Children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) may require additional support to achieve their potential. In the great majority of cases, this can be supported from within resources available in early year’s settings, schools, and colleges, this is often referred to as SEN Support.

For a small proportion of children or young people with more significant needs’ schools can apply for additional funding from the Local Authority or require specialist placements such as a Designated Specialist Provision or Special School. Many of these children have Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority. This plan identifies needs, provisions, and desired outcomes. A child or young person’s EHCP will be administered by the local authority where they live.

The SEND Code of Practice outlines the responsibility of local authorities, schools, colleges, early years settings and other commissioning bodies in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people aged 0-25 years with SEND.


The SEND Code of Practice outlines 4 broad areas of need as follows:

  • Communication and Interaction: Includes those with speech and language needs (SLCN) as well as those with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC).
  • Cognition and Learning (CL): Children who learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with high quality teaching and appropriate differentiation of classwork. These include children with both moderate learning difficulties (MLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD).
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties (SEMH): These are children who experience social and emotional difficulties that may be manifested in many ways such as in challenging behaviour, depression, or anxiety.
  • Sensory and/or Physical needs: These are children who may have a disability such as a vision or hearing impairment.


The SEND Code of Practice 2015 states that schools should use a graduated approach to help identify and plan for meeting a child or young person’s needs. This graduated approach takes the form of a four-part Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle which allows for earlier decisions and actions to be revisited and reviewed.


  • STEP 1: Assess what the child or young person’s special educational needs are.
  • STEP 2: Plan what needs to be put in place in order to help the child / young person make progress.
  • STEP 3: Do what has been decided and set a review date.
  • STEP 4: Review how effective the support or intervention has been.

The Code of Practice also advises that where a child in care is being assessed for SEN at either SEN Support stage or at the EHC Plan stage, account should be taken of information in their Care Plan.

SEND Glossary

ADHDAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and emotional dysregulation that are excessive and pervasive, impairing in multiple contexts.
ASDAutism, formally called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism spectrum condition (ASC), is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by deficits in social communication and social interaction, and repetitive or restricted patterns of behaviours, interests, or activities, which can include hyper- and hyperreactivity to sensory input. Autism is clinically regarded as a spectrum disorder, meaning that it can manifest very differently in each person.
CAMHSChild and Adolescent Mental Health Services – The term for the services which support young people with emotional or behavioural challenges.
EHCPEducation, Health and Care Plan – Outlines any educational needs and health needs that a child may have and the provisions put in place to help them by the local authority.
HIHearing Impaired or Hearing Impairment – The partial or total inability to hear.
IEPIndividual Education Plan – A school-based document which records, tracks and reviews the support received by a young person with SEND.
LDDLearning Difficulties and Disabilities – Difficulties in acquiring knowledge or skills, largely due to a physical or mental disability.
MLDModerate Learning Difficulties – Children who have cognitive ability and attainment levels significantly lower than that of their peers.
PEAPersonal Education Allowance – Funding for children in care to support with activities outside of school to promote wellbeing and skills.
PEPPersonal Education Plan – Records how children in our care are supported in their educational outcomes and achievements.
PMLDProfound and Multiple Learning Difficulties – Young people who may have complex learning needs alongside other physical disabilities or impairments.
SEMHSocial, Emotional and Mental Health – Children who may have difficulties in regulating their behaviour or emotions.
SENDSpecial Educational Needs and Disabilities – The term for children who have a learning difficulty and/or a disability, and therefore need extra support.
SENCoSpecial Educational Needs Co-ordinator – The teacher who is responsible for this area within a school.
SLCNSpeech, Language and Communication Needs – A language impairment or secondary communication difficulty resulting from another condition.
SLDSevere Learning Difficulties – Learning disabilities which require children to have support in all areas of the curriculum. They may also require teaching of self-help, independence and social skills.
SpLDSpecific Learning Difficulties – An umbrella term used to cover a range of difficulties including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia.
VIVisually Impaired or Visual Impairment – A child who cannot see at all or has partial vision loss.

Website Links

The Local Offer is an information resource for:

  • children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • their parents or carers
  • practitioners and professionals.

Greenwich Parent Carer Participation Forum – Championing the voice of SEND families

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Service

Greenwich Virtual School work in partnership with schools, social workers and Greenwich Assessment and Review Service to support all children with SEND and secure school places for children and young people with EHCPs following statutory SEND processes across Greenwich and local authorities where our children in care live.

SEND Information / Events

Please see flyers from the Greenwich SENCO network meetings outlining SEND information and events for families