Jargon Buster

Below are some of the words and phrases in common use in the areas of education and special needs. Please let us know if there are any missing that would also be helpful to include (use the Contact Us page to email or call us).

Academic Council: A group of schools, usually a secondary school and its associated primary schools, which work closely together on curriculum development and other issues

Advisory Teacher: A teacher who can advise schools and parents about the difficulties affecting a child’s learning or education.  

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Appeals: The Education Acts give parents rights of appeal against certain decisions relating to admission to schools, special educational provision and permanent exclusion from school

Assessment: the process of gathering evidence of a child’s abilities, difficulties, behaviour and his or her special educational needs and the support required to meet those needs

AEN: Additional Educational Needs (a replacement for SEN in some places)

Annual review: The review of a statement of special educational needs, held at least once a year.

ASD: Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Attainment target: The knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and ages are expected to have by the end of each National Curriculum Key Stage.

Baseline assessment: The assessment of a child’s skills and ability as s/he starts school.

Benchmarking: Providing descriptions of what is expected or what has been achieved.

BIP: Behaviour Improvement Programme

Behaviour Support Plan (BSP): sets out the arrangements for the education of children with behaviour difficulties.

Behaviour Support Worker (BSW): works specifically with a young person on a 1:1 and small groups basis providing academic and pastoral support to those demonstrating challenging behaviour in the classroom.

CAF: Common Assessment Framework

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS): is a name for the NHS-provided services for children in the mental health arena in the UK.

CAN: Complex Additional Needs

Carer: A carer is a person named by a local authority to care for a child for whom the local authority has parental responsibility.

Clusters: Groups (usually of schools) who cooperate for training/discussion etc. 

Code of Practice:The SEN Code of Practice provides local authorities, maintained schools, early education settings and other agencies, with comprehensive advice on how to carry out their statutory duties to identify, assess and provide for children’s special educational needs, and to help children with such needs to reach their full potential.

Connexions: A support service for all 13 – 19 year olds. Every young person has access to a ‘Personal Adviser’ to assist them who can support the young people to participate effectively in appropriate learning opportunities;

Child protection (CP): The safety and welfare of children, or Child protection, means protecting children from physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.

Choice Adviser: Offers free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support about choosing and applying for a school place.

DCSF: Department for Children, Schools and Families (Formerly known as the DfES (Department for Education and Skills).

Disability: The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 defines a ‘disabled pupil’ as a school pupil who meets the definition of disabled person under the 1995 Act.

Disability Discrimination Act: The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. It  gives disabled people rights in the areas of employment; education; access to goods, facilities and services; buying or renting land or property; and functions of public bodies. 

Disagreement Resolution: All local authorirties must make arrangements to provide parents with access to an independent service when parents / carers and the education authority cannot agree on how to meet a child’s special educational needs. If you live in the South West a free disagreement resolution service is provided by Wessex Mediation. 

Education Attendance Officer (EAO): offers advice and guidance to schools, families, children and young people to improve attendance.

ECM: The Every Child Matters agenda has five outcoems for children and young people;

  • 1. Be healthy
  • 2. Stay safe
  • 3. Enjoy and achieve
  • 4. Make a positive contribution
  • 5. Achieve economic well-being

EBD: Emotional and behavioural difficulties

Education Development Plan (EDP): a requirement by the government for fully costed plans for educational development.

Emotional Health Worker (EHW): supports children and young people with emotional health difficulties to raise self-esteem and promote emotional wellbeing. Also supports and advise school and health staff.

Educational Psychologist (EP): he/she will play an important role in assessing your child’s special educational needs and giving advice to schools. Local authorities usually employ educational p[sychologists.

Early Years Action: If an Early Years setting idenitifies a child as having a special educational need, it will idenity additional help and support required for that child. It will normally involve implementation of an Individual Education Plan on behalf of the child.

Early Years Action Plus: Early Years Action Plus is triggered when a child continues to make little or no progress despite having received extra support through Early Years Action. Early Years Action Plus involves the provision of advice or support from outside specialists; a new Individual Education Plan will normally be drawn up.

