What is SEND?
SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A child or young person who has difficulties in learning is said to have Special Educational Needs or SEN. Please see DfE and Mencap documents that offer further explanation for parents/carers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-support-easy-read-guide-for-parents and for children: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-support-easy-read-guide-for-children-and-young-people
There are legal definitions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25 provides guidance on the laws, which affect SEND. This information from the SEND Code of Practice explains what Special Educational Needs (SEN) means.
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child or young person of compulsory school age is said to have SEN if they:
Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age.
Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
A child under compulsory school age has SEN if they fall within the definitions above or would do if special educational provision was not made for them.
Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’. This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Where a disabled child or young person requires special educational provision they will also be covered by the SEN definition.