Terminology Guide

This section explains some of the terms and acronyms used. It is designed to help parents and carers understand what is being discussed or written about by professionals, relating to their child or young person’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  If you need more help with this you could contact the Parent Link Officers who will be happy to support you. 


Stands for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD is a range of problem behaviours associated with difficulties with attention span, including restlessness and hyperactivity.

Annual Review

The Review of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which a Local Authority (LA) must carry out within 12 months of making the EHCP and then on at least an annual basis.

Annual Review Report

A written progress report completed by the school and any other professionals who have been supporting the pupil for an Annual or Transition Review meeting.

Annual Review Summary

A written report completed by the school recording all information and recommendations from the Annual Review meeting and sent to the Local Authority for consideration.


An appeal is when you tell a tribunal that you do not agree with the choices your Local Authority have made about your child’s education. This could be about the help you have at school or the school you go to.


A teacher with specialist knowledge and experience in Special Educational Needs in Early Years, employed by the Local Authority to provide advice and support to Foundation Stage staff in private voluntary and independent early years’ settings on the inclusion of children with SEND. They support settings around best practice when children with SEND transition to school 


Stands for Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Condition – the term used for a range of disorders affecting the development of social interaction, communication and imagination.


Stands for Cognition and Learning. Cognition is the process of gaining and understanding information through our thoughts, experiences, and senses. Learning involves acquiring knowledge through experience, study, or being taught. Support for cognition and learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation and support.

Code of Practice for SEND

A guide for parents, schools and Local Authorities about the help they can give to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Schools, Local Authorities and Children’s Social Services must have regard to the Code (i.e. they must not ignore it) when they work with a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Core Assessment

This is a detailed assessment to look at child/family needs, significant health needs, physical disability or behavioural problems requiring a number of different services. If needed this is carried out by Social Work staff from Children’s Social Care following an Initial Assessment.

Decision Making Group

The Local Authority has a group of professionals who meet together to look at how children’s needs are being met and to be sure that resources are used fairly.

Delegated Funding

All schools  delegated funding is calculated using the Local Authority Fair Funding Formula, according to a range of formulae factors.  Funding is allocated by the LA to maintained schools and by the ESFA to academies and free schools.

Disagreement Resolution

Local Authorities must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents whose children have Special Educational Needs and the Local Authority or school. Using this service does not affect parents’ right to appeal to the SEN Tribunal.

Draft Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

This is a draft Education, Health and Care Plan, offering parents 15 working days to comment or request adjustments before the Final EHCP is issued.

Early Years’ Settings

All pre-school education provision such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and play groups.

Education, Health and Care Plan

A legal document that sets out a child’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and all the extra help he or she must receive.

Educational Psychologist (Ed Psych) (EP)  

Have a first degree in Psychology and a post-graduate qualification in Educational Psychology. They offer specialist advice and support to schools, settings, families, young people and other agencies. The service plays a major role in the Statutory Assessment, transition and annual review processes.

Equalities Act

The Equality Act became law in October 2010. It replaces previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what you need to do to make your workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law.

Equalities and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a non-departmental public body in Great Britain that was established by the Equality Act 2006 and came into being on 1 October 2007. The Commission has responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales. It took over the responsibilities of three former commissions: the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission (which dealt with gender equality) and the Disability Rights Commission. It also has responsibility for other aspects of equality: age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. As a national human rights institution, it seeks to promote and protect human rights in Great Britain.


Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary school that’s not part of higher education usually carried out at a University. (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree). Courses range from basic English and maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

Forward Thinking Birmingham

Forward Thinking Birmingham, the city’s mental health partnership for 0-25 year olds.

Health Visitor

A qualified nurse employed by the Health Service who gives advice on general child health, particular health problems and has specific responsibility for monitoring 


Stands for Hearing Impairment – pupils with a hearing impairment range from hearing loss to those who are profoundly deaf.


Educating children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in mainstream (local) schools wherever possible.


Stands for Information Technology (sometimes called information and communication technology)

Key Stages

Educational Stages that schools split year groups into 
Early Years (up to the end of Reception Class – ages 3 – 5)
Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2 – ages 5 – 7)
Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 – ages 7 to 11)
Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9 – ages 11 – 14)
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11 – ages 14 – 16)
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13 – ages 16 – 18)


Stands for Local Authority

Learning Difficulties

A child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age.

Learning Support Assistant (LSA)

An assistant providing in-school support for pupils with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. An LSA works under the direction of a class teacher as considered appropriate. (see also Teaching Assistant or TA)

Link Professional

One person who is responsible for helping the child and family through the education system and to make sure they get the right services at the right time.

Mainstream School

A Local Authority maintained school that is not a special school (i.e. it is an ordinary school). Mainstream schools form the majority of schools and include Infant, Junior, Primary and Secondary schools.

Maintained School

A state school including community, foundation and voluntary schools as well as community special and foundation special schools.

Mentor or Learning Mentor

An adult or older pupil who is linked with a child to provide support across a number of areas such as learning or behaviour.


