Academy A state-funded school in England that is directly funded by the Department for Education, through the Education Funding Agency. Academies are self-governing and independent of local authority control.
Annual review The review of an EHC plan which the local authority must make as a minimum every 12 months.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Children and young people with ASD, including Asperger's Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.
Care Plan A record of the health and/ or social care services that are being provided to a child or young person to help them manage a disability or health condition. The Plan will be agreed with the child's parent or the young person and may be contained within a patient's medical record or maintained as a separate document. Care Plans are also maintained by local authorities for looked after children - in this instance the Care Plan will contain a Personal Education Plan in addition to the health and social care elements.
Carer For the purpose of the Code, a carer is a person named by an LA to care for a child for whom the social services department has parental responsibility, i.e. a child who is the subject of a care order and who has been placed in a residential or foster placement. The carer may qualify as a parent for the purposes of the Education Acts because he or she has care of the child (see the definition of 'Parent'). If so, he or she will have a role to play in the consideration of a child's SEN.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) These services assess and treat children and young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. They range from basic pastoral care, such as identifying mental health problems, to specialist 'Tier 4'. CAMHS, which provide in-patient care for those who are severely mentally ill.
Child protection register In each area covered by a social services department, a central register must be maintained that lists all the children in the area considered to be suffering from, or are likely to suffer, significant harm and for which there is a child protection plan. This is not a register of children who have been abused but of children for whom there are currently unresolved child protection issues.
Children 'in need' A child is deemed to be 'in need' if:
• he or she is unlikely, or does not have the opportunity, to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without provision made by the LA
• his or her health and development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired without the provision of services by the LA
• If he or she is disabled (Section 17(10), Children Act 1989).
Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool (CHAT) An assessment tool for young people in the youth justice system. It ensures that young people in the secure estate and in the community receive a comprehensive assessment of their physical and mental health, substance misuse and neuro-disability needs on entry to the system.
Compulsory school age A child is of compulsory school age from the beginning of the term following their 5th birthday until the last Friday of June in the year in which they become 16, provided that their 16th birthday falls before the start of the next school year.
Curriculum All pupils should have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. The National Curriculum Inclusion Statement states that teachers should set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty should be identified and addressed at the outset. Lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement. In many cases, such planning will mean that pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full national curriculum.
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) An allowance for undergraduate or post-graduate students who have a disability or long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia which affects their ability to study. It can be used to pay for things such as special equipment, a note-taker or transport costs.
Disagreement resolution This is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities to provide a quick and non-adversarial way of resolving disagreements between parents or young people and bodies responsible for providing education, whether the child or young person has an EHC plan or not, or health and social care in relation to EHC assessments and plans. Disagreement resolution services can also be used in cases of disagreement between local authorities and health commissioning bodies during EHC needs assessments, the drawing up of EHC plans or the reviewing of those plans.
Dyscalculia Pupils with dyscalculia have difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills. Pupils may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures.
Dyslexia Pupils with dyslexia have a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, despite progress in other areas. Pupils may have poor reading comprehension, handwriting and punctuation. They may also have difficulties in concentration and organisation, and in remembering sequences of words. They may mispronounce common words or reverse letters and sounds in words.
Dyspraxia Pupils with dyspraxia are affected by an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing clumsy. Gross and fine motor skills are hard to learn and difficult to retain and generalise. Pupils may have poor balance and coordination and may be hesitant in many actions (running, skipping, hopping, holding a pencil, doing jigsaws, etc.). Their articulation may also be immature and their language late to develop. They may also have poor awareness of body position and poor social skills.
Early Help Assessment A social care assessment of a child and his or her family, designed to identify needs at an early stage and enable suitable interventions to be put in place to support the family.
Early Support Programme The Early Support Programme co-ordinates health, education and social care support for the parents and carers of disabled children and young people from birth to adulthood. A key worker is assigned to families that join the Programme.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) The foundation stage begins when children reach the age of three. Many children attend an early education setting soon after their third birthday. The foundation stage continues until the end of the reception year and is consistent with the National Curriculum. It prepares children for learning in Year 1, when programmes of study for Key Stage 1 are taught.
Early years provider A provider of early education places for children under five years of age. This can include state-funded and private nurseries as well as child minders.
Education Funding Agency (EFA) An arm of the Department for Education that manages the funding for learners between the ages of 3 and 19 years and for those with SEN or disabilities between the ages of 3 and 25. The EFA allocates funding to 152 local authorities for maintained schools and voluntary aided schools. It is also responsible for funding and monitoring academies, University Technical Colleges, studio schools and free schools, as well as building maintenance programmes for schools and sixth-form colleges.
