SEND terms explained simply

This is a list of words and phrases we use to make our content about SEND easy to understand.

If you are using these terms, at the first mention, explain what they mean in simple language. Please find below suggested wording you can use in your communications.

A

Additional needs

The term used by further education providers to describe special educational needs (SEN). Also known as learning support.

Academy schools

A school funded directly by the Department for Education rather than the local authority and usually run by a trust or charity.

Advocate

Someone you trust who can speak on your behalf. They can support and represent you at a meeting.

Advocacy service

An organisation that helps you find an advocate.

Annual review

A yearly chance to talk about how things are going and make plans. Also see EHC plan annual review below.

Appeal

A chance to question a decision you do not agree with.

Assessment

A way to gather information so good decisions can be made.

C

Carer

A person who cares for a person who needs extra support. They may be paid or unpaid. Carer is also the term for a parent carer whose child is over 18.

Children’s Services

The part of a county council that works with and supports children, young people and their families.

Code of Practice (COP) 

See SEND Code of Practice.

Commissioning

Planning services that are needed for local people and making sure services are available.

Complex needs

Special educational needs and/or disabilities that require a person to have a lot of additional support every day.

Complex needs school

School for children and young people with complex special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Also known as a special school.

Consultation

Considering the views, opinions and feedback of all those involved, using these to form next steps and actions to bring about improvement and positive change.

Coproduction

Working together and communicating as equals. Understanding and valuing one another’s unique insights and expertise to create a plan to bring about positive change.

D

Differentiation

Adapting materials and ways of teaching to suit a child or young person’s learning.

Direct Payments

Money from the local authority that people can use to choose and pay for the care and support services they need.

Disagreement resolution

A chance for everybody to be supported to give their views and listen to others to reach an agreement.

E

Early Help

A way of describing support for children, young people and families that so that they get the help they need at an early stage.

Early Years

Used to describe children 0–5-years-old.

Early Years Foundation Stage or EYFS

An official term used in education to describe the learning of children 3–5-years-old.

Education, health and care (EHC) plan

A document for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through SEN Support. The plan sets out educational, health and social needs and additional support to meet needs and achieve outcomes.

EHC plan annual review

If a child or young person has an EHC plan, the plan should be discussed and checked every year. There should be a meeting with the parent, the child (if appropriate) and other professionals.

F

Family support process

A family-friendly approach to Early Help (see above) through professionals, children and families sharing decision-making and planning.

Free school

A type of academy directly funded by the government. They have some freedom to change how they run things and can follow a different curriculum.

G

Graduated approach

A set of actions that are repeated – assess, plan, do, review – to help a place of learning understand and record the special educational needs of a child or young person and how best to support them. This is the SEN Support process.

I

Inclusion

Making sure that everyone can take part together.

Independent school or private school

A school that charges fees for pupils to attend instead of being funded by the government.

Individual education plan (IEP)

A plan written by a place of learning for a child or young person with special educational needs and/or disabilities, setting out what needs to happen to help them get the most out of their education.

K

Key Stage 1 (KS1)

The stage of the National Curriculum for year groups 1 to 3.

Key Stage 2 (KS2)

The stage of the National Curriculum for year groups 4 to 6.

Key Stage 3 (KS3)

The stage of the National Curriculum for year groups 7 to 9.

Key Stage 4 (KS4)

The stage of the National Curriculum for year groups 10 to 11.

Key Stage 5 (KS5)

The stage of the National Curriculum for year groups 12 to 14.

L

Learning support

The term used by further education providers to describe special educational needs (SEN). Also known as additional needs.

Local authority (LA)

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

Local offer

The support and services available to children and young people and their families in Norfolk. See also SEND Local Offer (below).

Looked after children (LAC)

Children that are in the care of the local authority.

M

Mainstream school

Provides a general education for most children in the local area.

Mainstream services

Services that are available to, and suitable for, most of the population. Also known as universal services.

