Jargon Buster

It can be both confusing and frustrating to be part of a discussion when you don’t understand the language being used. This section explains the terms and abbreviations used in special educational needs. It is designed to help parents and carers understand what is being discussed or written about, relating to their child’s special educational needs (SEN).

Definitions of terms relating to special educational needs:


Acquired Brain Injury


Attention Deficit Disorder


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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. Contact Wiltshire Council if you would like a leaflet about the Annual Review System


Autistic Spectrum Disorder (now most often referred to as Autistic Spectrum Condition or ASC)
For further information see ASC entry.


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


Behavioural Emotional and Social Difficulties – also known as EBSD (Emotional Behavioural and Social Difficulties) and EBD (Emotional Behavioural difficulties) and under the proposed new Code of Practice will be known as SME Social Mental and Emotional needs.


British Sign Language


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service


A person who is looking after a child but isn’t their birth parent

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

This is a form that professionals complete to begin to look at what needs or support a child/young person may have. It helps to co-ordinate services so that you do not have to tell different professionals the same thing.


Present at birth


More than one significant problem

COP Code of Practice

A government document that schools, early years settings and local authorities follow when identifying children with SEN and meeting their needs

Curriculum entry levels

Entry level qualifications are for young people from 14 upwards who are not yet working at GCSE level. To ensure that small steps of achievement are recognised entry level is divided into three group’s entry level 1, entry level 2 and entry level 3.

Curriculum P levels/scales

P levels/scales provide a framework that is used to map a pupil’s progress with special educational needs who are working towards level 1 of the national curriculum. There are eight levels of P scales with P1 being the lowest and P 8 being the highest.

Department for Education (DfE)

A national government department


The way in which the early years setting/school’s curriculum and teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of a child


Disability Discrimination Act.

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.

District Inclusion Support Meeting (DISM)

A meeting (often held in a District Specialist Centre) to plan and co-ordinate services for children requiring intensive support in the Early Years.

Delegated budgets

Is regular funding given to schools on an annual basis by the local authority. It can be used to support pupils with special educational needs including those with a statement.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance or DLA is a benefit you can claim if your child needs extra help or looking after because of their special needs – See more at: http://www.askiris.org.uk/advice-for-parents/money-matters/what-is-disability-living-allowance/#sthash.MkiCe03v.dpuf

Educational psychology service (EPS)

Ed Psych: The educational psychology service provides advice, support to parents and schools. The services carries out assessments of children and young people who are having difficulties with learning, development, behaviour or social well-being.  They can help to find out why some children are having difficulties with learning in school.

Statement of special educational needs

The statement of special educational needs (SEN) is a legal document that the local authority produces and your child’s school must follow. It indentifies the help and support that your child is to be given to meet their needs.

Proposed statement

A draft copy of the statement of special educational needs, which parents/carers receive before the final statement is issued by the local authority.


Individual Education Plan


Local Authority


Learning Difficulty


Moderate Learning Difficulties


Multi-Sensory Impairment

Note in lieu

If a statutory assessment has been carried out and the local authority decides not to write a statement, the local authority could issue a note in lieu of a statement to parents and your child’s school. The note in lieu outlines the child’s special educational needs, why the local authority has decided not to issue a statement and any recommendations regarding support for a child.


Inclusion is when children with special educational needs are educated in mainstream schools. Children educated in this way should be involved in school activities with other children.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

An individual education plan is designed to help children who are experiencing difficulties in school to improve their skills and knowledge at their own pace.

Classroom support

Schools have people who work in classrooms alongside teachers to support children to get the most out of their learning. These people are known by different titles including:

  • Learning support assistant (LSA)
  • Teacher assistant (TA)

Named officer or caseworker

This person liaises with parents/carers and schools regarding a child’s statutory assessment. They also work on producing the statement of special educational needs and may be invited to the annual reviews, then will make any necessary amendments following the review.

Person Centred Planning (PCP)

Person centred planning puts the young person at the centre of planning and focuses on their aspirations. It is about families and professionals making plans with a young person and not for them.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

PECS is used as an aid to communication, for children and young people with autistic spectrum disorder and special educational needs. It helps them to communicate their needs and wants. PECS is used in schools, home and other venues.


Physical Disability


Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties


Parent Partnership Service


Pupil Referral Unit


Pastoral Support Plan


Reading Age


Speech and Language Therapist


Special Educational Needs


Severe Learning Difficulties

Special Needs Assessment and Planning Team (SNAPT)

SNAPT is a multi-professional panel, which meets weekly in term. SNAPT are part of the local authority and advises the LA of provision for a child with special educational needs (SEN).

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)

A SENCo is a teacher who is responsible for co-ordinating the special educational needs support in schools. Every school has a SENCo.

Special educational needs tribunal

This is an independent body that hears appeals by parents against local authority decisions on assessments and statements.A tribunal decision is binding to both parties.

Transition (primary-secondary school)

If your child has a statement, the move from primary to secondary school should be discussed at your child’s year 5 annual review. Transition is about planning for when your child moves to secondary school.

Transition (secondary school – when leaves school)

If your child has a statement, in year 9 at school they will start to have transitional annual reviews. Transition is about planning for when a young person leaves school, and what they might like to do. A Connexions PA will start to attend the meetings. A transition plan will be written at the year 9 annual reviews and will be reviewed every year till the young person leaves school.

Transition plan

A transition plan is a document that records what has been said at the transitional annual review and if any action is to be taken and by whom.


Visual Impairement