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Words and Terms explained

In this section you can find common words and terms related to special educational needs and disabilities in a way that you could understand more easily.

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Applied Behavioural Analysis         



Attention Deficit Disorder   



Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder    


“Annual Reviews”    

Once a statement is completed it is reviewed. At least every 6 months for children aged 0-5 or every 12 months from aged 5+. You will be invited to a meeting to discuss the progress your child has made over the last year and to set targets for the next year.




Asperger’s syndrome



Autistic Spectrum Disorder



Advisory Support Teachers: Specialist teachers who advise teachers and parents on a child’s special educational needs and provide support.


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The Beacon School programme was established in 1998 and involved nursery, primary, secondary and special schools. It was designed to build partnerships between high performing schools across the country and represent examples of successful practice, with a view to sharing and spreading that effective practice to other schools to raise overall standards in pupil attainment. Beacon schools offer advice on a wide range of areas including specific curriculum subjects, pupil monitoring, school management and provision for gifted and talented children.                 



Behaviour Emotional Social Development            



Behaviour Support Teacher


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Common Assessment Framework  



Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.



A carer is a person named by a local authority to care for a child for whom social services department has parental responsibility (child is subject to care order and has been paced in residential or foster placement). The person has a role to play in the consideration of a child’s special educational needs.   

Carers Allowance – A benefit that you can apply for if you are a parent/carer of a child who receives middle rate DLA and if you earn less than £100/week.


“Case Officer” (CO)

An officer of the LEA who will deal with the child’s case and who will talk to parents if there are any enquiries or concerns.



Clinical Commissioning Group. This is an NHS organisation that brings together local GPs and health professionals to take on commissioning responsibilities for local health services. A CCG plans and arranges the delivery of the health care provision for people in its area.                  



Child Development Clinic/ Child Development Service              

Child Development Clinic where medical assessments are made of children whose development is giving cause for concern.


“Code of Practice”    

A guide to LEAs and schools about the help which can be given to children with special educational needs. LEAs and schools must have regard to the CoP when dealing with a child with SENs.



Understanding of spoken or written material or practical situations.                           


“Connexions Service”          

A service to help all young people aged 13-19 prepare for the transition to adult life.


"Compulsory School Age"

Parents/carers have a duty to provide their child with an education (subject to section 7 of the 1996 Education Act) during the 'compulsory school age' period. This period begins from the 1st January, 1st April or 1st September following their 5th birthday. It ends on the last Friday of June during the year that the child turns 16, provided that the child's birthday is before the beginning of the next school year. 



The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. This is one of the main Acts of Parliament which entitle disabled people to social care.


"Curriculum entry levels”

Entry level qualifications are for young people from 14 upwards who are not yet working at GCSE level. To ensure that small steps of achievement are recognised entry level is divided into three group’s entry level 1, entry level 2 and entry level 3.


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Department of Children, Schools and Families (replaced the DfES, Department for Education and Skills, in 2007


Disability Discrimination Act 1995


“Delegated budgets”

Is regular funding given to schools on an annual basis by the local authority. It can be used to support pupils with special educational needs including those with a statement.


“Developmental Delay”

A delay in reaching the normal stages of development, for example sitting or talking                       



The way in which the early years setting/school’s curriculum and teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of a child



A Diocese is the area to which a Bishop’s Jurisdiction extends and is only applicable to Catholic or Church of England Schools. 


“Direct Payments”   

Payments made in lieu of services being provided. Direct Payments may be available for health care, social care and for the special educational provision in an EHC plan.                


“Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)”


“Disagreement resolution or Dispute resolution service”            (Disagreement Arrangements)  

All LAs must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents whose children have special educational needs and the LEA or a school. It is an informal way to discuss issues in an attempt to resolve them. Using this service is voluntary and does not in any way affect a parents’ right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.                  


“DLA”– Disability Living Allowance.

A benefit which you can apply for if your child has a disability (diagnosis not essential) and needs extra support over and above that of a typical child of the same age.          



affects fine/gross motor skills and also organisation and planning ability (eg difficulty using knife and fork, slow and unsteady coming downstairs, cannot ride a bike, needs help to organise belongings etc)If you think your child may have Dyspraxia it is best to ask for referral to an OT. For further info see our useful links section        


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“EA 1996”     

Education Act 1996.            


“Early Education Setting”   

All pre-school education provision such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and play groups.    


“Early Years”

Early years setting include private and voluntary day nurseries, preschools, playgroups, child-minding network, portage services and local authority day nurseries.


“Early years teacher”          

An adult who works with pre-school children in an early years setting.           