Stands for Moderate Learning Difficulties. The general level of academic attainment of children and young people with MLD will be significantly lower than that of their peers. Generally, they will have difficulty acquiring literacy and numeracy skills. 


The ongoing assessment of work, progress, expenditure or achievement.

Multi Agency Team

Professionals from different specialisms (health/education/ social care/voluntary organisations) working together in the best interest of your child.


Involving professionals from a range of disciplines (usually Education, Social Care and Health)

Multi-Sensory Environment

A place (usually a classroom or therapy room) where children have the opportunity to learn/receive information using all of their senses.

National Curriculum

What the Government has decided that all children in mainstream schools will learn.

Notional SEN Budget

The Notional SEN Budget is included within a school’s delegated funding and includes funding allocated on the following formulae factors:

  • 5% of the school’s funding allocated on basic pupil entitlement factor

  • 50% of funding allocated on deprivation factors (free school meals and IDACI)

  • 100% of funding allocated on low prior attainment factor

This funding is identified for supporting  all pupils with Special Educational Needs in the school.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

A professional employed by the Health Trust to work with the child, parents and teachers. Occupational Therapists use therapeutic techniques (advising on equipment and environmental adaptations where appropriate) to improve a child’s ability to access the physical and learning curriculum.

Outreach Services

Support services provided to schools or pupils by specialist professionals: for example, providing support for communication or behaviour difficulties.


A doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Parent Services

A range of groups who provide support and information to parents/carers whose children have Special Educational Needs or Disabilities.


Stands for Person Centred Planning or Person Centred Review.


A specialist who works with children who have movement difficulties. They can advise parents on suitable exercises for their children.


Stands for Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties – in addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care.

Provision Map

A map of support showing what the school is providing for their SEND pupils, so parents can better understand what support is on offer, when and where from.


A Pastoral Support Plan (PSP) is a school-based intervention that is designed to support children and young people with health care needs and/or who may be anxious and phobic and/or who may be at risk of becoming disaffected through repeated fixed-term exclusion or permanent exclusion. A PSP is designed to be a short-term intervention tool which is reviewed regularly.


A doctor who helps people who have difficulties with the way they feel and behave. Child Psychiatrists specialise in helping children.

Published Admission Number

Refers to the number the school can admit to the relevant age group in any one year.

Pupil Referral Unit

Provides education for excluded pupils or others who may be out of school for a variety of reasons.

Resource Base

A Resource Base is a classroom or area for enhanced support, based within a mainstream school, providing education for pupils with a range of complex needs.  


Stands for Speech and Language Therapist – they help children who have speech, language and communication difficulties.

Special School

A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Education, Health and Care Plans whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream school.

SEN Support

When a class or subject teacher, working with the SENCo, identifies that a child has Special Educational Needs that require advice and/or support from outside agencies. They take action by giving help that is additional to, or different from, the help most other children have.

SEN Support Provision Plan

An SEN Support Provision Plan is a document that schools can complete over time, as part of the graduated approach, for pupils with a range of needs or a high level of need in a specific area.  It details the main areas of need, the provision that the school intend to put in place and the agencies responsible for supporting the provision.  Where necessary, schools can use this document to access additional funding to support pupils with complex needs in their setting or to support an application for a statutory assessment. 

SEND Locality Teams

A team of integrated professionals who work in specific geographical locations in the city. 


Stands for Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties. These needs are a type of special educational need where a child communicates through behaviour in response to unmet social, emotional or mental health needs. Children with SEMH needs often have difficulties in managing their emotions or their behaviour. They can show inappropriate responses to their emotions. 


Stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A child is said to have a special educational need if he/she has learning difficulties that need special educational provision.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo)

A member of staff of a school or early education setting, who has responsibility for co-ordinating Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision within that school.

Sensory Support Service 

A team of experienced qualified teaching and non-teaching staff who provide skilled support for children who have hearing, vision and multi needs sensory impairment including deaf/blind. Teaching staff offer a wide range of skills to teach and support children and families from the time of diagnosis in the critical early years’ and throughout school life.


Stands for Sensory Impairment.  Sensory impairment is when one of your senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and spatial awareness, is no longer normal. For example,  if you find it hard to hear or have a hearing aid then you have a hearing impairment.


Stands for Speech, Language and Communication Needs – pupils may have difficulties with expressive language or receptive language and/or processing difficulties.


Stands for Severe Learning Difficulties – pupils with severe learning difficulties have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and learning self-help skills. Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum.


Stands for Specific Learning Difficulties in a particular area of learning.

Statutory Assessment

Statutory Assessment is a formal procedure, governed by law (Children’s and Families Act 2014) which involves the collection of detailed assessments of a child’s Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. Assessment works best when all involved (parents, school staff, health and social services, psychologists and other Local Authority staff), work in partnership to secure the best outcome for the child.

Teaching Assistant/Learning Support Assistant/General Assistant (TA/LSA/GA)

A person employed in school to support children’s learning under the direction of a class teacher.

Transition Plan

A plan devised at the time of a Transition from one key stage to another


Also known as Pupil Referral Unit or Resource Base


Stands for Visual Impairment – a range of difficulties from partial sight through to blindness.