Special educational needs and disability jargon buster

Go to the Local Offer homepage

Additional needs terms explained

Read explanations of commonly used terms that relate to children and young people with additional needs.

Visit the Local Offer explained page to find out more about what the Local Offer means to you.


Acoustic adjustments to teaching areas, use of Makaton and Sign Language

An adjustment of sound to ensure correct acoustics for hearing impaired students. A communication system for limited or no verbal vocabulary, based on nouns.


Attention Deficit Disorder. Please visit the NHS UK website for further information.


Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder. Please visit the ADHD Foundation website for further information.

Additional time

This is an addition 10% of allocated examination time applied. For some pupils additional arrangements and adjustments can be made to enable them to fully access a range of tests.


A person who speaks up for you or helps you to speak up for yourself.

Annual Review

An Annual Review comes under the Education Act 1996 local authorities had to carry out a review of every Statement of Special Educational Need at least once every 12 months.
Under the Children and Families Act 2014 local authorities must carry out a review of every EHC plan at least once every 12 months. A child's statement must be reviewed at least once a year. The review is a chance to look in detail at your child's progress in the past year, and decide whether any changes need to be made to the statement. Your views and your child's views are an important part of this process.


Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Please visit The National Autistic Society website for further information.


This is when someone works out what type of help and support you need.


Age Weighted Pupil Unit 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.



Behavioural Emotional & Social Difficulties. Please visit the Contact a Family website for further information.


This is the money people get from the Government to help them.

Brain Breaks

It depends with each school, it’s a break from an activity which may include a physical activity or a quiet reflective break.

Broker or Care Manager

This is someone who works for social care services. They will help you plan and organise support to meet your social care needs.


Care Planning Approach (CPA)

Care Planning Approach.

Care Quality Commission

This is the regulator for all health and social care services in England. A regultor is an organisation which checks services meet government standards or rules.


Common Assessment Framework.

Catch up Numeracy

A structured one-to-one intervention for learners who struggle with numeracy.


Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service.

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. Please visit the Government's Legislation website for further information.


CCG replaced by the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board website


Code of Practice.


Child Protection. Please visit the Wokingham Safeguarding Children Board website for further information.



Developmental Co-ordination Disorder. Please visit the Contact a Family website for further information.

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 agree.

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 11.6 to 11.10.EAL.



English as an Additional Language.

Early Years Intervention (EYIP) 

This is a plan drawn up by the provider in collaboration with parents to identify specific future outcomes and targets for the child. Outcomes are written in terms of what it is that parents/staff are hoping the child will be able to do next. Progress is monitored regularly and support adapted as appropriate, to ensure progress for the child.

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. However there is a transition period until 2018. This means, for example, that Statements of Special Educational Need that were in place before 1st September 2014 will continue to have legal force until the child or young person transfers to an EHC plan.

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.

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 by visiting the Government's website in the SEND Code of Practice sections 9.45 – 9.52.

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. lease visit the NHS Choices website for further information. Please visit the Wokingham's Borough Council website for further information.

EHC Panel

A panel of Local Authority representative, Education Health and Care(EHC) Co-ordinator, Educational Psychologist and Social Care professionals, they discuss information available and what needs they will meet for the child.


Educational Psychologist.


Educational Welfare Officer, they oversee attendance at schools.


EVOLVE is an Internet-based system. The system is intended for internal use within establishments for planning, notification and approval of all levels of offsite visits, including repeat trips such as Year 4/5 swimming lessons at the local baths and sports team fixtures. It is also intended for notifying the Local Authority of visits which include self-led adventurous activities, fieldwork trips to open or "wild" country, and all trips overseas.


Fidget Mats/Fidget objects

Concentration toys

First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability)

The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is a specialist judicial 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 about special needs disability tribunal overview  by visiting the GOV.UK website.

Floating Support

This is a form of support that can help you with any problems you have with keeping your home.

Foam Letters & other multi-sensory resources

Using all the senses in order to assist in learning.


Free School Meals.


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 sections 6.44 to 6.56.

Green and Red behaviour charts

Behaviour Charts.



Hearing Impairment.


Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS)

Information, Advice and Support Service, also known as SENDIASS. A free, confidential and impartial service that supports children and young people with SEN, and their parents.

Independent Supporter

A person recruited 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.

