What do these words mean?



Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED):

A non-Ministerial government department is responsible for the inspection of all schools in England.


Code of Practice:

It provides practical advice to Local Education Authorities (LEAs), schools and others on carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for children with special educational needs. LEAs, schools, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal and others such as health and social services must have regard to it.


Early education practitioners:

All the people who work in early years settings whatever their qualifications.


Early education settings:

Providers in receipt of government funding to deliver early education including -maintained mainstream and special schools, maintained nursery schools, independent schools, non-maintained special schools, local authority daycare providers such as day nurseries and family centres, other registered daycare providers such as pre-schools, playgroups and private day nurseries, local authority Portage schemes and accredited childminders working as part of an approved National Childminding Association network.


Special educational needs and Disability (SEND):

A child has special needs if he or she has learning difficulties that need special educational help.


Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO):

Member of staff of a school or early education setting who has responsibility for co­ordinating special educational needs (SEND) provision within that school. In a small school, the headteacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools, there may be an SEN coordinating team.


Local Education Authority (LEA):

The part of the local council that is responsible for providing education, making assessments and maintaining statements.


Special school:

A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs.


Mainstream school:

An ordinary school.


Maintained school:

Schools maintained by a local education authority - any community, foundation, voluntary schools, community special and foundation special schools.


Non-maintained special school:

Schools in England approved by the Secretary of State under section 324 of the Education Act 1996 as special schools which are not maintained by the state but charge fees on a non-profit-making basis. Most non-maintained special schools are run by major charities or charitable trusts.


Independent school:

A school that is not maintained by a local education authority and is registered under section 464 of the Education Act 1996. Section 347 of the Education Act 1996 sets out the conditions under which an independent school may be approved by the Secretary of State as being suitable for the admission of children with statements of special educational needs.


Learning support assistant (LSA):

A widely used job title for an assistant providing in-school support for pupils with special educational needs. An LSA will normally work with a particular pupil or pupils providing close support to the individual pupil and assistance to those responsible for teaching him/her.


Foundation stage:

The foundation stage begins when children reach the age of three. Many children attend an early education setting soon after their third birthday. The foundation stage continues until the end of the reception year and is consistent with the National Curriculum. It prepares children for learning in year 1 , when programmes of study for key stage 1 are taught.


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.


National Numeracy and Literacy Strategies:

The strategies were introduced to raise standards of literacy and mathematics. Primary schools are now teaching a dedicated literacy hour and daily mathematics lesson.


Individual Education Plan (IEP):

The IEP is a planning, teaching and reviewing tool. It is a working document for all teaching staff recording key short-term targets and strategies for an individual pupil that are different from or additional to those in place for the rest of the group or class.


Clinical Psychologist:

A professional who studies how people behave. They can make an assessment with regards to behavioural and emotional issues and may implement a behaviour management plan. Clinical Psychologists are able to make the initial diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder. The Autism Helpline has a small list of clinical psychologists who specialise in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder.


Educational Psychologist (EP):

Educational Psychologists are involved in the assessment of educational needs and the statementing process. They are usually employed by the Local Education Authority to advise and help staff in schools and make recommendations with regards to the needs of a child. Some EPs work on an independent basis and can be commissioned by parents to assess and report on their child. The National Autistic Society (NAS) maintains a small list of Independent Educational Psychologists with experience of autistic spectrum disorders.


Occupational therapy (OT):

Motor, sensory, perceptual, social, emotional and self-care skills are assessed. Working with the child, parents and teachers, occupational therapists use therapeutic techniques (advising on equipment and environment adaptations where appropriate) to improve a child's ability to access the physical and learning curriculum. Purposeful activities and play are used to help a child attain maximum levels of functional performance, thus gaining self-esteem and independence.


Speech and language therapy (SALT):

The role and aim of which is to enable adults and children with speech, language and communication difficulties (and associated difficulties with eating and swallowing) to reach their maximum communication potential and achieve independence in all aspects of life. The NAS maintains a small list of Independent Speech and Language Therapists with experience of autistic spectrum disorders.



Planned, home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs usually provided by the local education authority.



Therapy designed for problems with movement posture and balance. A physiotherapist's main aim is to help a child function and move normally, preventing abnormal positions or movements. An assessment will be made so as to find out what stage of development the child is at in comparison to a normal child. The physiotherapist will decide the treatment. They will recommend the number of times therapy will be required and whether any special equipment is needed.


SEND Toolkit:

This document is published in conjunction with the Code of Practice. It provides practical suggestions on ways in which the statutory guidance in the code can be implemented.


Statement of special educational needs:

A document that sets out a child's needs and the extra help he or she should get.


Statutory Assessment:

It is a formal procedure undertaken by the Local Education Authority. It is a detailed investigation to find out what your child's special educational needs are and what provision is needed to meet those needs. A number of professionals such as an Educational Psychologist will be involved. It may lead to a statement of special educational needs.


Proposed Statement:

A statement issued by the Local Education Authority (LEA) in draft form. It is issued after statutory assessment or re-assessment or when an amendment has been made to the statement. Parents can negotiate with the LEA with regards to what is written on the proposed statement. A school in Part 4 will not be named on a proposed statement. A proposed statement needs to be issued before you receive a final statement.


Note in lieu:

A note that may be issued to the child's parents and school when, following a statutory assessment, the LEA decides not to make a statement. The note should describe the child's special educational needs, explain why the LEA does not think it is necessary to make a statement and make recommendations about appropriate provision for the child. All the advice received during the assessment should be attached to the note sent to the parents and, with their consent, should also be sent to the child's school.


Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST):

They are an independent tribunal, which hears parent's appeals against certain decisions of the Local Education Authority about a child's special educational needs. The tribunal is governed by the special educational needs (SEN) Tribunal Regulations 2001 and they must pay regard to the SEN Code of Practice.



Under section 576 of the Education Act 1996 a parent includes any person who is not a parent of the child but has parental responsibility, or who cares for him.


Parent partnership service:

A service providing advice and information to parents whose children have special educational needs. Even though it is funded by the Local Education Authority (LEA) it provides. 

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