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


The team who organise places in primary and secondary schools. 

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

Under the Children and Families Act 2014 local authorities must carry out a review of every EHC plan at least once every 12 months.

Appeal (also see SEND Tribunal)

In law, a SEND appeal is a formal request for a court to re-examine a decision made by local authority, about an EHC needs assessment or plan. 

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 can’t cope without their support. 

Children and Families Act 2014    

This law came into force on 1st September 2014. Part 3 of the Act sets out the new law on special educational needs and disability. The Act is supported by the SEND Regulations 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 Years. You can download a copy of the Children and Families Act (opens in a new window)

Child in Care (CIC) also known as looked after child (LAC)    

A child who is looked after by a local authority after a court has granted a care order 

Child in Need (CIN)    

A child who needs help from local authority services to be healthy or develop as they should.   

Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)     

CCGs are groups of professionals that work together to commission health services, ensuring there is sufficient capacity contracted to deliver the necessary services to people. 

Code of Practice (CoP)    

See SEND Code of Practice. 

Complex Communication (CCN) Team     

A service which gives specialist advice and support to schools about communication and interaction issues in some children with SEN. 

Direct payment    

A payment made directly to a parent or young person to purchase specific services. Under the Children and Families Act 2014 a Direct Payment may be made as part of a Personal Budget so that the parent or young person can buy certain services that are specified in their EHC plan.

Direct payments can only be used for provision provided on the school or college premises if the school or college agrees. 

Disagreement resolution    

Local authorities must provide independent disagreement resolution to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities, schools and other settings about SEND duties and provision. 

You can find more information on disagreement resolution in the SEND Code of Practice Section 11 Paragraph 6 to Section 11 Paragraph 10.

Early Help     

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

Early Years Adviser     

Someone who works with early years settings to support them to develop their practice. 

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)     

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old.

All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

Early years setting     

Early years settings can include childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools and foundation stage units.  

Education Act 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. 

Education Funding Agency (EFA)    

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. 

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment    

Local authorities must carry out an EHC needs assessment if a child or young person may need an EHC plan. The assessment is a detailed look at the special educational needs that the child or young person has and what help he or she may need in order to learn. 

It is sometimes called a statutory assessment.

You can find out more in the SEND Code of Practice Section 9 Paragraph 45 – Section 9 Paragraph 52.

Education Health and Care plan (EHC plan)    

An EHC plan describes the special educational needs that a child or young person has and the help that they will be given to meet them. It also includes the health and care provision that is needed. It is a legal document written by the local authority and is used for children and young people who have high support needs. 

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 Welfare Officer (EWO)    

Education Welfare Officers work with schools and families to ensure that every school age child is receiving a suitable, full-time education by encouraging regular attendance at 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). 

Enhanced transition plan    

A plan to help children and young people move into a new stage of their education, such as moving from secondary school to post-16 education. If the plan is enhanced there will be more stages involved and more support in place. 

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.
See Tribunal Guidance (opens in a new window) for more information. 

Fixed Term Exclusion (FTE)    

A temporary exclusion for a set number of days after which a child or young person can return to school. A child can only be removed for up to 45 school days in one school year. 

Further Education (FE)     

Education for young people who have left school (are over 16) but are not 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 SEND Code of Practice says that schools should follow a graduated approach when providing SEN Support. This is based on a cycle of:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Review

You can find out more about the graduated approach in the SEND code of Practice Section 6 Paragraph 44 to Section 6 Paragraph 56.

Health Visitor (HV)  

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 Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA)   

A registered charity that offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities. 

Independent Review Panel (IRP)  

An independent panel that the local authority must arrange if a parent requests a review of the decision by a school governing body to permanently exclude a child.   

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. 

Key Stage    

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


Someone who provides children, young people and parents with a single point of contact to help make sure the support they receive is co-ordinated. A keyworker could be provided directly by a local authority or local health organisation, a school or college, or from a voluntary or private sector body. 

Lead professional    

A professional who takes the lead to coordinate support and be a single point of contact for a family, when lots of services are involved with the child or family and a joined-up approach is needed. 

Learning Difficulty     

Difficulties in 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 or managing money. This 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 behavior. 