“Early Years Action”

When a pre-school child is identified as having special educational needs, the early years practitioner who works day to day with the child and the SENCO will design programmes that are Additional to or different from those provided as part of the setting’s usual curriculum.


“Early Years Action Plus”                

When a child is identified as having special educational needs, outside specialists will provide advice or support to the early years education practitioner who works day-today with the child and the SENCO. Additional or different ways of working or programmes of support to those provided for the child through Early Years Action can be put in place.


“Early Years Foundation Stage”                 

For children aged 0-5 in preschool and school. It links directly with the national curriculum.          


“Early years Practitioner”   

An adult who works with pre-school children in an early years setting.           


“Education Psychologist” (EP/EPS)           

A qualified teacher who has had training in psychology to understand more about the ways children learn, think and behave.          



Education Funding Agency, An arm of the Department for Education. It allocates funding to local authorities for maintained schools and voluntary aided schools. It is also responsible for funding and monitoring academies.          


“EHC needs assessment”    

An assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of a child or young person conducted by a local authority under the Children and Families Act 2014.                   


“EHC plan”    

An education, health and care plan as defined in section 37 (2) of the Children and Families Act 2014.


“EP/Ed Psych”         

Education Psychologist/Education Psychology Service


“EqA” or “EQA”        

The Equality Act 2010.



Equalities & Human Rights Act



Education Welfare Officer/ Education Welfare Service  


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Further Education. The FE sector in England includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes. It does not include universities 


"First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability"     

An independent body which has jurisdiction under section 333 of the Education Act 1996 for determining appeals by parents against local authority decisions on EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. The Tribunal’s decision is binding on both parties to the appeal. The Tribunal also hears claims of disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.         


“Foundation Stage”  

This begins when children reach the age of 3 and continues until the end of the reception year.


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The way in which a child walks.                             


“Global Delay”

A general delay in acquiring normal developmental milestones.           


Gross Motor Skills

Whole body actions, for example playing games, swimming or riding a bicycle


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Hearing Impairment (including those whose hearing loss may vary from mild to profound)           



Difficulty in concentrating or sitting still for any length of time. Restless,

fidgety behaviour, also a child may have sleeping difficulties.


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Independent Appeal Panel – where 3 to 5 members of the public who has no connection to the school in question will hear your appeal. It is a new hearing after a complaint against the school and the panel will question the school’s evidence and will listen carefully to your reasons for appealing.    


"Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS)" 

IASS provide advice and information to children with SEN or disabilities, their parents, and young people with SEN or disabilities. They provide neutral and factual support on the special educational needs system to help the children, their parents and young people to play an active and informed role in their education and care. Although funded by local authorities, IASS are run either at arm’s length from the local authority or by a voluntary organisation to ensure
children, their parents and young people have confidence in them.



Individual Education Plan – IEP is a planning, teaching and review tool. A document for all teaching staff recording short term targets for an individual pupil that are different from or additional to those in place for the rest of the group  or class. The interventions is provided through school action or school action plus (early years action and early years action plus for children under 5 years or in an early years setting) and statements of SEN.   



Ensuring that all children are, where possible, educated together at their local mainstream school. This is regardless whether they have a disability or learning difficulty       


“Independent Parental Supporter “(IPS) 

Independent Parental Supporters work on a voluntary basis offering parents and carers help and support on educational issues. IPS is often someone from a voluntary organisation, a parent partnership service, or another parent/friend.              

“Individual Education Plan (IEP)” T

his plan is for a child, examining what they do now, what they need to do next and how this is going to be achieved.                 



Independent Parental Supporter – Independent Parental Supporters work on a voluntary basis offering parents and carers help and support on educational issues. IPS is often someone from a voluntary organisation, a parent partnership service, or another parent/friend.


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“LDA”  A learning difficulty assessment under section 139A Learning and Skills Act 2000.  



Local Education Authority/Local Authority                       

Learning Difficulties Children will have levels of education abilities which are significantly lower than


“Learning Mentor”   

A person working in school with groups and individual children to help them overcome barriers to learning. Mentors may also be trained volunteers working with individual children through an external organisation


“Learning Support Assistant (LSA)”          

An assistant providing in-school support for pupils with SEN and/or disabilities. An LSA will normally work with a particular pupil or pupils, providing close support to those teaching him or her.    


“Local Authority (LA)”         

A local government body, responsible for providing education, carrying out statutory assessments and maintaining statements.         


"Local Offer"

Local authorities in England are required to set out in their local offer information about provision they
expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Local authorities must consult locally on what provision the local offer should contain.



