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Jargon Buster

On this page you will find common SEND words, phrases, and acronyms.

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Acquired Brain Injury

A state funded school which reserves its funding from and is owned and controlled by central government, not a local authority.

Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Written reports from parents, teachers and other practitioners on a child’s special educational needs and disabilities

Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU)
The AWPU is the amount of money that every maintained school receives for each pupil that is on the school roll, whether or not they have SEN. The value of the AWPU varies from one local authority to another and according to the age of the pupils. For primary age pupils the minimum is £2000 per year. For pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4 the minimum is £3000 per year.

Annual Review
The process of ensuring that a Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) of special educational needs and disabilities continues to describe the child’s needs and how they should be met through a meeting held once a year. Note an EHCP is the new term for a Statement.

Autistic Spectrum Condition

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Finding out what a child’s needs are, what they can do and struggle with, usually through observing them at home, school and settings and b talking with people who know the child well.

Assistant Education Officer – AEO
A local authority officer who, in addition to supporting the education officer has responsibility for SEN casework

A paid job that includes training, leading to nationally recognised qualifications.

British Sign Language

Common Assessment Framework – A method of assessment which can be used by social services, health or education. It is a non-statutory assessment

Cognitive assessment

A cognitive assessment is a test of your brain’s abilities, such as thinking, memory, language, and judgment

Care Plan
A record of the health and/or social services being provided to a child or young person

Clinical Commissioning Group

C&F Act (Children & Families Act 2014)
An Act which reforms legislation to introduce changes that affect how children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities get the services and support they need.

Code or CoP (Code of Practice 2015)
The Code of Practice is a document designed to help families, schools, local authorities, health services and other organisations make effective decisions regarding children with special educational needs and disabilities. This contains statutory guidance on the Children and Families Act 2014.

When someone is paid to deliver a service

The people responsible for contracts with service providers.

Co- Production
Equal partnership working between service providers, those in receipt of the service and their families.

Children Disability Team
Children with disabilities social care team.

The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. This is one of the main acts of parliament that entitle disabled people to social care.

Cerebral Palsy. Physical Impairment that affects movement. Mobility problems may vary from barely noticeable to extremely severe. Those with CP may also have sight, hearing, speech, perception and learning difficulties. Between a quarter and a third of children and adolescents with CP are also affected by epilepsy.

CPD – Continuing Professional Development – another standard term used everywhere

DCS  – Director of Childrens’ Services

Disability Discrimination Act

Direct Payments
Payments that allow you to choose and buy the services you need yourself, instead of getting them from the local authority (council). Direct Payments may be available for health care, social care and for the special educational provision in an EHCP.

Disagreement Resolution (Dis Res)
The dispute resolution service offered by a local authority to resolve disagreements between parents and the local authority NB. This is not always an independent service and it does not necessarily mean mediation which has a specific meaning (see M)

Disability Living Allowance

Department for Education

DSG /DMP – Dedicated Schools Grant / Deficit Management Plan – the first is the money we receive from Govt to pass on to schools (formula agreed at Schools Forum) and the second helps our Finance team to manage spend

EA 1996
Part IV of the Education Act 1996 was the legal framework for SEN. Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 now replaces this legislation. However there is a transition period until 2018. This means, for example, that Statements of Special Educational Need that were in place before 1st September 2014 will continue to have legal force until the child or young person transfers to an EHC plan.


Education Funding Agency.
The EFA is the government agency that funds education for learners between the ages of 3 and 19, and those with learning difficulties and disabilities between the ages of 3 and 25.

The EFA allocates funds to local authorities, which then provide the funding for maintained schools. The EFA directly funds academies and free schools.

Early Years
Birth to 5 years old

Early Years Provider
A provider of early education places for children under five. This can include state funded and private nurseries.

Early Years Action/ Action Plus
This describes the additional or different support for children with SEN given by early years settings under the previous (2001) SEN Code of Practice. This support was for children with SEN who did not have a Statement of Special Educational Need.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

ELKLAN – a company delivering a range of accredited training courses for those working with children who have Speech, Language and Communication needs. The acronym is simply parts of the names of the two founders (Liz Elks and Henrietta McLachlan)

The Early Years Foundation Stage. A statutory framework which covers children both in pre-school settings and in reception classes up to their fifth birthday.

EHC Needs Assessment
An assessment of 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.

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


Education Health and Care Plan Referral

Early Help Assessment – formerly known as CAF.

EHE – Electively Home Educated

Educational Psychologist. A professional employed by the local authority to assess a child’s special educational needs and to give advice to school settings on how these needs can be met.

EqA or EQA
The Equality Act 2010

Further Education
FE Full or part-time education for people over compulsory school age. The FE sector includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes. It does not include universities.