Local Authority (LA)

Local authorities are administrative offices that provide services within their local areas. There are 152 across England which are education authorities. More information about local government (opens in a new window)

Local Offer    

The Local Offer, published by every local authority, tells you what support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, and their families. It includes information about education, health and care provision. It also gives information about training, employment and independent living for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Mainstream school    

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

Maintained School  

 Any school overseen or ‘maintained’ by a local authority. 

Managed move    

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


Mediation is a type of disagreement resolution. Every local authority must provide independent mediation to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities about:

  • a decision not to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment
  • a decision not to draw up an EHC plan
  • the content of a final EHC plan or amended plan
  • a decision not to amend an EHC plan 
  • a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan

Mediation must also be provided on the health and social care elements of an EHC plan. 

You can find more information on mediation in the SEND Code of Practice Section 11 Paragraph 13 to Section 11 Paragraph 38.

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 Section 11 Paragraph 21 to Section 11 Paragraph 25.


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.  

Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET)    

A young person (16 or older) who is no longer at 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 organization that inspects and regulates settings that care for children and young people and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. 


Section 9 Paragraph 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. 

Parent Carer Forum 

A Parent Carer Forum is a representative local 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.

They have been established in most local authority areas.

For more information please visit: National Network of Parent Carer Forums (opens in a new window)

In Worcestershire the parent carer forum is Families in Partnership Worcestershire (opens in a new window)

In Herefordshire the parent carer forum is Parent Carer Voice Herefordshire (opens in a new window)

Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)    

A school based plan to help a child improve their social, emotional and behavioural skills. 

Personal Budget    

A Personal Budget is money set aside to fund support as part of an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from Education, Health and Social Care. 

Parents of children with an EHC plan and young people with an EHC plan can choose whether or not they wish to have a Personal Budget.

Preparing 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. Planning starts at about age 14. 

Reasonable adjustments 

Reasonable adjustments are changes schools and other settings are required to make to remove or minimize disadvantages. These could include: changes to physical features – for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom or providing extra support and aids (such as specialist teachers or equipment) 

Schools Forum    

Every local authority has a Schools Forum. It is 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. 

SEND Code of Practice    

This is the statutory guidance that supports Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

It tells local authorities, early years settings, schools, colleges, health and social care providers and others what they must and should do to identify, assess and provide for children and young people with SEN or disabilities.

You can download a full copy of the SEND Code of Practice (opens in a new winodw)

You can download a shorter version of the SEND guide for parents (opens in a new window) 

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 Paragraph 79 of the SEND Code of Practice. 

SEN support    

SEN support includes any help for children and young people with special educational needs (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. 

SEND Tribunal    

See First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability)


Should is a word that occurs frequently in the SEND Code of Practice.
Section i of the Introduction to the Code says:

… where the text uses the word ‘should’ it means that the guidance contained in this Code must be considered and that those who must have regard to it will be expected to explain any departure from it. 

This means that wherever the term ‘should is used all the organisations listed in Section iv of the Introduction to the Code must consider what the Code says.

However they may depart from it.


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 be signposted to other service providers. This means that they will be given information, including contact details, about other sources of help. 

Special Educational Needs (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.  

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)    

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) 

A SENCO is a qualified teacher in a school or maintained nursery school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision. 

Early years settings that are part of group provision arrangements are expected to identify an individual to perform the role of SENCO. 

Special School    

A school only for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. To go to a special school a child must have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. 

Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)    

Therapy for a child, young person or adult with speech, language or communication problems or with swallowing, drinking or eating difficulties. 

Statutory guidance     

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

Single Point of Access (SPA)    

The Single Point of Access (SPA) is the central referral point for the Integrated Children’s Services, including for speech and language therapy, autistic spectrum condition assessment 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.  

Team around the child/team around the family meeting (TAC or TAF)    

A meeting of parents/ carers and their child or young person, plus professional from education and sometimes health or social care. A child’s SEN and progress are discussed, and support planned and reviewed. 

Transition Plan     

A plan drawn up when your child is in year 9. It sets out the steps needed to help your child move to adult life. It should take account of the views of young people, parents and carers and the professionals involved. 


See SEND Tribunal.

Umbrella Pathway      

The Umbrella Pathway is a Worcestershire assessment process for children and young people whose difficulties could be explained by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Young person     

A young person is aged 16 to 25. 

You can also download a printable version of this glossary