Individual Support Plan(ISP)

Individual Support Plan

J - K


Key Stage One ( Years 1 and 2)


Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)

Learning Difficulty Assessments set out what additional learning support a young person needed when continuing their education into some form of post-16 education or training.
From 1 September 2014 Learning Difficulty Assessments will be replaced by EHC plans. Local authorities must transfer young people who already have provision as a result of an LDA to the new SEND system by 1 September 2016 if they are staying in further education or training after that date.

Local Authority/Authorities/LA

Local authorities are administrative offices that provide services within their local areas. There are 152 across England which are education authorities. For more information about local government, see the Government's website; Understand how your Council works.

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. For further information visit ourWokingham’s Local Offer website for further information.

Local Transition Plan

Every local authority must publish a plan that explains when and how Statements of Special Educational Need will be transferred to the new system, as well as information for young people in further education and training who receive support as a result of a Learning Difficulties Assessment.


Looked After Child.


Mainstream School

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

Makaton Sign Language

A communication system for children/young people/adults with limited or no verbal vocabulary, based on nouns.


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 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 11.13 to 11.38.

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 11.21 to 11.25.


Moderate Learning Difficulty. Please visit the NHS UK website for further information.


This is a sum of money given to someone who wants to buy their own home. This is a loan which means it has to be paid back to the bank.

Multi-sensory approaches

Learning through senses.


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.



National Curriculum.


Graded Maths Intervention.

Nurture Group

Happens within schools, assists to build self-esteem, confidence, and social skills.



Occupational Therapist. Please visit the British Association of Occupational Therapists website for further information.


Section 9.66 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. In Wokingham the Parent Carer Forum is SEND Voices Wokingham website, they can also be contacted by Email. 

Please visit the Contact a Family website and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums websites for further information.

Parent Partnership

This service is now called SENDIASS or IASS.

Personal Budget

A Personal Budget for adults is money that is allocated by Adult Social Care for you to pay for care or support to meet your assessed needs. You can take your personal budget as a direct payment, or choose to leave us to arrange services (sometimes known as a managed budget) - or a combination of the two.

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


Pastoral Support Programme.

Private Landlord

This is the person who rents out accommodation for a sum of money each month.

Q - R


This is available for Numeracy, Science and the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling.

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are changes schools and other settings are required to make which 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).

Registered Care

This is accommodation where suppoort is provided by the same organisation that provides the housing. These are usually larger houses and have more people living there.

Reward Systems

A rewarding systems, could be stars, stickers, extra play time etc.



Speech & Language Therapy. Please visit the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website for further information.


Special Educational Needs. Please visit our I think my child might have special educational needs web page for further information.


Special Educational Needs & Disability. Please visit our I think my child might have special educational needs web page for further information.


Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.


Specific Learning Difficulty.


Social Communication, Emotional Regulation Transactional Support.

School Action/Action Plus

This describes the additional or different support for children with SEN given by schools under the previous (2001) SEN Code of Practice. This support was for children with SEN who did not have a Statement of Special Educational Need. This has now been replaced by SEN Support.

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.

School Nurse

School nurses provide a variety of services such as providing health and sex education within schools, carrying out developmental screening, undertaking health interviews and administering immunisation programmes.


This means someone will write as the child tells them to write.

Section 139A Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)

See Learning Difficulty Assessment.


Social Communication, Emotional Regulation Transactional Support.

SEND Code of Practice 2014

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, heath 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 on the Government's website. 
Please visit the government’s website for further information on a shorter version.


Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service. A free, confidential and impartial service that supports children and young people with SEN, and their parents.

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.

SEN Support

SEN support includes any help for children and young people with 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.
SEN support replaces Early Years Action/Action Plus and School Action/Action Plus.

SEND Tribunal

See First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability).

SEND Pathfinder

SEND Pathfinders were set up in 2011 to test out the reforms the Government were proposing to introduce as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. Please visit the Send Pathfinder website for further information.

Sensory Aids

Assistive technology devices for people who are blind, visually impaired, or hearing impaired. These devices may include hearing aids, FM systems, auditory trainers, eyeglasses, low vision aids, reading devices, and telecommunication devices for the deaf.

Sensory breaks, circuits and support

A range of exercises done throughout the day; depends on the OT(Occupational Therapist) report.