Free School
A type of Academy

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Global Development Delay

Graduated Response
Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective provision in place. This SEN Support should take form of a four-part cycle (assess, plan, do, review) to help gain better understanding of the pupil’s needs and tailor support accordingly. Schools must show evidence of a graduated response whereby they have sought advice, put appropriate interventions in place and evaluated progress before requesting additional or alternative provision through an EHC assessment.

Hearing Impairment

Healthwatch is an independent consumer champion, gathering and representing the views of the public about health and social care services. It operates both locally and nationally.

Home Authority
This usually means the local authority in which a child or young person is ordinarily resident (and which therefore has the responsibility to a child or young person under the Children and Families Act 2014

Individual Educational Plan. A plan which sets out the support a child is receiving in their school or other setting. There is no specific requirement for children with SEND to have a plan called an IEP under the Code but children with SEND may still have IEP’s

When anyone, regardless of impairment is welcomed and supported to be involved. Inclusion should mean disabled and non-disabled people are supported to take part in activities together.

Independent School
A school that is not maintained by a local authority.

Independent Supporters

A person recruited locally by a voluntary or community sector organisation to help families through an EHC needs assessment and the process of developing an EHCP.

IAG – Information, Advice and Guidance – a standard term used outside in and outside councils


Intellectual disability


Intellectual Disability Assessment


Individual Learning Plan


Independent Reviewing Officer

Independent Social Worker

A social worker who works independently from any authority.

Joint Commissioning
Working collaboratively across agencies to assess need, identify resources available, plan how to use resources and arrange service delivery. This also involves reviewing the services and reassessing need, with the aim of improving outcomes.

JSNA – Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
Assessment of the current and future health and social care needs of the local community.

Key Worker

A trained individual who provides personalised support, co-ordination and/or advocacy for disabled children and young people and their families.

LA – Local Authority
Also known as Council or Local Government – A local authority is responsible for managing services in your area ie The London Borough of Hillingdon

The Local Area
The local area includes the local authority, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), public health, NHS England for specialist’s services, early year’s settings, schools and further education providers. Local Areas are subject to inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted in terms of their effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities.

A Learning difficulty assessment under section 139A Learning and Skills Act 2000. An assessment made to determine what additional support young people with learning difficulties need in order to access education beyond school. From September 2014, these will be replaced by EHCP’s. All LDA’s should have been replaced by 2017.

Learning Support Assistant, also sometimes called Teaching Assistant (“TA”).


A law or a set of laws that have been passed by Parliament. The word is also used to describe the act of making a new law.

Learning Difficulties
Problems or conditions which make learning harder than it us for most people.

Local Offer
A directory/website outlining the provision available in the local area for SEND. All areas will have a Local Offer, however sometimes it may have different names i.e. The London Borough of Hillingdon’s Local Offer is now called “Connect to Support”.

LSS – Learning Support Services
An inclusion support service available to schools consisting of specialists teachers who offer consultancy, advice and training around many aspects of learning.

Mainstream School
A school which is for children, not just with special educational needs.

MAT –  Multi Academy trust – e.g. the trusts that oversee and run a group of schools such as LGAT who have Tollbar, Cleethorpes Academy and Reynolds

Where a trained person helps to sort out any area of conflict. A method of seeking to resolve disagreements by going to an independent mediator. Mediation must be offered to a parent or young person in relation to an EHCP. Mediation is not compulsory for the parent or young person but they will need to consider mediation before appealing the educational parts of an EHCP in most cases.

Mediation advice
The purpose of mediation advice is to give information about what mediation involves. Parents or young people who wish to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) must first seek mediation advice. The advice must be factual and unbiased. After mediation advice has been given the parent or young person can choose whether they wish to go to mediation.

However it is not necessary to seek mediation advice if the appeal is only about the name of the school, or college named on the plan, the type of provision specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named.
You can find more information on mediation advice in the SEND Code of Practice 11.21 to 11.25.

Maintained School
Schools that are maintained by a local authority – any community, foundation or voluntary school, community special or foundation special school.

Moderate learning difficulties – not a legal term but often used in relation to the description of a school i.e. and MLD school.

The SEND Code of Practice says in Section i of the Introduction:

…where the text uses the word ‘must’ it refers to a statutory requirement under primary legislation, regulations or case law.
This means that wherever the term ‘must’ is used all the organisations listed in Section iv of the Introduction to the Code have a legal duty to do what the Code says.

National Curriculum
The framework which sets out standards and appropriate levels of achievement for children’s education. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported. Children’s expected progress is currently determined by reference to standardised national curriculum “levels” which prescribe the expected attainment for pupils in each year group.

Not in Education, Training or Employment.

Groups of people that are interested in the same topic or area of work.

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

Section 9.66 of the SEND Code of Practice says:

An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention. It should be personal and not expressed from a service perspective; it should be something that those involved have control and influence over, and while it does not always have to be formal or accredited, it should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART). When an outcome is focused on education or training, it will describe what the expected benefit will be to the individual as a result of the educational or training intervention provided.

