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Glossary of SEND acronyms and terms

This section provides definitions of acronyms and terms frequently used in relation to Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in Torbay. Please either scroll down this page or use the shortcut alphabet below to search this webpage. There is also a downloadable version on the right hand side of this webpage.

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Please contact us if there are any acronyms or terms that you would like to be added to this glossary by using  the green feedback button on the right hand side of this webpage.


AAC Augmentative and Alternative Communication  Covers a huge range of techniques which support or replace spoken communication. These include gesture, signing, symbols, word boards, communication boards and books, as well as Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs).
AP Alternative Provision Education arranged by local authorities for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education; education arranged by schools for pupils on a fixed period exclusion; and pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour.
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.
 ADD  Attention Deficit Disorder  A diagnosable disorder for people who have excessive difficulties with concentration without the presence of other ADHD symptoms such as excessive impulsiveness or hyperactivity.
 ADHD  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder  A diagnosable disorder for people who have a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Advocacy Getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and to help to make sure your voice is heard. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, local authorities must ensure that advocacy is provided for young people undergoing transition assessments providing certain conditions are met under the Care Act 2014.
 AEN  Additional Educational Needs  This refers to various groups of children and young people who for a variety of reasons may face additional barriers to education and learning 


Activity Led Funding in Early Years Additional funding that early years settings can apply for in order to meet the needs of specific children with SEN and disabled children.
APA Alternative Provision Academy  A school that teaches children who aren’t able to attend school and may not otherwise receive suitable education. This could be because they have a short- or long-term illness, have been excluded or are a new starter waiting for a mainstream school place.(formerly Pupil Referral Units PRU)

Subsidiary information used to create a book or document. The information contained in the appendices to an Education, Health & Care (EHC) plan are the reports completed by everyone during an EHC needs assessment or amendment to an EHC plan. 

Child or Young Person

Appendix F


Appendix A


Appendix B

Health (including paediatrician,  OT, Physio,  Bladder & Bowel, CAMHS, etc. as required)

Appendix C

Educational Phycologist

Appendix D

Social Care

Appendix E

Anyone else

Appendix G

Additional information used to amend an EHC plan

Appendix H

AR  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. An interim review will be held every six months for children in early years.
ASC Autistic Spectrum Condition These terms are used interchangeably to  name a range of similar diagnosable disorders, including Asperger syndrome, that affect a person's social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder
AWPU Age Weighted Pupil Unit 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.


 BESD     Behavioural, Emotional and Social Development

Old category of area of needs within the SEN Code of Practice replaced by Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) by the Children & Families Act. 

 BME  Black, Minority Ethnic  A term used to describe people from minority groups, particularly those who are viewed as having suffered racism or are in the minority because of their skin colour and/or ethnicity.
BSL British Sign Language  A form of sign language that is used in Britain and involves the use of hand movements, gestures, body language and facial expressions to communicate.
 BSP  Behaviour Support Plan  A school-based document designed to assist individual students who have experienced harm, are at risk of harm, or have caused harm to others. 


C&FA 2014  Children and Families Act 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.  

 CA 2004  Children Act 2004  The basis for most official administration considered helpful to children, notably bringing all local government functions of children’s welfare and education under the statutory authority of local Directors of Children’s Services. 

Care  Act 2014

The national eligibility criteria that provides a set a minimum threshold for adult care and support and carer support for carers of adults. All local authorities must at a minimum meet needs at this level.


A general term for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. However, for the purpose of the SEN Code of Practice, a carer is a person named by a local authority to care for a child for whom the social services department has a parental responsibility
CAMHS   Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services   Services that assess, treat and work with children and young people who have difficulties with their emotional or behavioural or mental health wellbeing. 
CAT  Cognitive Ability Test   Test used to establish learning baselines at the beginning of Secondary Education.
CC  Continuing Care (Child Health)  Support provided for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness.
CCG Clinical Commissioning Group CCGs are groups of professionals that work together to commission health services, ensuring there is sufficient capacity contracted to deliver the necessary health services for people locally.
CDC Child Development Centre A Multi-disciplinary Health Team assessment centre for young children
CHC Continuing Healthcare (Adult Health) A package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals aged 18 and over who are not in hospital but have complex ongoing healthcare needs. It can be provided in any setting, for example in the home or in a residential care home.
CiC Children in Care A child is looked after by a local authority if he or she has been provided with accommodation for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, in the circumstances set out in sections 20 and 21 of the Children Act 1989, or is placed in the care of a local authority by virtue of an order made under part IV of the Act. (may also be known as Looked After Children (LAC) or Children Looked After (CLA))
CIN Child in Need