Education supervision order This is an order that LAs, under section 36 of the Children Act 1989, can apply for to put a child of statutory school age who is not being properly educated under the supervision of the LA, with the intention of ensuring he or she receives efficient full-time education suited to his or her age, aptitude, ability and any special educational needs, and that sufficient support, advice and guidance are provided to the parents.
Education welfare officer This is a person employed by an LA to help parents and LAs meet their respective statutory obligations in relation to school attendance. Education welfare officers also carry out related functions such as negotiating alternative educational provision for excluded pupils. In some LAs, education welfare officers are known as education social workers.
Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) An EHC plan details the education, health and social care support that is to be provided to a child or young person who has SEN or a disability. It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment of the child or young person has determined that an EHC plan is necessary, and after consultation with relevant partner agencies.
Educational Psychologist (EP) In seeking advice and information for EHC needs assessments, psychological advice and information must be sought from an educational psychologist who should normally be employed or commissioned by the local authority. The educational psychologist should consult any other psychologists known to be involved with the child or young person.
Elected members The elected members of a county council or unitary local authority (as opposed to the salaried officials of the council or local authority). Some elected members have a lead responsibility for specific areas of policy, for example the Lead Member for Children's Services.
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.
Free school A free school is a type of academy, which is free to attend, but is not controlled by the local authority. Free schools receive state funding via the Education Funding Agency. Parents, teachers, businesses or charities can submit an application to the Department for Education to set up a free school.
Further education (FE) college A college offering continuing education to young people over the compulsory school age of 16. The FE sector in England includes general further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes.
Graduated approach A model of action and intervention in early education settings, schools and colleges to help children and young people who have special educational needs. The approach recognises that there is a continuum of special educational needs and that, where necessary, increasing specialist expertise should be brought to bear on the difficulties that a child or young person may be experiencing.
Health and Wellbeing Board A Health and Wellbeing Board acts as a forum where local commissioners across the NHS, social care and public health work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population and reduce health inequalities. The boards are intended to increase democratic input into strategic decisions about health and wellbeing services, strengthen working relationships between health and social care and encourage integrated commissioning of health and social care services.
Healthwatch England Healthwatch England is an independent consumer champion, gathering and representing the views of the public about health and social care services in England. It operates both at a national and local level and ensures the views of the public and people who use services are taken into account. Healthwatch England works as part of the Care Quality Commission.
Healthy Child Programme The Healthy Child Programme covers pregnancy and the first five years of a child's life, focusing on a universal preventative service that provides families with a programme of screening, immunisation, health and development reviews, supplemented by advice around health, wellbeing and parenting.
Hearing impairment (HI) Pupils with an HI range from those with a mild hearing loss to those who are profoundly deaf. They cover the whole ability range. For educational purposes, pupils are regarded as having an HI if they require hearing aids, adaptations to their environment and/ or particular teaching strategies to access the concepts and language of the curriculum. A number of pupils with an HI also have an additional disability or learning difficulty. Hearing loss may be because of conductive or sensorineural problems and can be measured on a decibel scale. Four categories are generally used: mild, moderate, severe and profound. Some pupils with a significant loss communicate through sign instead of, or as well as, speech.
Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) The appointment of an IRO is a statutory requirement for local authorities under the Adoption and Children Act 2002. IROs make an important contribution to the goal of significantly improving outcomes for looked after children. Their primary focus is to quality assure the care planning process for each child, and to ensure that his or her current wishes and feelings are given full consideration.
Independent school A school that is not maintained by a local authority and is registered under section 464 of the Education Act 1996. Section 347 of the Act sets out the conditions under which an independent school may be approved by the Secretary of State as being suitable for the admission of children with EHC plans.
Independent supporter A person recruited locally by a voluntary or community sector organisation to help families going through an EHC needs assessment and the process of developing an EHC plan. This person is independent of the local authority and will receive training, including legal training, to enable him or her to provide this support.
Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) Joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) analyse the health needs of populations to inform and guide commissioning of health, wellbeing and social care services within local authority areas. The JSNA's central role is to act as the overarching primary evidence base for health and wellbeing boards to decide on key local health priorities.
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 Difficulties Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.
Maintained school For the purposes of this Code, schools in England that are maintained by a local authority - any community, foundation or voluntary school, community special or foundation special school.
Mediation This is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities which is designed to help settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities over EHC needs assessments and plans and which parents and young people can use before deciding whether to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal about decisions on assessment or the special educational element of a plan. Mediation can cover any one or all three elements of an EHC plan and must be offered to the parent or young person when the final plan is issued, but they are not able to appeal to the Tribunal about the health and social care aspects of the plan.
