Teacher Status



  • This has 2 different meanings.

    1. School Action
    2. Single Assessment
  • School Action plus

  • Speech and Language Therapist or Speech and Language team.

  • Short Breaks

  • Short Breaks Statement

  • School Development Plan

  • Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

  • Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties or Social, Emotional and Behavioural Development

  • Social, Emotional, Mental, Health

  • Special Educational Needs

  • Special Educational Needs Assessment Team

    This team coordinates Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments for children and young people aged 0-25. They monitor support for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

    [needs link to team details or EHCP information]

  • Special Educational Needs Coordinator

  • Special Educational Needs or Disability

  • Special Educational Needs or Disability Tribunal

  • Schools Information Management System

  • Speech, Language and Communication Needs

  • Severe Learning Difficulties

  • Specialist Leader in Education

  • Senior Leadership Team

  • Refers to targets, which should be:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Realistic
    • Timely.
  • School Meals Supervising Assistant

  • Special Needs Officer

    Advises parents and schools. Monitors and reviews provision for pupils with statements and EHCPs and attends high priority Annual Reviews.

  • Social Communication Team

  • Specific Learning Difficulties

    For example, dyslexia.

  • Social Worker


  • Teaching Assistant

  • Team Around the Child

  • Team Around the Family

  • Teacher in Charge


  • Visually Impaired