Children who are aged under 18 and:

  • need local authority services to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development
  • need local authority services to prevent significant or further harm to health or development
  • are disabled
CLA Children Looked After

A child is looked after by a local authority if he or she has been provided with accommodation for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, in the circumstances set out in sections 20 and 21 of the Children Act 1989, or is placed in the care of a local authority by virtue of an order made under part IV of the Act. (may also be known as Children in Care (CiC) or Looked After Children (LAC))

Cognitive Ability

A term often used by psychologists instead of intelligence to describe thinking and reasoning abilities.


Understanding of spoken or written material or practical situations.

CoP SEND Code of Practice

A guide to schools and local education authorities about the help to be given to children with special educational needs. Schools and local authorities must have regard to the Code when working with a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Corporate Parent

Collective responsibility of the council, elected members, employees, and partner agencies, for providing the best possible care and safeguarding for the children who are looked after by the council.

CSDPA 1970  Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970

Section 1 gives Local Authorities a duty to publish information and inform individuals of their entitlement to relevant services.

Section 2 gives Local Authorities a duty to assist disabled people (as defined by Section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948) with:

  • Practical assistance in the home;
  • Provision (or assistance to obtain) radio, TV, library or other recreational services;
  • Provision of lectures, games, outings, recreational or educational activities outside the home;
  • Provision of services or assistance in obtaining travel to and from the home to participate in any of the activities mentioned;
  • Assistance in arranging adaptations or provision of additional facilities to promote “safety, comfort or convenience”;
  • Provision of meals in the home or elsewhere;
  • Assistance in obtaining a phone and any special equipment necessary to use it.

Any social care provision that is provided under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Act 1970 must be included in Section H1 of an Education Health and Care plan.

CSW Community Support Worker

A person who provides social care who is not a qualified social worker.

CYP Children and Young People

Age 0-18


 DAMP   Deficits in Attention, Motor control and Perception  

A diagnostic term that describes children with a combination of motor control, perceptual and attention problems.

DfE    Department for Education  Central government department responsible for education.  
DFG   Disabled Facilities Grant  Grant for adapting or providing facilities for a disabled person in a dwelling.
Differentiation Adapting lessons or the learning environment to meet student interests and address distinct learning needs.
Disapplication Removing a programme of study, attainment target, assessment or any other component of the National Curriculum, or any combination of these including entire subjects or the entire National Curriculum.
DLA Disability Living Allowance

A non means tested benefit for disabled children under the age of 16 who have difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability to help with the extra costs incurred in looking after the child.

DMO Designated Medical Officer

Supports the CCG in meeting its statutory responsibilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, primarily by providing a point of contact for local partners, when notifying parents and local authorities about children and young people they believe have, or may have, SEN or a disability, and when seeking advice on SEN or disabilities. 

 DoH  Department of Health  Central government Department responsible for health. 
DP Direct Payment A payment made directly to a parent or young person to purchase specific services. 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. Direct payments may also be available from Health and/or social care for specified services.
DR Disagreement Resolution

A quick and non-adversarial way of resolving disagreements.

N.B. Local authorities must provide independent disagreement resolution services to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities, schools and other settings about SEND duties and provision
DSA Disabled Students Allowance

An allowance for undergraduate or postgraduate 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.


 EA 2010 Equality Act 2010  

Sets out the different ways in which it’s unlawful to treat someone and protects people from discrimination in school, the workplace and in wider society. 

 EAL English as an Additional Language    A pupil whose first language is other than English.
EBD  Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties  Old terminology related to the old category of area of needs (Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties, BESD) which has now been replaced by Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) under the Children & Families Act.
 EFA Education Funding Agency  A government agency that manages funds for 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
  • directly funds academies and free schools. 
EHC needs assessment 

Education, Health and Care needs assessment

 A detailed statutory assessment looking at the special educational needs that the child or young person has and what help he or she may need in order to learn. Local authorities must carry out an EHC needs assessment if a child or young person may need an EHC plan. The assessment process should be carried out in a ‘timely’ manner and it should not take longer than 20 weeks to issue an EHC Plan if required.
EHC plan / EHCP

 Education, Health & Care Plan

A legal document written by the local authority that describes the special educational, health and care needs of a child or young person and the help that they will be given to meet those identified needs that are over and above support usually available.

Ear, Nose and Throat

Hospital specialist department concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the head and neck, including particularly the ears, nose, and throat.

Education Other Than At School

Education provided by a local authority other than at a school, for example for children who are too ill or otherwise unable to attend school.

Educational Psychologist

Specialist professionals who assess how children develop and learn and provide advice to schools, parent/carers and other relevant educational professionals and settings

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.

Educational Welfare Officer

Deals with school attendance and makes sure that children are getting the education they need.
Expressive Language How a child or young person expresses ideas, thoughts and feelings through speech.

Early Years Advisory Teacher

A specialist teacher employed by the LA who provides specialist support for pre-schools and early years settings with meeting the needs of young children (under 5) who have any barriers to learning.

Early Years Foundation Stage

A set of standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.  


 FE Further Education

Education that occurs following compulsory post-16 secondary education, which is usually distinct from that offered in universities (higher education). It includes many different levels and is usually taught in the sixth-form college part of a school or in independent FE colleges, as well as in other work-based, adult and community learning institutions. Further education programs will usually go up to Level 3 (e.g. Advances Apprenticeships or A Levels) and are often designed to provide the skills to advance to Higher Education (HE).

Fine Motor Skills

Small movements of the body for example, using fingers to pick up small items, holding a pencil or doing up zips and buttons.

FIS Family Information Service

A service that provides a wide range of information about the key services in the local area that parents and children use so that all families can to benefit from the range of services available locally and know what is on offer.

 FTT  First Tier Tribunal  Independent legal body that is a part of the court system of the United Kingdom. Chambers include the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability).
FTT (SEND) First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability)   Hears appeals lodged by parents/carers of children with SEN, and young people with SEN or young people against:
  • SEN decisions made by the Local Authority about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans.
  • unlawful discrimination in admissions exclusions and education and associated services



The way in which a child walks.

Global Delay

A general delay in acquiring normal developmental milestones.

 GPx  General Practitioner  

A doctor based in the community who treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses and refers those with serious conditions to a hospital.

  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 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
Gross Motor Skills Whole body actions for example, playing games, swimming or riding a bicycle.


HE Higher Education

Education at universities or similar educational establishments, especially to degree level.

 HI  Hearing Impaired  With a degree of hearing loss.
 HLTA Higher Level Teaching Assistant  A person with relevant experience and qualifications able to have an increased level of responsibility within a school.
HT  Head teacher  The teacher in charge of a school.
 HV    Health Visitor  Qualified and registered nurses or midwives who have additional training and qualifications and mainly work with children under 5 and their parents/carers.

Health and Wellbeing Board

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 in a more joined-up way.
Hyperactivity Difficulty in concentrating or sitting still for any length of time. Restless, fidgety behaviour, also a child may have sleeping difficulties.


IASS Information, Advice and Support Services 

Services that 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.

 IBP  Individual Behaviour Plan  A school-based document designed to assist individual students who have experienced harm, are at risk of harm, or have caused harm to others
ICT Information Communication Technology  i.e. computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
IEP Individual Education Plan  A school-based document used for children with SEN that describes short term provision to meet measurable outcomes. This was a requirement for children with a Statement of SEN under the old law, but is not a specific requirement in the Children and Families Act. Schools must now follow the Graduated approach and share short term provision to meet measurable outcomes with parents, but it does not need to be called an IEP. 
 ILDP   Individual Learning and Development Plan  An Early Year’s education-based document used for children with SEN that describes short term provision to meet measurable outcomes.
 INSET  In Service Education and Training Relevant courses and activities in which a serving teacher may participate to upgrade their professional knowledge, skills, and competence.

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.

Integrated Youth Support Service

A service that works with: 

  • Looked After Children and Care Leavers from 15 to 21 years or up to 25 years if in full time education to prepare for independence.
  • Young people involved with youth justice services including both pre-court and court interventions to reduce crime in the community.
  • Young people who have been referred for additional support by the Early Help Service so that we can respond early to identified difficulties.


