Annual Review: the process of ensuring that a Statement of Special Educational Needs continues to describe the child’s needs and how they should be met through a meeting held once each year.
Assessment: finding out what a child can and cannot do by observing them at early years setting or school and sometimes at home and by 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.
Carer: a person who is looking after a child but isn't their birth parent.
Code of Practice: a government document that schools, early years settings and local authorities follow when identifying children with SEN and meeting their needs.
Department for Education (DfE): a national government department.
Differentiation: the way in which the early years setting/school’s curriculum and teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of a child.
Disagreement resolution (mediation): arrangements which all local authorities must provide to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents/carers whose children have SEN and the local authority or school. These must include an independent service with trained mediators, designed to bring the different parties together in an informal way to try to resolve the disagreement through discussion.
Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP): the plans are legal documents that local authorities have to follow and include information and support about the child/young person’s special education needs, as well as health and social care where relevant. The plans can start from a child’s birth and continue into further education and training and for some young people until they are 25 years old. The child/young person will own the plan, but there will also be a number of support agencies working with families as well. A child/young person’s viewpoint will be sought wherever possible whatever their circumstances and ability.The assessment process for an EHC plan will take into account all provision that is currently put into place and the information will be gathered from all involvements for the child/young person.
Early Years: birth to five years.
Early Years Action: collecting information about a child (0-5) who has special educational needs and requires help which is different from that provided as part of the usual curriculum, and designing a programme (often called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) for them. The programme will be drawn up by the early years practitioner/ teacher who works with the child and the SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO) and shared with parents.
Early Years Action Plus: seeking advice or support from external specialist services for a child who cannot progress adequately on Early Years Action, and drawing up a new or revised programme to that provided at Early Years Action.
Early Years settings: all pre-school education provision, such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries, childminders, portage services, pre-schools and District Specialist Centres.
Early Years Foundation Stage: the framework used by all early years settings which sets out standards and provides a flexible approach which supports learning and development until the end of the reception year at school.
Educational Psychologist (EP): a professional employed by the local authority to assess a child’s Special Educational Needs and to give advice to schools and settings as to how the child’s needs can be met.
Education Officer (EO): an officer of the local authority dealing with provision and placement of children with special educational needs, particularly those with a Statement or undergoing Statutory Assessment. See also Named Local Authority Officer and Assistant Education Officer.
Educational Welfare Officer (EWO): an officer of the local authority dealing with young people who have irregular attendance or frequent absence from school. EWOs look at reasons for attendance problems and work with teams from Social Care to identify and support children involved in child protection procedures.
Graduated approach: a model which recognises that children may need different levels of support at different stages in their early years or school lives.
Individual Education Plan (IEP): a plan written by an early years practitioner/teacher/SENCO, outlining the way the child’s needs are being met, and setting SMART targets and shared with parents.
Key Stages: the different stages of education that a child passes through:
Early Years Foundation Stage – age 0-5 (Early years setting, Nursery and Reception)
Key Stage one – age 5-7 (Years 1 and 2)
Key Stage two – age 7-11(Years 3,4, 5 and 6)
Key Stage three – age 11-14 (Years 7, 8 and 9)
Key Stage four – age 14-16 (Years 10 and 11)
Key Stage five – age 16-18 (Sixth form)
Learning difficulties: problems or conditions which make learning harder for the individual than it is for most people.
Local authority (LA): a local government body that is responsible for providing education. For children with special educational needs the LA is responsible for carrying out Statutory Assessments and maintaining Statements.
Mainstream school: an ordinary school which is for all children, not just those with special educational needs.
Maintained school: a state school. This includes community, foundation and voluntary aided schools.
Named LA Officer: the person from the local authority who will deal with a child’s case. This is the person that parents/carers and schools contact with specific queries about a child’s Statutory Assessment or Statement of Special Educational Needs. See also Education Officer and Assistant Education Officer.
National Curriculum: the framework which sets out standards and appropriate levels of achievement for children’s education, as laid down by the DfE.
Occupational Therapist (OT): a professional trained to give advice on equipment, adaptations and activities to support the learning/ social development of people with physical, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
Paediatrician (community): a doctor who specialises in children’s diseases and may be responsible for the continuing care of children with special educational needs both before school entry and in special and mainstream schools.
Parent Partnership Service: a service which provides information and support to parents/carers whose children have special educational needs.
Pastoral Support Plan (PSP): a plan drawn up by a school to support a child at serious risk of disaffection or exclusion. If a PSP is being written for a child who has special educational needs it should not replace their Individual Education Plan
‘P’ Levels: performance levels used to assess a child who is not yet working within the National Curriculum levels of attainment.
Provision: the extra or different help given to children with special educational needs.
Provision mapping: a way of identifying the range of provision available to all pupils in a school, which is additional to and different from the school’s differentiated curriculum. It can be used as part of the planning process for a child with additional needs.
Portage: home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs.
‘SMART’ targets: targets which are Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed. This is what targets for individual children should be like.
Special Educational Needs (SEN): the needs of children who have a learning difficulty, which means that they require special educational provision to be made for them. Children who have a learning difficulty find it harder to learn than the majority of children of the same age, or they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from accessing the education provided for other children.
Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO): the person responsible for the planning of special educational needs within school or early years settings.
(SENDIST) Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal: an independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by the local authority on Statutory Assessments and Statements.
Special School: a school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs.
Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD): learning difficulties in specific areas, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.
Speech & Language Therapist: a professional trained to give specialist assessments, advice and treatment for children with communication difficulties.
Statement of Special Educational Needs: a legal document that sets out a child’s needs and the extra help he/she should get. Education, Health and Care Plans are replacing statements.
Statutory Assessment: a very detailed assessment of a child’s special educational needs. It includes parental, educational, psychological and medical advice and also the advice of any other professional involved with the child. It may lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Transition Inclusion Support Meeting (TISM): a meeting held for children who require additional support during the transition to school, to plan a flexible and individual programme of transition into school life. It will involve parents/ carers as well as professionals who have been involved with the child, and representatives from the child’s new school
The following list contains abbreviations that you may see written in relation to a child’s Special Educational Needs:
ADD Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
AEO Assistant Education Officer
ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder
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BESD Behavioural, Emotional and Social Development
BSL British Sign Language
BSS Behaviour Support Service
CAF Common Assessment Framework
CoP Code of Practice
DCE Department for Children and Education
DfE Department for Education (government)
EA Equality Act
ENT Ear, Nose and Throat
EO Education Officer
EP Educational Psychologist
EWO Educational Welfare Officer
EY Early Years
FE Further Education
GP General Practitioner (your family doctor)
HI Hearing Impairment
IEP Individual Education Plan
IPS Independent Parental Supporter
LA Local Authority
MDSA Mid-Day Supervisory Assistant
MLD Moderate Learning Difficulties
NAS National Autistic Society
NC National Curriculum
NHS National Health Service
OT Occupational Therapist
PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
PSHE Personal Social and Health Education
PSP Pastoral Support Plan
SALT Speech and Language Therapist
SCD Social Communication Disorder
SEN Special Educational Needs
SENCO Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator
SENDIST Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal