Jargon buster

Academy - An independently run school that receives government funding. Many academies have converted from maintained schools. Academies may be run by businesses, other schools, charities or voluntary groups. Academies are not controlled by the local authority and have a lot of freedom to set their own rules.

Code of Practice - Government guidance on the duties of local authorities, schools, colleges, health services and others who support children and young people with special educational needs (SEN)

Direct payments - A cash payment given to a parent, young person or someone on their behalf so that they can arrange the support detailed in an EHC plan themselves.

Disability - A mental or physical impairment which strongly affects a person's ability to carry out normal daily activities. Many people with a disability will also have a SEN.

Education setting - A general phrase to describe a place where a child or young person receives their education, for example a nursery, school or college.

Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment - A formal assessment carried out by a local authority to decide how much extra support a child or young person needs.

EHC plan - A legal document issued by the local authority describing a child or young person's education, health and social care needs and the support that will be given to them.

Free school - A type of academy. Usually describes a new school which has been set up by parents, a charity, business or other groups or individuals.

Health provision - The medical care or support set out in an EHC plan. This could include medication, nursing or special equipment.

Independent school - A school that is not maintained by the state and charges fees. They are often run by a charity or charitable trust. Independent schools will have their own policies on admissions and exclusions. Independent schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum. Some independent schools provide education specifically for pupils with special educational needs (SEN).

Outcomes - The benefit or difference that a particular bit of help makes to a child or young person.

Mainstream school - Any school that is not a special school.

Maintained school - Sometimes called a state school. A mainstream or special school funded by the local education authority. These include community and voluntary controlled schools. They also include voluntary aided and foundation schools, for example faith schools that are controlled by the governing body. Maintained schools have to follow education law on special educational needs, admissions and the curriculum.

Pathfinder - One of the local authorities that was involved in testing the new SEN system before it became law.

Personal budget - An amount of money which can be used to buy support described in an EHC plan. A young person or their family can have a say in how the budget is used.

Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)/Section 139a assessment - An assessment of needs carried out before a young person with SEN moves from school to further education. The local authority must arrange this for a pupil with a statement.

Local offer - Information published by the local authority about the education, health and social care support available in the area for children and young people with SEN and disabilities.

School/Early years Action
School/Early years Action Plus
- The stages of support for children with SEN in early years settings and schools that was provided before September 2014. These stages have been replaced by SEN support.

SENCO - Special educational needs coordinator: a qualified teacher in a mainstream nursery or school who arranges the extra help for pupils with SEN.

SEN support - The first level of extra support in mainstream education settings for children and young people with SEN. It replaced school action/action plus in September 2014.

Social care provision - The support that someone receives to help them at home or in the community.

Special educational needs (SEN) - A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for them to learn that it is for most people of their age.

Special educational provision - A general term for any extra help given to children or young people with SEN that is over and above the help normally given to pupils of their age in mainstream education settings.

Special school - A school that provides education only for pupils with special educational needs. Some special schools provide for pupils with moderate or severe learning difficulties. Many special schools provide for a particular type of need such as autism, visual impairment or dyslexia.

Statement of special educational needs - A legal document issued by the local authority describing a child's SEN and the support they will receive. From September 2014 statements will start to be replaced by EHC plans.

Transfer review - A process carried out by the local authority to transfer a statement into an EHC plan.

Young person - A child becomes a young person when they have reached the end of compulsory schooling. This is the end of the school year in which they turn 16 - year 11 for most pupils. A young person between 16 and 25 has the right to make their own decisions related to their EHC plan.


< Back to Education & learning