Explanation of important words

What does the word mean?


What does this mean?


A publicly funded independent school offering free education to pupils of all abilities, established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups. They work in partnership with central Government and local education partners. They are not under the control of the Local Authority, like most other maintained schools.

Additional Learning Support

This is what further education describe special education needs as.


Someone who helps children and young people make decisions in their lives.

Annual Review (AR)

Education, Health and Care Plan must be reviewed every year to make sure the child or young person is making progress and getting the support they need.


To argue against something or question a decision you don’t agree with using the law.


Paid jobs that include training to gain practical skills while you work, for example veterinary nursing or plumbing.


A review to find out what extra support a disabled person needs, for example to decide if a student needs extra support in school or college.


A carer is a person named by a local authority to care for a child for whom the Local Authority has parental responsibility.

Children’s Services

Teams of people who work for the County Council who work with and support children, young people and their families.

Code of Practice

A guide to tell local authorities what they need to do to work within the law and provide support for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Community School

A maintained school for which the local authority has main responsibility for deciding arrangements for admitting pupils.

Complex Health Needs

These children/young people have severe health conditions requiring ongoing health intervention and need support to carry out activities of daily living. This could be a severe disability.

Complex Needs Schools

These schools are formerly known as special schools and are for pupils with special educational needs.

Direct Payments

Allow people to receive money directly from their local authority, so they can pay for their own services and live more independently.

Disagreement resolution

A way of trying to come to an agreement when people disagree. For example to help resolve disagreements between parents of a child with special educational needs and the Local Authority or a school.

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP)

An assessment of children’s achievement at the end of the academic year in which they become five years old

Education, Health and Care Plan

A document that sets out what support children and young people with Special Educational Needs should get to help them learn. They will replace Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulty Assessments.

Family Support Process

An approach to supporting children and families through a coordinated action plan of different services which puts the family at the heart of decision-making.

Foundation School

A maintained school which has a foundation (generally religious) which appoints some – but not most – of the governing body.

Early Years Foundation Stage

This is the name given to the curriculum for children from the age of three until the end of the reception year and is statutory guidance for settings in receipt of Government funding to follow.

Free school

A free school is a state-funded school for children of all abilities, which are set up due to parental demand for more choice in local education. They are not for profit which means they:

  • Can set their own pay and conditions for staff
  • Do not have to follow the National Curriculum
  • Have control over their own budget
  • Can change the length of school terms and the school day
  • Free schools will have the same Ofsted inspections as all state schools and will be expected to maintain the same high standards.

Graduated Approach or Response

This approach recognises that children learn in different ways and can have different kinds or levels of special educational needs. Increasing specialist help should be asked for depending on the needs of the individual child.


The practice of educating children with special educational needs in mainstream schools wherever possible.

Independent school

A school not maintained by a local authority. These are also known as private schools.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

A plan of the support to be provided for a pupil with special educational needs. It records key short-term targets and has teaching and learning strategies different from or additional to those in place for the rest of the class.

Key Stage 1 (KS1)

Key Stage 1 is the stage of the National Curriculum between ages 4 and 7 years (year groups 1 to 3). Pupils at KS1 generally sit their KS1 tests aged 7.

Key Stage 2 (KS2)

Key Stage 2 refers to the stage of the National Curriculum for pupils aged between 7 and 11 years (year groups 4 to 6). Pupils at KS2 generally sit their KS2 tests aged 11.

Key Stage 3 (KS3)

Key Stage 3 refers to the stage of the National Curriculum for pupils aged between 11 and 14 years (year groups 7 to 9). Pupils at KS3 who are generally aged 14 are assessed as part of the national programme of National Curriculum assessment through on-going teacher assessment.

Key Stage 4 (KS4)

Key Stage 4 refers to the stage of the National Curriculum for pupils aged between 14 and 16 years (year groups 7 to 9). Pupils at KS4 generally sit their KS4 exams (GCSEs and equivalents) aged 16.

Learning Difficulty Assessment

When a young person with a statement leaves school and moves into further education, higher education or training. The assessment is to identify the young person’s needs and ensure that they get the right support during the next stage of their education. These will be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans from September 2014.

Local Authority

The local government responsible for managing services in your area – Norfolk County Council.

Local Offer

One place that brings together information about all the support and services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. In Norfolk this is www.norfolk.gov.uk/SEND.

Looked After Children (LAC)

These are children that have been taken into care and looked after by the Local Authority.


Services that all children and young people use, for example youth clubs, leisure facilities and public transport. This can also include mainstream education, so schools and colleges that all children and young people can go to.

Mainstream School

A school which is for all pupils, not just those with special educational needs. A mainstream school is usually a maintained school, although it could also be an independent school.

Maintained school

A Government-funded school which provides education free of charge to pupils in either mainstream or special settings. Maintained schools are generally community schools, community special schools, foundation schools, foundation special schools, voluntary aided schools or voluntary controlled schools. Academies are not maintained schools.


A way of trying to come to an agreement when people disagree over an education, health and care plan. An independent mediator brings together the two parties in an informal way to try and resolve the disagreement through discussion.

Named Officer

This is the person who works at the Local Authority who liaises with you about your child if they are undergoing statutory assessment or has an education, health and care plan. In Norfolk this will usually be an education, health and care plan coordinator (formerly additional needs coordinator or special educational needs caseworker).

National Curriculum

This sets out a clear, full and statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils, determining what should be taught and setting attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported.

Non maintained special school

Schools that provide education for children with special educational needs but are not under Local Authority control. These schools charge fees on a non profit making basis. Most maintained special schools are run by major charities or trusts.

Norfolk SEND Partnership Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS)

They provide free, impartial advice and support to parents whose children have special educational needs.

Note in Lieu (NIL)

A document produced if the Local Authority decide not to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan following a Statutory Assessment. The document sets out how can your child’s needs can be met through school based or early years setting provision with external support if necessary.


The organisation that makes sure schools and social care services are doing a good job.

Person Centred Planning

A way of planning services based on what the person using them wants and cares about.

Personal budgets

Money that people can use and decide themselves how to spend to pay for support.

Personal health budgets

Money that people can use to spend on things to help them improve their health condition.


Home based education for pre-school children with special educational needs.

SEN Support

When a pupil is identified as having special educational needs, interventions will be provided that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school's usual differentiated curriculum. An Individual Education Plan will usually be written.

Short breaks

Opportunities for disabled children and young people to spend time away from their family and do something fun. For example a day, evening, overnight or weekend activity.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

Member of staff who has responsibility for coordinating the special educational needs provision within a school. In a small school the head teacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools there may be a special educational needs coordinating.

There are Early Years Setting SENCOs, Primary School SENCOs and Secondary School SENCOs.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

A child or young person has special educational needs (SEN) if they need extra support because they find it harder to learn than the majority of other children or young people of the same age.

Specialist Resource Base

Specialist Resource Bases (SRBs) are facilities hosted by mainstream schools to provide additional support and intervention to children with special needs, either with or without statements.

Specialist support

Services specifically designed to support disabled children and young people, for example speech and language, short breaks or special education.

Statement of Special Educational Needs

A document that sets out what support children and young people with Special Educational Needs should get to help them learn. These will be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans from September 2014.

Statutory Assessment

An investigation of a child’s special educational needs which may or may not lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Statutory services

Services that the government provide, for example education, health or social care services from a local authority.


A change from something familiar to something new or different. In education, this means moving from pre-school to a primary or infant school, from an infant to a junior school or from a primary or junior school to a secondary school. At 16 years old it means moving to college, work, training or to living independently.

Transition Plan

A plan following the year 9 annual reviews and updated at subsequent annual reviews. The purpose of the plan is to draw together information from a range of individuals within and beyond the school, in order to plan together for the young person’s transition to adult life. Transition plans may also be drawn up at other times, for example when planning a move between schools.

Virtual School

Children and young people in a Virtual School will already be placed in a mainstream school or specialist provision, but they are also on the roll of the Virtual School - which means they get additional support and encouragement if needed. In Norfolk we have two Virtual Schools. One for Sensory Support and one for Looked After Children.

Voluntary Aided School

A maintained school with foundation (generally religious) which appoints most of the governing body. The governing body is the admission authority.

Voluntary Controlled School

A maintained school with a foundation (generally religious) that appoints some – but not most – of the governing body. The Local Authority is responsible for admissions.

Voluntary Organisaitons

Organisations, usually charities, which provide help and advice that is often linked to particular needs.

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