Learning Support Assistant. A person employed by the school to provide support in the classroom or undertake specific work with a child or group of children who have learning difficulties. They work under the direction of the class teacher.        



Learning Support Teacher  


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“Mainstream or Maintained School”          

A school which is for all children, not just those with SEN. This will normally be a state school.        



Moderate Learning Disability



Multi-Sensory Impairment 


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“Named Officer”       

An officer of the LEA who will deal with the child’s case and who will talk to parents if there are any enquiries or concerns.     


“National Curriculum”         

The programme of study a child follows. It is divided into four stages known as Key Stages.           


 “Note in Lieu”          

A document the LA may produce, describing a child’s special educational needs, why a statement is not needed and setting what should be provided for your child.      


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Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. This is the body which inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.



Occupational Therapist   a person trained to provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for children with physical difficulties. They are able to give schools advice on programmes of support, and to advise about suitable equipment and the provision of other facilities.


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“P levels/scales”

provide a framework that is used to map a pupil’s progress with special educational needs who are working towards level 1 of the national curriculum. There are eight levels of P scales with P1 being the lowest and P 8 being the highest. 


"Parent carer forum"

This is a group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families. 


“Parent Partnership Services”       

A service that provides independent and impartial advice to parents who have children with SEN or statements.



Physical Disability    



is used as an aid to communication, for children and young people with autistic spectrum disorder and special educational needs. It helps them to communicate their needs and wants. PECS is used in schools, home and other venues.                                                   


“Person Centred Planning (PCP)”                 

Person centred planning puts the young person at the centre of planning and focuses on their aspirations. It is about families and professionals making plans with a young person and not for them.     


“Personal Budget”   

A Personal Budget is the notional amount of money which an LA has identified as necessary to secure the special educational provision in an EHC plan.                  



A person trained to provide assessment and treatment in movement and physical development such as balance, co-ordination, ability to sit, stand and walk. They are able to give advice to schools on programmes of support. 



Profound Multiple Learning Disability      






Pupil Referral Unit - for children who need to be educated out of school, often because they have been excluded                      



Pastoral Support Plan


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Speech and Language



Speech and Language Therapy      


“School Action”         

When a pupil is identified as having SEN, the school provide interventions such as making further assessment, additional or use different teaching material or way of teaching from those provided as part of school’s usual differentiated curriculum. It may sometimes but not always be additional adult support.


“School Action plus (SAP)”

is when school action has not helped the child make adequate progress; the school seeks advice from professional outside the school. They may be from Local Education Authority support services, health professional or speech and language therapist advice on language provision or an occupational health suggestion/recommendation on how to work differently with the child in class.                                                                     


Special Educational Needs  


“SEN Audit”  

A scheme to make sure that school budgets are set in a way that takes account of how much support they need to provide for children with SEN. Every school has a fully delegated, whole-school budget. ‘Delegated’ means the school makes its own decisions about how to use its funding.                       



Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator


“SEND or Tribunal” 

Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal 


"Special educational provision"

This is provision that is different from or additional to that normally available to pupils or students of the same age, which is designed to help children and young people with SEN or disabilities to access the National Curriculum at school or to study at college.


"Special school"

A school which is specifically organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN. Special schools maintained by the local authority comprise community special schools and foundation special schools, and non maintained (independent) special schools that are approved by the Secretary of State under Section 342 of the Education Act 1996.



Speech Language Communication Needs



Severe Learning Disability  



Speech and Language Therapists are trained to assess, diagnose, manage and treat speech, language, voice and fluency disorders.



Specific Learning Disability 

Statement of Special Educational Needs   


“Statutory Assessment”       

Adetailed investigation to find out what your child's special educational needs are and what provision is needed to meet those needs. An assessment is the step before a statement of special educational needs (often known simply as 'a statement'), but doesn't always lead to a statement being written.


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Teaching Assistant .A person employed by the school to provide general support in the classroom. They work under the direction of the class teacher.


The “C & F Act 2014” or “CAFA”    

The Children and Families Act 2014.        


“Transition Plan”     

This is drawn up with pupils with Statements of SEN or on School Action Plus in Year 9. They and their parents / carers attend a meeting held to begin to plan for when the young person will leave school. Connexions Personal Advisers play a key part in this plan, which is then reviewed every year until the young person leaves school.


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Visual Impairment or complete loss of sight

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"Young person"

A person over compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which they turn 16). From this point the right to make decisions about matters covered by the Children and Families Act 2014 applies to the young person directly, rather than to their parents.