JPU  John Park’s Unit 

 The location of Torbay Hospitals Child Development Centre (CDC). 

JSNA Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

A Document that looks at the current and future health and care needs of local populations to inform and guide the planning and commissioning of health, well-being and social care services within a local authority area. The JSNA informs the development of a local area Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy. This strategy sets out how the local area will address identified health needs, reduce health inequalities and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for the local population.


 KS  Key Stage  

Key Stage

Year Groups

Age of Children

Primary (Infants)


1, 2, 3

5 – 7

Primary (Juniors)


4, 5, 6

8 – 11



7, 8, 9

12 -14



10, 11

15 – 16

Secondary (6th Form)


12, 13

17 – 18

 KW  Keyworker 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 organization, a school or college, or form a voluntary or private sector body.


LA / LAs  Local Authority/Authorities

Administrative offices that provide services within their local areas.

 LAC  Looked After Children  A child is looked after by a local authority if he or she has been provided with accommodation for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, in the circumstances set out in sections 20 and 21 of the Children Act 1989, or is placed in the care of a local authority by virtue of an order made under part IV of the Act. (may also be known as Children in Care (CiC) or Children Looked After (CLA))  
Literacy Skills Reading, writing and spelling ability.
LD Learning Disability   Children will have levels of educational abilities which are significantly lower than children of a similar age. Basic reading and number skills are well below average.
 LDD   Learning Disabilities and Difficulties A reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.  
 Local Offer   All Local Authorities (LAs) are required by the Children & Families Act to publish a Local Offer. The Local Offer must set out information about all provision the LA expect to be available to children with SEN and disabilities in their area.
LSA Learning Support Assistant Non-teaching support staff who work with children with special educational needs in the classroom.



A simple communication system using signs. A language programme designed to provide a means of communication to children and young people who cannot communicate efficiently by speaking.

 Mainstream School

A primary or secondary maintained school or academy which is not a special school. Mainstream schools provide education for all children, whether or not they have special educational needs or disabilities. They are are not selective and will not require students to pay fees. 

 MASH Multi Agency  Safeguarding Hub A forum that considers all referrals and provides consistent, timely and co-ordinated multi-agency response to individual situations relating to welfare and safeguarding concerns to children and young people.


Multi Academy Trust A single entity established to undertake a strategic collaboration to improve and maintain high educational standards across a number of schools. A group of schools form a single MAT which has overarching responsibility for their governance.
 MDVI  Multiple Disabilities and Visual Impairment  More than one diagnosis—in this case, a visual impairment and at least two other conditions.

 Mediation is a way of sorting out a disagreement in a safe and friendly environment. It can help rebuild trust and working relationships. Mediation uses a neutral person (the mediator) who is experienced at helping people who disagree to come to an agreement.

N.B. Local authorities must provide mediation service which is completely neutral and independent of schools and the local authority. The purposes of this requirement is to help settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities over EHC needs assessments and plans and ensure that parents can obtain the prerequisite mediation certificates that allow them to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

 MLD  Moderate Learning Difficulties  Attainments well below expected levels in all or most areas of the curriculum, despite appropriate interventions
 MSI    Multi-Sensory Impairment  Impairments with both sight and hearing
MTA Mealtime assistant Support staff who work with children with special educational needs in school during lunch time.
MTS Medical Tuition Service A service that provide education to children and young people who are unable to maintain an educational programme at school due a diagnosed medical condition that continues to make access to an educational setting  too challenging.


 Named Officer

The LA Casework Officer who liaises with parents and co-ordinates an education, health and care assessment and final plan.

 NEET  Not in Education, Employment or Training  This term is applied to young people aged 16-24 who are not involved in education, employment or training.
NHS National Health Service  Publicly funded national healthcare system for England
Non-Verbal Skills Skills which do not require spoken or written language, but use other ways to communicate, e.g. gesture, facial expression.


ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder

A childhood disorder that is defined by a pattern of hostile, disobedient, and defiant behaviours directed at adults or other authority figures.

 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.
OT Occupational Therapy/Therapist  A specialised professional who assess how to maximise and maintain individual independence in everyday living skills. They can advise on aids, equipment or home/school communicate.