Moderate Learning Difficulty (MLD) Pupils with MLDs will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum despite appropriate interventions. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum. They should only be recorded as MLD if additional educational provision is being made to help them to access the curriculum. Pupils with MLDs have much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in understanding concepts. They may also have an associated speech and language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and under-developed social skills.
Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI) Pupils with MSI have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties. They are sometimes referred to as deafblind but may have some residual sight and/ or hearing. Many also have additional disabilities but their complex needs mean it may be difficult to ascertain their intellectual abilities. Pupils with MSI have much greater difficulty accessing the curriculum and the environment than those with a single sensory impairment. They have difficulties in perception, communication and in the acquisition of information. Incidental learning is limited. The combination can result in high anxiety and multi-sensory deprivation. Pupils need teaching approaches that make good use of their residual hearing and vision, together with their other senses. They may need alternative means of communication.
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.
Non-maintained special school Schools in England approved by the Secretary of State under section 342 of the Education Acct 1996 as special schools which are not maintained by the state but charge fees on a non-profit-making basis. Most non-maintained special schools are run by major charities or charitable trusts.
Ofsted Office for Standards in Education, a non-Ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England. Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) form its professional arm.
Parent Under section 576 of the Education Act 1996, the term 'parent' includes any person who is not a parent of the child, but has parental responsibility (see below) or who cares for him or her.
Parent Carer Forum A Parent Carer Forum 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
Parent Partnership Services 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, Parent Partnership Services 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.
Parental responsibility Parental responsibility is defined under Section 3 (1) of the Children Act 1989 as meaning all the duties, rights, powers, responsibilities and authority which parents have with respect to their children and their children's property. Under Section 2 of the Children Act 1989, parental responsibility falls upon:
• all mothers and fathers who were married to each other at the time of the child's birth (including those who have since separated or divorced)
• mothers who were not married to the father at the time of the child's birth, and
• fathers who were not married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, but who have obtained parental responsibility either by agreement with the child's mother or through a court order
Under Section 12 of the Children Act 1989, where a court makes a residence order in favour of any person who is not the parent or guardian of the child, that person has parental responsibility for the child while the residence order remains in force.
Under section 33 (3) of the Children Act 1989, while a care order is in force with respect to a child, the social services department designated by the order will have parental responsibility for that child, and will have the power (subject to certain provisions) to determine the extent to which a parent or guardian of the child may meet his or her parental responsibility for the child. The social services department cannot have parental responsibility for a child unless that child is the subject of a care order, except for very limited purposes where an emergency protection order is in force under Section 44 of the Children Act 1989.
Peripatetic teacher (or specialist, advisory, or support teacher) This is a teacher with specific expertise who travels from school to school and is employed by the LA to give appropriate specialist advice and support to the child and the school. Often he or she will also teach children with SEN on a sessional basis, usually when an individual school does not justify the services of a full time teacher for the purpose.
Personal Budget A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. The funds can be held directly by the parent or young person, or may be held and managed on their behalf by the local authority, school, college or other organisation or individual and used to commission the support specified in the EHC plan. Personal Education Plan An element of a Care Plan maintained by a local authority in respect of a looked after child, which sets out the education needs of the child. If a looked after child has an EHC plan, the regular reviews of the EHC plan should, where possible, coincide with reviews of the Personal Education Plan. Portage Planned, home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs. Local authorities usually provide Portage services. The Portage service is named after the town of Portage, Wisconsin, USA. There is an active and extensive network of Portage services in the UK, developed by the National Portage Association, which provides a Code of Practice and accredited training.
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty (PMLD) Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care. They are likely to need sensory stimulation and a curriculum broken down into very small steps. Some pupils communicate by gesture, eye pointing or symbols, others by very simple language. Their attainments are likely to remain in the early range throughout their school careers.
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.
SEN Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) This is an independent tribunal set up by an Act of Parliament for determining appeals by parents against their LA about children's SEN, where parents cannot reach agreement with the LA. SENDIST also considers parents' claims of disability discrimination in schools.
Sensory Needs Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/ or equipment to access their learning, or habilitation support. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties.
Severe Learning Difficulty (SLD) Pupils with SLDs have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. This has a major effect on their ability to participate in the school curriculum without support. They may also have difficulties in mobility and coordination, communication and perception and the acquisition of self-help skills. Pupils with SLDs will need support in all areas of the curriculum. They may also require teaching of self-help, independence and social skills. Some pupils may use sign and symbols but most will be able to hold simple conversations.
Special Educational Need (SEN) A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A child of compulsory school age or a young person h