Sensory Circuits

A Sensory Circuit is a series of exercises that a child works through in a specific structured order, similar to circuit training that you might do at a gym. There are 3 types of exercises;

  • Alerting- which wakes the body and the senses up.
  • Organising-which require the child to organise their bodym plan their actions and do more than one thing at a time.
  • Calming-which provide sensory input to the body to calm and ground the child.

Sensory Consortium

Offers support for visually impaired, hearing impaired and multi-sensory impairments; happens in schools.

Sensory Room

A special room designed to develop people's sense, usually through special lighting, music, and objects. It can be used as a therapy for children with limited communication skills).

Set Carpet Places or Fidget Mats

Concentration toys.


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

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.

Specialist HLTA’s

Higher Level Teaching Assistants; their role is to support the teacher further by taking some lessons, and being more closely involved in children's learning.

Statement of Special Educational Need

Under the Education Act 1996 local authorities issued Statements of Special Educational Need for children whose needs could not be met through the provision normally made by schools.
The Children and Families Act 2014 replaces Statements with EHC plans.
Children and young people who already have a Statement will gradually transfer to the new system. Each council publishes a local transition plan to explain how this will happen.
All statements will be transferred to be EHCPs by the 1st April 2018 – See Transfer Review.

Statutory Guidance

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

Supported Living

This is a form of accommodation and support where people live together, choose who they want to live with and who they want to provide their support.

Support with specialist IT equipment such as AAC devices

Communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language. Used by those with a wide range of speech and language impairments.


Target sheets with success criteria agreed with children

Target sheets for each child.


Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children. Please visit The National Autistic Society website for further information.

Teachers Trained in Numicon

Maths intervention, based on apparatus to support children's learning like Numicon(Graded Maths intervention).

Teaching Assistants capable of effectively implementing advice from external professionals

Able to read reports, take recommendation from them and implement them with the child.

Team Teach

A method of classroom instruction in which several teachers combine their individual subjects into one course which they teach as a team to a single group of students.

Temporary Housing

This is housing which you may be placed in when you need housing right away and have nowehere else to live. This would be for a short period of time.

Tenancy Agreement

This is a legal document which sets out the terms of which a property is rented. It sets out the responsibilities of the Tenant and the Landlord.


This is the person who lives in the rented accommodation and who must pay the rent.


Egg timers, for timing a fixed amount of time.

Then and Now cards

Sequence cards, what is happening now and next.


A theraband is a latex resistance band or tube that is used for physical therapy and light strength training exercise).


Theraputty is a silicone material that can be used for a variety of hand exercises.

Touch Talk

Designed specifically for people with sight-loss or dual-sensory loss, TouchTalk is a breakthrough application for communication. Utilising a modified version of the deafblind manual alphabet, enter your question with taps, swipes and pinches and it is displayed on the screen. Responses are presented as either large text or as tactile feedback.

Trained Teaching Assistants - in Dyslexia

Either trained in school, or either a qualification in teaching Dyslexia.


This means someone will write above what the child has already written.

Transfer Review

A transfer review replaces the annual review in the academic year that the child or young person transfers to the new SEND system.
A transfer review involves an EHC needs assessment to decide what outcomes and provision need to be included in the EHC plan. This should include education, health and social care needs. You and your child, or the young person, must be invited to a meeting as part of the transfer review.
A transfer review ends when the local authority sends you (or the young person) a copy of the EHC plan, or when it informs you (or the young person) that an EHC plan will not be issued.
Each council publishes a local transition plan to explain how and when transfer reviews for children and young people with Statements of Special Educational Need will happen.

Transition Protocol

This is a panel for Adult and Children’s Social Care to address the needs of people at risk and to manage complex transitions to Adult Services. Regarding children this refers to what will happen when a child transitions from one school to the other. What they will do to ensure a robust transition. This varies from school to school.

U - Z

Visual cues for Classroom Instructions

Ranges from; visual timetables, pictures of what will be happening next.


Visual Impairment.

Visual support, including visual timetables – both group and individual

Pictures of what will be happening next, song or dance.

Visual Timetable

Pictures of what will be happening during the day or week.

Wave Three

Intervention graded support in Numeracy and Literacy: going over a child’s work they have done but in a slower way.

Word banks and books

A lists of words, supports child in writing.


Page last reviewed: 02/10/2023

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