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A publicly funded school that has freedom from local authority control.

Access arrangements
Making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to exam conditions so that a child or young person with special educational needs is not at a disadvantage compared with others.

A law that has been passed by Parliament.

The team in the local authority to organise places in primary and secondary schools.

A person who can speak or write in support of someone.

Annual Review (AR)
A review of an Educational, Health, Care plan. This must be done by the local authority at least once a year on or before the anniversary of when the EHC plan was first issued or the anniversary of the last review.

Appeal (also see ‘Tribunal’)
In law, a SEND appeal is a formal request for a court to re-examine a decision made by a local authority about an EHC needs assessment or EHC plan.

Additionally Resourced Provision (ARP)
A unit attached to a mainstream school providing specified support to pupils with additional needs

Behaviour which challenges
Behaviour can be described as challenging when it is of such an intensity, frequency or duration as to threaten the quality of life and/or the physical safety of the individual or others and is likely to lead to responses that are restrictive, aversive or result in exclusion

CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
Services that support children and young people with mental health needs.

Anyone who is unpaid and cares for a family member who would be unable to manage without their support.

Children and Families Act 2014
An Act of Parliament that sets out some of the laws about adoption, children in care and children and young people with special educational needs.

Child in Need (CIN)
A child who is thought to need extra help from children’s services if they are to achieve or maintain a ‘reasonable standard of health or development’. This is defined in law (Section 17 of the Children Act 1989) and includes all disabled children.

Child Looked After (CLA)
A child or young person under 18 years old who is in the care of the Local Authority.

Code of Practice (CoP)
Legal guidance for local authorities, health bodies, schools and colleges that sets out their duties to provide for those with special educational needs.

Children and Young People
A child is anyone under the age of 18. However, there are specific laws protecting young people from 16 upwards. The new SEND Code of Practice states that a young person is someone between 16-25 years old.

The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Direct Payments
An agreed amount of money that comes from an EHC plan personal budget to provide the provision detailed in the EHC plan.

Early Help
The first response given when a child, young person or family needs extra help. It’s the way that all services and professionals work together to support the needs of families.

Early Years Settings
Pre-school education such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and foundation stage units.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Sets the standard for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
A legal document that describes a child or young person’s special educational, health and care needs and sets out the extra help they will be given to meet those needs.

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)
The first step towards an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). It’s a legal process followed by a local authority which involves assessing a child or young person’s needs and gathering the views of parents, young people and professionals.

Educational Psychologist (EP)
An expert in the educational needs of children. They assess children and young people and advise parents, schools or the local authority about how to meet a child’s educational needs.

Education Other than at School (EOTAS)
Education or special educational provision of children or young people outside of a formal educational setting (ie School).

Elective Home Education (EHE)
Choosing to educate your child or young person at home.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)
A term that applies to children and young people whose first language is not English.

When a child is removed from school by the head teacher for either a fixed term (suspended) or permanently (expelled).

First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability)
The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is a legal body. The Tribunal hears appeals from parents of children with SEN, and young people with SEN, about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. You can find out more at www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/send

Further Education (FE)
Education for young people who have left school (are over 16) but are not at university or studying for a degree

A mix of parents, staff and local people who help a school by looking at policies, budget spending, staff recruitment and the way the school is run.

Graduated approach
The process used in nurseries, schools and colleges to assess a child/young person’s special educational needs, plan their support in place and then review it. Also called Assess, Plan, Do, Review.

Health Visitor
A nurse working in the community to support the health and development of children under 5 and their families, including giving information, support and care.

Independent Review Panel (IRP)
An independent panel that the local authority must arrange if a parent asks for the review of a decision by a school governing body, to permanently exclude a child.

Independent School
A school that is neither maintained by a local authority nor an Academy but is registered under section 464 of the Education Act 1996.

Information Advice and Support Service (IASS)
Information, Advice and Support Services give support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. There is an IAS service in every county in England.

Integrated SEND Service (iSEND)
Department within Buckinghamshire local authority who support children and young people who have Educational, Health and Care plans or those referred for an EHC needs assessment.

Key Stage
The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called key stages. There are four key stages based around a child’s age.

Learning difficulties
Difficulties that someone may have gaining knowledge and skills to the level normally expected of those of the same age.

Learning disability
A reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, such as household tasks, socialising or managing money, which affects someone for life.

Learning Support Assistant (LSA)
Someone who works under the direction of a class teacher to help children with their learning or behaviour.

Local Authority (LA)
The organisations responsible for a range of vital services for people and businesses in defined areas, such as social care, schools and housing. Buckinghamshire Council is the local authority for all of Buckinghamshire.

Local Offer
The education, health and social care services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to 25 years old.

Mainstream school
This is a school that provides education for all children, whether or not they have special educational needs or disabilities.

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

Managed move
A voluntary agreement between a school, parents/carers and a pupil, to change school under controlled circumstances. Often used as an alternative to permanent exclusion.

A way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. It involves and independent third party – a mediator – who helps both sides come to an agreement. Parents must consider mediation as part of the appeals process for most disagreements about an EHC plan or needs assessment.

National Curriculum
This sets out a clear, full and statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils, determining what should be taught and setting attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported.

NHS Continuing Care
Support provided for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness.

NHS Continuing Healthcare
The name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for people aged 18 and over who are not in hospital but have complex ongoing healthcare needs. It can be provided in any setting, for example in the home or in a residential care home.

Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET)
A young person (16 or older) who is not in school or college, or who isn’t working or being trained for work.

Something that is not required by law.

Occupational Therapist (OT)
A trained professional who provides practical support to help people overcome barriers that prevent them from doing the activities that matter to them, including help to be more independent.