Occupational Therapist. Trained to give advice on equipment, adaptations and activities to support the learning/social development of people with physical, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Oppositional Defiance Disorder

‘P’ Levels
Performance levels used to assess a child who is not yet within the national curriculum levels of attainment.

A doctor who specialises in children’s health and may be responsible for the continuing carers with SEND both before school entry and in special and mainstream schools.


Person Centred Practice

Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.


Personalised Learning Plan

PB – Personal Budget
Money that is allocated to individuals to meet assessed needs in place of services that would otherwise be provided directly to the individual by statutory bodies. A Personal Budget is the notional amount of money which an LA has identified as necessary to secure the special educational provision in an EHCP.

Physical Disability

Pathological Demand Avoidance

A provision, criteria or practice (relevant for indirect discrimination and the duty to make reasonable adjustment under the EqA).


Personalised Care Plan

Putting the person at the heart of decision making and enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and support. Person centred practices and personal budgets are part of this approach.

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

Pervasive Development Disorder

Home-based educational support for pre-school children with SEND.

A decision making body who meet to match criteria for services, i.e. short breaks, EHC assessment.

Preparation for Adulthood (14-25).

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Responsible body of a school, usually the board of Governors.

School Action/Action Plus
This describes the additional or different support for children with SEN given by schools under the previous (2001) SEN Code of Practice. This support was for children with SEN who did not have a Statement of Special Educational Need.

Schools Forum
Every local authority has a Schools Forum. It made up of representatives from schools and academies, and some representation from other bodies, such as nursery and 14-19 education providers.

The role of the Schools Forum includes looking at the local formula used to fund schools and SEN provision.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Special Educational Needs

SEN Information Report
All schools must publish on their websites information about their policy and arrangements for supporting children with SEN. This must be kept up to date.

The information that has to be included can be found in Section 6.79 of the SEND Code of Practice.

SEN Support
SEN support includes any help for children and young people with SEN that is additional to or different from the support generally made for other children of the same age.

The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process.

SEN support replaces Early Years Action/Action Plus and School Action/Action Plus.

SEND Tribunal
The First-tier Tribunal, Special Educational Needs and Disability – sometimes referred to by its former name “SENDIST”.


Special educational needs and disabilities information and advice service or Special educational needs and disabilities independent advocacy service. Get impartial information, advice and support for SEND across education, health and social care.

Special Educational Provision.

Severe Learning Difficulties – not a legal term but often used in relation to the description of a school, i.e. an SLD School

Speech and Language Therapy, sometimes used to refer to the Speech and Language Therapist, trained to give specialist assessment and advice for children with communication difficulties.

SEND Reforms 2014
The SEND reforms aim to deliver a simpler, joined up, person centred system for the provision of education, health and social care for children and young people from age 0 – 25 with special educational needs and disabilities.

SENCO – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator
The teacher with responsibility for the co-ordination and planning of the special educational needs provision within school or early years setting. Every school or early years setting. Every schools has a SENCO.

Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs.

Sometimes a service that provides information, advice and support may be asked for help that it is not able to give directly.

When this happens the person seeking information, advice or support may signposted to other service providers. This means that they will be given information, including contact details, about other sources of help.

Special School
A school which is specifically organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN.

Studio School
A type of Academy.


Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Specialist Provision
Specialist provision generally refers to support and services provided by specialists in education, health or social care following individual referral and specialist assessment.

Short Breaks
An opportunity for parents and carers of a disabled child to have a break from their caring arrangements, and for their child to have a positive and enjoyable experience. Also known as respite.

Short Breaks Statement
An annual publication outlining the short breaks that a local authority offer.

Statutory Guidance
Statutory guidance is guidance that local authorities and other local bodies have a legal duty to follow.

Supported Internship
A structured study programme, based with an employer that is tailored to the individual needs of the young person which will equip them with the skills they need for the workplace.

Team around the child meeting.

Team around the family meeting

Transfer Review
A transfer review replaces the annual review in the academic year that the child or young person transfers to the new SEND system.

A transfer review involves an EHC needs assessment to decide what outcomes and provision need to be included in the EHC plan. This should include education, health and social care needs.

You, your child or the young person must be invited to a meeting as part of the transfer review.

A transfer review ends when the local authority sends you (or the young person) a copy of the EHC plan, or when it informs you (or the young person) that an EHC plan will not be issued.

Each council publishes a local transition plan to explain how and when transfer reviews for children and young people with Statements of Special Educational Need will happen.

When a young person moves from class to class, a different setting or children to adult services.

A programme for young people who want to work but who need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or a job. Traineeships will give young people the opportunity to develop the skills and workplace experience require.

An independent body which hears appeals against decisions made by the local authority on statutory assessments & EHCP’s.

Universal Services
Services provided to all children and young people in the area.

Visual Impairment

Are we missing something? Let us know SEND Feedback Form | QuestionPro Survey

Are we missing something? Let us know SEND Feedback Form | QuestionPro Survey