Maintained school

Schools funded by the Department for Education (DfE) via the local authority. They follow the National Curriculum.

Mediation

A meeting where people who disagree try to reach agreement through discussion.

N

National Curriculum

Programmes of study that must be followed by all local-authority-maintained schools.

Navigator

A named keyworker for children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are at risk of hospital admission. The navigator helps the family to receive the health, social care and education support needed to prevent crisis.

Non-maintained special school

Schools that provide education for children with special educational needs but are not under local authority control. Most maintained special schools are run by charities or trusts.

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

A free, confidential and impartial information, advice and support service for parents/carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND). This service is also offered directly to young people.

Find out more about the Norfolk SEND Partnership Information, Advice and Support Service

O

Ofsted

The organisation that inspects places of education and social care services to check they are meeting standards.

P

Parent carer

A parent who cares for their child with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND). See also carer (above).

Participation

All are actively encouraged and supported to work together to improve services and have an equal opportunity to contribute and respond in the sharing of ideas and decision making.

Person-centred planning

Aims to put children and young people at the centre of planning and decisions that affect them.

Personal budgets

An assessed amount of money, given by the local authority and/or others, that a person can use to pay for social care support they choose or for identified needs in an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Personal health budgets

An assessed amount of money, given by the local NHS team, that a person can use to pay for the health support they choose.

Portage

Home-visiting education service for pre-school children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their families.

Practitioner

A professional actively involved in an area of work.

Private school or independent school

A school that charges fees for pupils to attend instead of being funded by the government.

Professionals

People who have trained to deliver a specialist service.

Provision

Services and support.

R

Reasonable adjustments

Removing and reducing barriers so that people with disabilities can access all services.

Resources

Equipment, buildings, people, time and money.

S

SEND

Special educational needs and/or disabilities.

SEND Code of Practice (CoP)

A government guide about how to work within the law to support children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities for 0–25-year-olds.

Read the SEND Code of Practice

SEND Local Offer

The support and services available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families. In Norfolk this information is published on the SEND Local Offer website.

SEN Support

A set of actions that are repeated – assess, plan, do, review – to help a place of learning understand and record the special educational needs of a child or young person and how best to support them. Also known as the graduated approach.

Services

Organised systems that meet needs, such as schools, colleges, health services, home-to-school transport and social services.

Setting

A place of learning. For example, a preschool, nursery, childminder, school or college.

Short Breaks

Gives eligible children and young people the chance to take part in activities, explore new opportunities, form friendships, become independent and enjoy themselves away from home.

Special needs or additional needs

The difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for a child to learn compared with most other children of the same age.

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 most other children or young people of the same age.

Special educational needs (and disability) coordinator – SEN(D)Co

The person responsible for coordinating and assessing the support for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in their place of learning.

Specialist

A person who is highly experienced, skilled and knowledgeable in a subject or activity.

Specialist resource base (SRB)

Specialist resource bases (SRBs) are hosted by mainstream schools. They provide additional support and intervention to children with special educational needs.

Specialist services or support

Services specifically designed to support disabled children and young people, for example, speech and language therapy or Short Breaks.

Special schools

Schools for children and young people with complex special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Also known as complex needs schools.

Statutory

Required or allowed by law.

Statutory assessment

Gathering information to get a complete understanding of a child or young person’s special educational needs and/or disability.

Statutory services

Services that the government must provide by law. For example, education, health or social care services.

T

Transition

A move from one thing to another. In education, this means moving between school stages. In the health and social care systems, this means moving between children’s and adult services.

Transition plan

A plan setting out what everyone agrees needs to happen to help a child or young person manage a change. This could be a move into a new place of learning or into independent adult life.

U

Universal services

See mainstream services (above)

V

Virtual school

Teams within the county council that promote and support the educational progress and attainment of pupils with a specific need by providing specialist advice, guidance and support to their place of learning.