80 of the most common SEND terms explained: A free guide

Whether you are new to SEND or have been around for many years, you’ll know that jargon is very common:

A school does not have to provide a guide to the SEND terms they use. Some do, but if your school doesn’t the free guide below is here to help (it’s also known as a SEND glossary).

A helpful guide to SEND Terms

This guide gives you the most common SEND terms – over 80, in order from Accessibility Plan, Access and ADHD. It’s ideal for staff, governors and families of children at primary school.

Do I read it cover to cover, or keep it as a guide?

It’s up to you. Both options will help you in your meetings about SEND.

Image of SEND glossary that explains 150 terms

Information should be as accessible as possible. This guide is as accessible as we could make it, including:

The guide stays true to the content but also has a reading age of 12 years old. This makes the guide an ideal tool for everybody. That includes people who struggle with reading or who speak English as an additional language (EAL).

Best of all – it costs nothing. We simply ask that you give credit and don’t pass this work off as your own.

At SEND meetings, can I ask what a SEND term means?

Yes. There are many different SEND and the guide doesn’t include every condition that might affect pupils.

Therefore, we all can still be confused in meetings. We ask ourselves “Should I know that already?” or “What will people think if I ask?”

It is ok for parents, family members and governors to ask. After all, there is a lot of jargon. Remember that even SENCos need to ask about SEND terms sometimes (e.g. RPI). There is a saying that the only bad question is the one that’s not been asked. That’s mostly true – but not always:

Motivational landscape image with humorous quote

Finally, some of the services that support SEND are have different names in each council (e.g. autism support teams). If you are a SENCo, you can tweak the guide to reflect your local services.

We hope that the SEND glossary helps you navigate through the SEND maze.

Where can I get more help on SEND terms?

More great reads

  • Aaron King, Director

    With over 20 years experience of working with children & young people in both mainstream and SEND settings, Aaron King is the driving force behind 9000lives.

    Aaron has written for the TES, including in the Leadership & Governance sections. He has also been a school governor for around 15 years.

  • Aaron King

    Aaron King Director

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