Early Years Support Officers (EYSO): provide advice and support to early years providers.

Exclusions: Head teachers may exclude pupils from school for serious breaches of discipline. Exclusions may be for a fixed period or permanent.

FE: Further education

FEFC: Further Education Funding Council

HE: Higher education

HI: Hearing impairment

HIRB: Hearing impairment resource base

Individual Education Plan (IEP): an individual learning programme devised by a school for a child who has been identified as having special educational needs. It sets out key individual short-term targets for the pupil, the teaching strategies to be used, and any extra support that may be needed. Plans should be reviewed at least twice a year, and a new plan will be drawn up at each stage of the graduated response to meeting a child’s special educational needs.

Inclusion: Educating all children, including those with special educational needs, in mainstream (local) schools

Independent Parent Supporter (IPS): a trained volunteer from Parent Partnership who can support / advocate for parents at meetings and tribunals, they can also help with form filling and advice.

LA: Local authority

Learning and Skills Council (LSC): LSCs have replaced the Further Education Funding Councils and the Training and Enterprise Councils. They deal with all issues relating to funding and training post-16.

Local Service Team (LST): Local Service Teams provide a range of integrated, preventative and universal services for children and young people  from 0 to 19 years (and their parents) within local areas, including support from Education Attendance Officers, Emotional Health and Well-being Workers and Parent and Family Support Advisers.

Mediation: The government requires all Local Authorities to provide an independent service to help when parents/carers and the education authorities cannot agree on how to meet a child’s special educational needs. In Somerset, a mediation service is provided by Wessex Mediation.

Monitoring: The ongoing assessment of work, progress, expenditure or achievement.

Multi-disciplinary: Involving professionals from a range of disciplines (usually Education, Social Services and Health)

MSI / MNSI: Multi-sensory impairment or multi-needs sensory impairment

NAGSEN: National Advisory Group for Special Educational Needs

Note in lieu: A note in lieu may be issued to the child’s parents and school when, following a statutory assessment the LA decides not to make a statement. The note should describe the child’s special educational needs and explain why the LA does not think it necessary to make a statement.

OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education): inspects and regulates the education departments of local authorities, teacher training institutions and youth work, including early years settings and childminders.

Parent: Any person who has custody of a child or young person

Parent Partnership Services: provide advice and guidance and information to parents whose children have special educational needs. They provide neutral and factual support on all aspects of the SEN framework to help parents play an active and informed role in their children’s education. They are funded by Local Authorities but are sometimes delivered through voluntary orgabnisations.

Parent and Family Support Adviser (PFSA): provides advice and guidance to parents/carers on a range of parenting and education issues including support in school attendance.  

PMLD: Profound and multiple learning difficulties

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU): A type of school that is established and maintained by a local authority and is specially organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick or otherwise unable to attend mainstream school. A pupil referral unit is not a community or special school.

Special Educational Needs (SEN): Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty that calls for specialist educational provision to be made for them.

SENCo: Special Educational Needs Coordinator – The member of school staff responsible for organising provision, keeping IEPs up to date, organising annual reviews and meetings with parents of SEN children.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST): An independent tribunal set up to arbitrate when disagreements occur between parents and the local authority regarding a pupil’s special educational needs, or when a parent alleges disability discrimination by a school, nursery or local authority.

SI: Sensory impairment

SLD: Severe learning difficulties

SLT: Speech and language therapist

SpLD: Specific Learning Difficulty

Statement of SEN: A legal document stating the specialist educational provision necessary to meet a pupil’s needs.

Statutory Assessment: If a significant cause for concern has been raised, a request for a statutory assessment may be made by the parent or the school to the local authority.

Transition plan: An action plan following the review of a young person’s statement in Year 9. It is for the immediate future and post-16

Tribunal: A body to which parents can take grievances relating to statementing procedures

VI: Visual impairment

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