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Jargon buster and abbreviations for special educational needs

Quick breakdown

Annual review (AR)
At the annual review the statement of special educational needs is reviewed. This should take place within 12 months of the statement being written and a final statement being issued (if this is the first annual review) or within 12 months of the previous annual review taking place.

This is the process of recording in measurable terms, a child’s abilities.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
This is a form that professionals complete to begin to look at what needs or support a child/young person may have. It helps to co-ordinate services so that you do not have to tell different professionals the same thing.

Connexions personal adviser (PA)
A Connexions PA supports young people aged 13-19 and up to 25 for people with a disability/learning difficulties. If your child has a statement of special educational needs, a Connexions PA will start to attend a young person’s annual review in year 9. Connexions can offer advice on education, training, employment, benefits, housing and free time.

The national curriculum sets out the core subjects your child will be taught at school. Children who are aged five to sixteen and are attending a maintained or state school are taught the national curriculum.

Curriculum entry levels
Entry level qualifications are for young people from 14 upwards who are not yet working at GCSE level. To ensure that small steps of achievement are recognised entry level is divided into three group’s entry level 1, entry level 2 and entry level 3.

Curriculum P levels/scales
P levels/scales provide a framework that is used to map a pupil’s progress with special educational needs who are working towards level 1 of the national curriculum. There are eight levels of P scales with P1 being the lowest and P 8 being the highest.

Delegated budgets
Is regular funding given to schools on an annual basis by the local authority. It can be used to support pupils with special educational needs including those with a statement.

Educational psychology service (EPS)
The educational psychology service provides advice, support to parents and schools. The services carries out assessments of children and young people who are having difficulties with learning, development, behaviour or social well being.

Educational psychologist (EP/Ed psych)
An educational psychologist works for the educational psychology service and is trained in psychology. They can help to find out why some children are having difficulties with learning in school.

Statement of special educational needs
The statement of special educational needs (SEN) is a legal document that the local authority produces and your child’s school must follow. It indentifies the help and support that your child is to be given to meet their needs.

Proposed statement
A draft copy of the statement of special educational needs, which parents/carers receive before the final statement is issued by the local authority.

Note in lieu
If a statutory assessment has been carried out and the local authority decides not to write a statement, the local authority could issue a note in lieu of a statement to parents and your child’s school. The note in lieu outlines the child’s special educational needs, why the local authority has decided not to issue a statement and any recommendations regarding support for a child.

Inclusion is when children with special educational needs are educated in mainstream schools. Children educated in this way should be involved in school activities with other children.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)
An individual education plan is designed to help children who are experiencing difficulties in school to improve their skills and knowledge at their own pace.

Classroom support
Schools have people who work in classrooms alongside teachers to support children to get the most out of their learning. These people are known by different titles including:

Named officer or caseworker
This person liaises with parents/carers and schools regarding a child’s statutory assessment. They also work on producing the statement of special educational needs and may be invited to the annual reviews, then will make any necessary amendments following the review.

Person Centred Planning (PCP)
Person centred planning puts the young person at the centre of planning and focuses on their aspirations. It is about families and professionals making plans with a young person and not for them.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
PECS is used as an aid to communication, for children and young people with autistic spectrum disorder and special educational needs. It helps them to communicate their needs and wants. PECS is used in schools, home and other venues.

Special Needs Assessment and Planning Team (SNAPT)
SNAPT is a multi-professional panel, which meets weekly in term. SNAPT are part of the local authority and advises the LA of provision for a child with special educational needs (SEN).

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)
A SENCo is a teacher who is responsible for co-ordinating the special educational needs support in schools. Every school has a SENCo.

Special educational needs tribunal
This is an independent body that hears appeals by parents against local authority decisions on assessments and statements. A tribunal decision is binding to both parties.

Transition (primary-secondary school)
If your child has a statement, the move from primary to secondary school should be discussed at your child’s year 5 annual review. Transition is about planning for when your child moves to secondary school.

Transition (secondary school – when leaves school)
If your child has a statement, in year 9 at school they will start to have transitional annual reviews. Transition is about planning for when a young person leaves school, and what they might like to do. A Connexions PA will start to attend the meetings. A transition plan will be written at the year 9 annual reviews and will be reviewed every year till the young person leaves school.

Transition plan
A transition plan is a document that records what has been said at the transitional annual review and if any action is to be taken and by whom.


ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
BESD — Behavioural, Emotional, Social Difficulties
BSL — British Sign Language
CAMHS — Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
COP — Code of Practice
DFE — Department for Education
DLA — Disability Living Allowance
EBD — Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
EWO — Educational Welfare Officer
FE — Further Education
HI — Hearing Impaired
ICP — Information and Communication Technology
IEP — Individual Education Plan

LA — Local Authority
LD — Learning Difficulty

MLD — Moderate Learning Difficulties
MSI — Multi-Sensory Impairment
OT — Occupational Therapist
PD — Physical Disability
PMLD — Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties
PPS — Parent Partnership Service
PRU — Pupil Referral Unit
PSP — Pastoral Support Plan

RA — Reading Age
SA — Spelling Age
SALT — Speech and Language Therapist
SEN — Special Educational Needs
SLD — Severe Learning Difficulties
VI — Visual Impairement

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