The organisation that inspects and regulates settings that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

What your child or young person will be able to do as a result of the support they are given. Outcomes should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

Personal Budget
For children and young people with an EHC plan, the local authority can be asked to identify a personal budget. This is the estimated amount of money needed to make the special educational support stated in the EHC plan.

Home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs.

Preparation for Adulthood
The planning process that supports a young person with special educational needs get ready for life as an adult. It can include developing skills and knowledge for independence. Panning starts at about age 14.

The resources (equipment; time; people; place) required to respond to a need in order to achieve an outcome.

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
Any school established and maintained by a local authority under section 19 (2) of the Education Act 1996 which is specially organised to provide education for pupils who would otherwise not receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason.

QCA: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Reasonable adjustments
A nursery, school or college taking positive steps to make sure that children and young people with SEND can take part fully in the education provided, and that they can enjoy the other benefits, facilities, and services that the school provides for other pupils.

SEN Support
The support given in early years settings, school or college to a child or young person with SEND.

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.

Short Break
An activity (daytime or overnight) provided for a child or young person with SEND to give their family an opportunity to focus on other things.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal (SENDIST)
The tribunal service responsible for appeals against local authority decisions about special educational needs and support.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational support to be made.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
A teacher with responsibility for planning special educational needs services, usually within a school or college.

Special Educational Provision
Provision that is different from or additional to that normally available to pupils or students of the same age.

Special School
A school only for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. A child must have an Education, Health and Care plan to go to a special school.

Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)
Therapy for a child or young person with speech, language or communication problems, or with swallowing, drinking or eating difficulties.

Something that is related to, or set by, law.

Single Point of Access (SPA)
The Single Point of Access is the central referral point for Children’s Services, including for speech and language therapy, autistic spectrum condition assessments and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

Teaching Assistant (TA)
A member of school staff who works under the direction of the class teacher to help children with their learning or behaviour.

An informal and independent forum that hears SEN-related appeals in relation to an EHC plan. This includes appeals about refusals to conduct an EHC needs assessment or against the contents of an EHC plan.

UPN: Unique Pupil Reference Number
VIT: Visually Impaired Team

Voluntary aided school: A school set up and owned by a voluntary body, usually a church body, largely financed through an LEA. The governing body employ the staff, and control pupil admissions and religious education.

Voluntary controlled School: A school set up by a voluntary body, usually a church body (generally Church of England). Totally funded through an LEA. The LEA employs the staff.

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.


Very uneasy or frightened about a situation or thing. Children who have difficulties with high anxiety are extremely worried and feel that something threatening at times but anxiety starts to become problem when it gets in the way of everyday life, when the “alarm system” is “turned up too high”.
There are difficulties coping with ordinary situations because of how the brain filters sounds and noises. When the brain filters sounds differently due to its wiring, this means that every day sounds can be either too loud or uncomfortable or not clear enough.
These words are used to describe children who have marked difficulties with paying attention, staying on task and concentrating for the length of time that typically developing children of their age can cope with. Often difficulties in this area are linked with issues in other areas such as problems with working memory or auditory processing issues.
A child with emotional regulation difficulties has very marked difficulties controlling how he/she responds to events or other children’s behaviour in a way that would be appropriate for his/her age.
Inability to control when bladder/bowels empty, often referred to generally as incontinence.
Children with executive function difficulties find it very challenging to: Plan, organise their things or themselves, figure out and stick to a logical sequence, group, sort and order.

“Expressive language” means being able to put thoughts into words and sentences, in a way that makes sense. It is “what comes out”.

“Receptive processing or receptive language” means the ability to understand or comprehend language, including non-verbale gestures, interpreting a question as a question and understanding the concepts such as “under”. Receptive processing is “what gets through”.

These are words to describe children who get tired much more easily and/or are tired for longer periods than their peers.
Words used to describe conditions that mean children are ill and off school more often and for longer than their peers.
This means the child feels “bad” about oneself or feels negative about this or her ability to do things.
Children with mobility impairments have a disability which causes any of their limbs or hands to lose their ability to work like typically developing children. This type of disability can include the use of arms/legs and hands.
“Motor Skills” is a professional term for “skills that involve actions of muscle groups”. They are typically categorised into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
“Gross motor skills” means the movement and co ordination of the arms, legs and other large body parts and movements.
“Fine motor skills” are involved in the smaller movements of the wrists, hands and fingers. Children with difficulties with fine motor skills often find handwriting and pencil control very difficult as well as using their hands for other learning and play tasks like using scissors etc.
Children who have needs in this area, display behaviours that cause real concern due to lack of skills in assessing danger and adapting their behaviour accordingly.
This professional term, covers the needs of children who have marked difficulties understanding the concept of how much time has gone by, measuring and estimating time and how long things may take compared to that typically developing children their age.

Children who play repetitively and insist on having toys set up in a certain way are extremely focused on the detail of things and this drives their behaviour.

Flexibility skills are thinking skills that enable children to adjust to changes in situations, shift strategies, think in more mays than one and adapt their behaviour. Children often find sharing ideas, making room for ideas of others and how to use toys very difficult.
Children who “school refuse” or have “school phobia” are unable attend school because of emotional distress. It is an inability to cope with school environment and/or demands, often relating to the child’s SEND (Special Education Needs/Disabilities).
The child or young person has problems with falling asleep and/or sleeping through the night compared to typically developing children.
Children who have difficulties in this are often interrupt and “butt into” other’s conversations and often “talk at” rather than “with” other children.
Being kept apart or at “arm’s length” by other children either deliberately or unintentionally. Or: being alone due to the child’s own choosing because of difficulties with coping with play and social situations.
Difficulties with spatial awareness mean a child has difficulty absorbing and understanding the location and distance of people and objects in relation to their own body.

Last updated: October 2023

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