The benefit or difference made to an child or young person 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 child or young person as a result of the educational or training intervention provided.


PCF  Parent Carer Forum

A voluntary representative 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.


Person Centred Planning

A set of approaches designed to assist a child or young person to plan their life and supports. It is used most often as a life planning model to enable children or young people with disabilities or otherwise requiring support to increase their personal self-determination and improve their own independence.


Permanent Exclusion

The most serious sanction a school can give if a child does something that is against the school's behaviour policy (the school rules). It means that the child is no longer allowed to attend the school and their name will be removed from the school roll and they will never be able to return to that school.

 PD  Physical Disability / Difficulties A limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Other physical disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living, such as respiratory disorders, blindness, epilepsy and sleep disorders. 
 PECS Picture Exchange Communication System  A form of alternative and augmentative communication based on the idea that children who can’t talk or write can be taught to communicate using pictures.
 PEP  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.
   Personal Budget An identified amount of funding that the Local Authority (LA) allocates in order to secure particular provision that is specified, or proposed to be specified, in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. In some cases this may be given to parents or young people in the form of a direct payment.
PfA Preparing for Adulthood A national programme funded by the DfE that advocates partnership working with children, young people and their families at the centre, across Education, Health and Care in a way that supports young people and their families to be part of their communities and to lead fulfilled and fulfilling lives.
PHB Personal Health Budgets An amount of money to support identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the local NHS team and CCG. The aim is to give people with long-term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.
Physio Physiotherapy / Physiotherapist A department or person qualified to treat disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise.


Personal Independence Payment

A benefit for disabled children over the age of 16 and adults who have difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than someone of the same age who does not have a disability to help with the extra costs incurred in looking after them.
PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties There is no universally accepted definition of profound and multiple learning disabilities, but it is commonly associated with complex learning needs, pronounced Developmental Delay with significant physical and sensory impairments or a severe medical condition.
 Portage A service provided by the LA that offers planned, home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs. 
PR Parental Responsibility

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.

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) (Section 2 of the Children Act 1989)
  • mothers who were not married to the father at the time of the child’s birth (Section 2 of the Children Act 1989)
  • 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 (Section 2 of the Children Act 1989)
  • any person who is not the parent or guardian of the child named by the court in a residency order while the residence order remains in force (Section 12 of the Children Act 1989)
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.
PRU Pupil Referral Unit

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. Some of these have now been converted to Alternative Provision Academies (APA).

PSP Pastoral Support Plan

A school based programme which is meant to help a child to improve their social, emotional and behavioural skills.


There are no current relevant acronyms or terms beginning with this letter in this glossary.


Reasonable adjustments

Changes schools and other settings are required to make in accordance with the Equality Act 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)

Receptive Language

The ability to understand what is being said.

 RSA Request for Statutory Assessment (EHC needs assessment)

Formal request for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment that can be made by:

  • you (parent of a child)
  • you (young person over the age of 16); or
  • the school,


SALT / SaLT Speech and Language Therapy / Therapist

A specialist professional who assesses children’s speech, language and communication needs and enable children, young people and adults with speech, language and communication difficulties (and associated difficulties with eating and swallowing) to reach their maximum communication potential and achieve independence in all aspects of life.

 SEMH Social, Emotional and Mental Health  One of the 4 main categories of special educational needs covered in the SEND Code of Practice that covers a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or distressing behaviour.
SEN Special Educational Needs  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 has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

SEN Information Report

A document that all mainstream schools must publish on their websites information about their policy and arrangements for supporting children with SEN. This must be kept up to date.

