Glossary of terms

Glossary of SEN terms


This is a process over time that identifies strengths, weaknesses and needs across all areas of a child’s or young person’s life and involves both parent carers and practitioners.

Autistic Spectrum Condition

The spectrum of autism covers a range of disabilities from classic autism to Asperger’s Syndrome. Autism is recognised from a variety and clear pattern of behaviours. These behaviours are common to the whole population and we could all be described as having features of autism. Some of us for example, may always follow a set routine in the morning while others may dislike large crowds of people. An Autistic Spectrum Condition diagnosis is given however when there is a pattern of behaviours showing significant and persistent impairments in the three areas of communication, social interaction and rigidity of behaviour and thinking. Individuals with ASC will vary significantly according to their personalities, general level of intelligence, the degree of the impairment in the three areas and any additional learning difficulties. The combination of these elements will affect how the pupil learns, how the environment needs to be organised and the pupils’ general functioning.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, marked by multiple symptoms that include atypicalities in: -social interactions (ie people with autism would often find it difficult to understand others' mental states and emotions, and respond accordingly) -verbal and non-verbal communication -repetitive behaviour (ie people with autism might repeat certain words or actions over and over, usually in a rigid rule-governed manner). There is a wide variability in the degree to which these symptoms manifest themselves, leading to the use of the term 'autism spectrum disorders' (ASD).


For the purpose of the SEND 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.


Educational Psychologists and Speech & Language Therapists may refer to centiles. These describe how your child functions compared to 100 children. If they are on the 75th centile, 74 children out of a hundred would have more difficulties than them, and 25 children would have fewer difficulties than them. It is a benchmark from which progress can be measured.

Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist can offer advice on eating, toileting and behavioural difficulties. Parents may also find it helpful to talk to them about how their child's difficulties impact on the daily life of the whole family.


Child and Young People’s Services Child and adolescent services which provide assessment, treatment and care when a child or young person experiences continued emotional or behavioural difficulties which impact on their mental health and wellbeing.


Department for Education.


Pupils with dyscalculia have difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills. Pupils may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures.


Pupils with dyslexia have a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, despite progress in other areas. Pupils may have poor reading comprehension, handwriting and punctuation. They may also have difficulties in concentration and organisation, and in remembering sequences of words. They may mispronounce common words or reverse letters and sounds in words.


Pupils with dyspraxia are affected by an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing clumsy. Gross and fine motor skills are hard to learn and difficult to retain and generalise. Pupils may have poor balance and coordination and may be hesitant in many actions (running, skipping, hopping, holding a pencil, doing jigsaws, etc). Their articulation may also be immature and their language late to develop. They may also have poor awareness of body position and poor social skills.

Early Intervention

This is the process of intervening when a child or young person first shows signs of having difficulties. The aim is to ensure that help is received as soon as possible, to prevent any difficulties escalating.

Educational Psychologists

Educational Psychologists (EPs) bring a specialised perspective to working with children. They are concerned with children's learning and development and they aim to bring about positive change for children. They have skills in a range of psychological and educational assessment techniques and in different methods of helping children and young people who are experiencing difficulties in learning, behaviour or social adjustment.

EHC Plan

A single Education, Health and Care Plan, to be used from birth to 25 years of age. EHCP is a Statutory Assessment. This is the formal process whereby the Local Authority assesses a child's Special Educational Needs and / or Disabilities (SEND) and may result in a Statement of SEND being drawn up. This is a legal document which details a pupil’s Special Educational Needs and the provision required to meet those needs.


An IEP is an Individual Education Plan drawn up with a child’s specific educational needs in mind. This will include information to ensure all staff teaching the child understands their barriers to learning and the support required to help them make at least the same progress as their peers. An IEP will also have targets specific to the child’s needs and how the school intends to reach those targets. The targets will be reviewed three times per year in-line with progress meetings for all other children in the school. An IEP is not statutory but the school believes it is a helpful document in supporting the child’s specific educational needs.


Inclusion is a term which ensures equal learning opportunities for all children and young people.

Key Worker

The key worker coordinates the assessment, planning and provision for the child or young person and their family. The key worker helps to maintain relationships between the family and practitioners and helps the family through the process. The key worker is a consistent presence for the child or young person and their family. In Archbishop Runcie First School the key worker is usually the class teacher unless it is stated elsewhere in the relevant documentation.


Local Authority.

LAC – Looked After Children

The term used to describe a child in local authority care or in social accommodation for more than 24 hours.


Multi-agency working is a true partnership between workers from two or more (normally statutory) agencies based on common goals and strategic vision. Multi-agency working means that parent carers, children and young people are offered appropriate support in all areas of their life where this is needed.

Multi-Agency Team around the Family Meeting

A meeting which brings together parents and professionals from a range of different services and agencies, to help and support an individual child or young person and their family.


Multi-disciplinary working is where practitioners from different professional backgrounds work together in an integrated way.


Planning is a process where parent carers and practitioners come together to agree how their desired outcomes for the child or young person and the family can be achieved.

Personal Budget

A personal budget is the amount of funding available to meet the desired outcomes set out in the single plan for an individual child or young person. It will enable the child and their family to make choices to suit their particular circumstances about the way the outcomes are achieved. The personal budget can be held by the parent carers through a direct payment, held on their behalf by an agency or other organisation or a combination of these.

Parent Carer Participation

Parent carer participation is welcoming parent carers to the strategic decision making process as full partners from the start.


A practitioner is someone who is employed by an agency to work with children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families.

PRU – Pupil Referral Unit

Pupil Referral Units are centres for children who are not able to attend mainstream or special schools.


Special Educational Need: a learning difficulty or disability which makes it more difficult for a child to learn or access education than for most children in the same age group.


The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is responsible for coordinating special educational provision within mainstream schools.


Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Single Assessment

A single assessment process is one in which parent carers and practitioners pull together the range of assessment information and use this to identify their desired outcomes for the child or young person and their family. The single assessment process will be the basis for the development of the single support plan. The single assessment process will cover all areas of need and all relevant agencies will contribute to it.

Single Plan

A single plan is one in which the parent carers and practitioners build on the single assessment process to set out their desired outcomes for the child or young person and their family. The plan will identify the agreed the priority of each of these outcomes and set out how they will be achieved. The single plan will cover the contribution of the family and all relevant agencies and set out clear responsibilities and accountabilities with timescales.

Specialist Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Supporters

The Specialist Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Supporters exist to give confidential, impartial help and support to parents and carers who have a child aged 0-19 who needs extra help with pre-school or school education. This might be because the child or young person: is disabled, has a learning difficulty, has a social, emotional or behavioural difficulty or finds it more difficult to learn than other children the same age.


Transition is a change in a child’s or young person’s life where some or all of their support is undertaken by new services or other practitioners. This will include the transition between stages of education and the move from children’s to adult services.

Transition Plan

This is a plan for a young person who already has a Statement of SEN, which looks at their future education, training and support after the age of 16.