The SEND Code of Practice: A Guide


If you work in SEND – or want to – you should familiarise yourself with the legal requirements of the SEND Code of Practice, the official government guide for those who work with children who have Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The guide focuses on a family-centred system of care and education, which spans the areas of: 

  1. communication & interaction
  2. cognition & learning
  3. social, emotional & mental health
  4. sensory & physical needs

How to use the Code

You should refer to the code – or our handy breakdown here – whenever: 

  • you’re unsure of the best course of action to take for a pupil with special needs
  • a new pupil with special needs is introduced into your class
  • a new edition is released
  • a complaint is made about the SEND provision at the school you work at

In addition, familiarise yourself with the Code regularly throughout the year to ensure you’re meeting the legal obligations of the guide and that your SEND pupils are getting the most out of their education.

How authorities use the Code

The local authority (LA) of an area uses the SEND Code of Practice when assessing the facilities and provision that an educational institution or care home provides to those with SEND requirements – including, but not limited to, those with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The Code will also be used by authorities when investigating complaints against an institution’s SEND provision, or when an allegation of a breach of the Equality Act 2010 has been made.

Download the SEND Jargon Buster

Within the code, you will find many acronyms and other jargon, which can be confusing – no matter how long you’ve worked within SEND provision.

At Engage, we’ve developed a fantastic SEND jargon buster, which you can download here. Print it out by your desk, or just keep a copy on your device, and never get stuck again!

Further reading:

Working in SEND changes lives. You can too.

Teachers and support staff who work with Engage have spent over 700,000 hours in more than 3,400 vacancies in SEND schools, changing lives and meeting the various and often complex needs of SEND pupils.

Whether you have years of SEND experience, or you’re just starting out, find out how you can have an impact by registering today. Your own personal SEND consultant will work with you hand in hand to find your dream job in a SEND vacancy.

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