SEN Support  When a child or young person has been identified as having special educational needs, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place called SEN Support. This SEN Support should take the form of a four part cycle (assess/plan/do/review) through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the child’s needs and what support the child in making good progress and securing good outcomes. This is known as the graduated approach.
 SENCO / SENDCO   Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator / Special Educational Needs & Disabilities      Co-ordinator  A qualified teacher in a school or maintained nursery school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision. In a small school, the headteacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools there may be a team of SENCOs. Other early years settings in group provision arrangements are expected to identify an individual to perform the role of SENCO and childminders are encouraged to do so, possibly sharing the role between them where they are registered with an agency.
SEND Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Difficulties that affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

  • behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • physical ability
SENDIASS Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service An independent organisation that provides information, advice and support about special educational needs (SEN), disability, health and social care for children, young people and parents.
SENDIST Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunals Hears appeals lodged by parents/carers of children with SEN, and young people with SEN or young people against:
  • SEN decisions made by the Local Authority about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans.
  • unlawful discrimination in admissions exclusions and education and associated services
SEP Special Educational Provision Educational provision that is different from or additional to that normally available to pupils or students of the same age, which is designed to help children and young people with SEN or disabilities to access the National Curriculum at school or to study at college.
Short Breaks Opportunities for children and young people with disabilities to spend time away from their parents or primary carers, relaxing and having fun with their friends. They provide families with a ‘break’ from their caring responsibilities; they give parents a chance to unwind rest or spend time with other children.
SI Sensory Impairment When one of your senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and spatial awareness, does not function in the normal way. 
SLA Service Level Agreement A commitment between a service provider and a client that describes particular aspects of the service e.g. quality, availability, responsibilities between the service provider and the service user.
SLCN Speech, Language and Communication Needs

The term that describes difficulties across one or many aspects of communication including:

  • problems with producing speech sounds accurately
  • stammering
  • voice problems, such as hoarseness and loss of voice
  • problems understanding language (making sense of what people say)
  • problems using language (words and sentences)
  • problems interacting with others. For example, difficulties understanding the non-verbal rules of good communication or using language in different ways to question, clarify or describe things.
SLD Severe Learning Difficulties / Disabilities

Learners with very significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. Their cognitive and/or attainment levels are often at or below 0.01 percentile.

Special School

A school which is resourced and organised to provide for the education of pupils with an Education, Health & Care Plan who need a high degree of support in the learning situation and in some cases specialist facilities, equipment and teaching.

SpLD Specific Learning Difficulties

General learning abilities in the average range but difficulties in one or more particular areas of learning. This includes Dyslexia, Dyscalculia etc.

Statutory guidance

Guidance that local authorities and other local bodies have a legal duty to follow.

SW Social Worker

A person who will support a family with practical issues such as benefit applications, respite care, household adaptations etc.


TA Teaching Assistant

Support staff who work with children with special educational needs in the classroom.

TAF  Team Around the Family A voluntary way of finding out what extra support your family may need and how best to provide this support. Multi agency meetings are set up by a lead professional to ensure support is well co-ordinated.
TEACCH Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children A well respected clinical, training, and research program developed in North Carolina USA and used across the world.
 Transition Movement between different environments, rooms or settings. All transition involves change and it is vital to prepare children, no matter how young they are, for this. When children are prepared for transition they adapt more easily to changes.
TSCB Torbay Safeguarding Children’s Board A multi-agency board working to ensure all children can be safe from abuse or harm at home and within the community.


There are no current relevant acronyms or terms beginning with this letter in this glossary.


  VI    Visually Impaired

Partial or complete loss of sight.

Virtual School

This is not a physical school. This is a service that supports the education of children looked after from ages 0 – 19. It is the Local Authority’s statutory duty to promote the educational achievement of children looked after under Section 52 of the Children Act 2004.

Virtual learning

Education conducted entirely through Internet technology. Pupils have designated timeslots for lessons that are delivered by an online tutor.

 VOCAs Voice Output Communication Aids

Devices which enable the user to speak. The simplest VOCAs store a single pre-recorded message, which is produced in the form of digitised speech when the person using the device presses a button, switch, or key.


There are no current relevant acronyms or terms beginning with this letter in this glossary.


There are no current relevant acronyms or terms beginning with this letter in this glossary.


 YOT     Youth Offending Team

A part of local authorities separate from the police and the justice system. They work with local agencies including the police, probation officers, health, children’s services, schools and the local community, to run local crime prevention programmes, help young people at the police station if they’re arrested, help young people and their families at court, supervise young people serving a community sentence and stay in touch with a young person if they’re sentenced to custody.

Young carer

Someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

YP Young Person  A person over compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which they turn 16). From this point the right to make decisions about matters covered by the Children and Families Act 2014 applies to the young person directly, rather than to their parents.


There are no current relevant acronyms or terms beginning with this letter in this glossary.