Skip to main content

Jargon Buster

Amongst the content in the Stockport SEND Local Offer, you may sometimes come across words, phrases or abbreviations that are difficult to understand. They can also mean different things to different people or organisations.

We are working hard to remove jargon, but hope you might find this guide useful.



Harm that is caused by anyone who has power over another person.


A state-funded school in England that is directly funded by the Department for Education, through the Education Funding Agency. Academies are self-governing and independent of local authority control.

Access to Work

An Access to Work grant from the Department for Work and Pensions helps to pay for practical support for young people and adults who have a disability, health or mental health condition so they can start work, stay in work or start their own business. It can pay for things like special equipment, fares to work if public transport is not practical, a support worker or coach in the workplace or a communicator at a job interview.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


Someone who can speak on your behalf, express your views and wishes, and ensure that your rights, concerns and needs are acted upon. Advocates act only according to the wishes of the person they are speaking for. They do not take their own view of what is best, or try to influence the person to make a different choice.

Annual review

The review of an EHC (Education, Health and Care) plan which the local authority must make as a minimum every 12 months.

Armed Forces Covenant

The armed forces covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the armed forces. It recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the armed forces and their families and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. The Covenant states that the children of service personnel should have the same standard of, and access to, education (including early years services) as any other UK citizen in the area in which they live.


Autistic Spectrum Disorder.


The process of working out what your needs are.



Payments from the Government that you may receive because of your age, disability, income or caring responsibilities.


British Sign Language


Behaviour Support Plan



Children and Young People


Common Assessment Framework. A method of assessment which can be used by social services, health or education. It is non statutory, i.e. it does not replace statutory assessment.

Care Plan

A record of the health and/or social care services that are being provided to a child or young person to help them manage a disability or health condition. The Plan will be agreed with the child’s parent or the young person and may be contained within a patient’s medical record or maintained as a separate document. Care Plans are also maintained by local authorities for looked after children – in this instance the Care Plan will contain a Personal Education Plan in addition to the health and social care elements.


A person who provides unpaid support to a partner, family member, friend or neighbour who is ill, struggling or disabled and could not manage without this help.


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. These services assess and treat children and young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. They range from basic pastoral care, such as identifying mental health problems, to specialist ‘Tier 4’ CAMHS, which provide in-patient care for those who are severely mentally ill.


Clinical Commissioning Group. This is an NHS organisation which brings together local GPs and health professionals to take on commissioning responsibilities for local health services. A CCG plans and arranges the delivery of the health care provision for people in its area.


Community Child Health Doctor

Children and young people’s secure estate

This comprises three types of establishment – secure children’s homes, secure training centres and young offender institutions.

Community Health Services

Health services that are provided outside hospitals.


Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool. An assessment tool for young people in the youth justice system. It ensures that young people in the secure estate and in the community receive a comprehensive assessment of their physical and mental health, substance misuse and neuro-disability needs on entry to the system.

Compulsory school age

A child is of compulsory school age from the beginning of the term following their 5th birthday until the last Friday of June in the year in which they become 16, provided that their 16th birthday falls before the start of the next school year.

Continuing health care

Ongoing care outside hospital for someone who is ill or disabled, arranged and funded by the NHS.


When you as an individual are involved as an equal partner in designing the support and services you receive.

CRB Checks

Criminal Records Bureau checks (now called DBS checks)


Dedicated schools grant

The ring-fenced specific grant paid by the department to local authorities from April 2006 in support of the schools budget. The money has either to be delegated to schools or used for centrally managed provision for pupils. It contains three funding blocks (schools, high needs and early years).


Department for Education. The government department that is responsible for education and children's services in England.


Designated Safeguarding Lead

Developmental delay

A delay in reaching the normal stages of development.


Disabled Students AllowanceAn allowance for undergraduate or post-graduate students who have a disability or long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia which affects their ability to study. It can be used to pay for things such as special equipment, a note-taker or transport costs.

Direct Payments

Payments made in lieu of services being provided. Direct Payments may be available for health care, social care and for the special educational provision in an EHC plan.

Disagreement resolution

This is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities to provide a quick and non-adversarial way of resolving disagreements between parents or young people and bodies responsible for providing education, whether the child or young person has an EHC plan or not, or health and social care in relation to EHC assessments and plans. Disagreement resolution services can also be used in cases of disagreement between local authorities and health commissioning bodies during EHC needs assessments, the drawing up of EHC plans or the reviewing of those plans.


Early Help

Providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child's life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.

Early Help Assessment

A social care assessment of a child and his or her family, designed to identify needs at an early stage and enable suitable interventions to be put in place to support the family.

Early Support Programme

The Early Support Programme co-ordinates health, education and social care support for the parents and carers of disabled children and young people from birth to adulthood. A key worker is assigned to families that join the Programme.


Early Years 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.

Early years provider

A provider of early education places for children under five years of age. This can include state-funded and private nurseries as well as child minders.


Education Funding Agency. An arm of the Department for Education that manages the funding for learners between the ages of 3 and 19 years and for those with SEN or disabilities between the ages of 3 and 25. The EFA allocates funding to 152 local authorities for maintained schools and voluntary aided schools. It is also responsible for funding and monitoring academies, Universities, Technical Colleges, studio schools and free schools as well as building maintenance programmes for schools and sixth-form colleges.

EHC plan

Education, Health and Care plan. An EHC plan details the education, health and social care support that is to be provided to a child or young person who has SEN or a disability. It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment of the child or young person has determined that an EHC plan is necessary and after consultation with relevant partner agencies.

Elected members

The elected members of a county council or unitary local authority (as opposed to the salaried officials of the council or local authority). Some elected members have a lead responsibility for specific areas of policy, for example the Lead Member for Children’s Services.


When your needs meet your council's criteria for council-funded care and support.


Educational Psychologist. A professional employed to assess a child or young person's special educational needs and to give advice to schools and settings on how the child's needs can be met. This role is sometimes referred to as an Ed Psych.


Early Years


First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)

An independent body which has jurisdiction under section 333 of the Education Act 1996 for determining appeals by parents against local authority decisions on EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. The Tribunal’s decision is binding on both parties to the appeal. The Tribunal also hears claims of disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Free school

A free school is a type of academy, which is free to attend, but is not controlled by the local authority. Free schools receive state funding via the Education Funding Agency. Parents, teachers, businesses or charities can submit an application to the Department for Education to set up a free school.


Further educationA college offering continuing education to young people over the compulsory school age of 16. The FE sector in England includes general further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes.


Free school meals


Graduated approach

A model of action and intervention in early education settings, schools and colleges to help children and young people who have special educational needs. The approach recognises that there is a continuum of special educational needs and that, where necessary, increasing specialist expertise should be brought to bear on the difficulties that a child or young person may be experiencing.



Health and Care Professions Council

Health and Wellbeing Board

A Health and Wellbeing Board acts as a forum where local commissioners across the NHS, social care and public health work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population and reduce health inequalities. The boards are intended to increase democratic input into strategic decisions about health and wellbeing services, strengthen working relationships between health and social care and encourage integrated commissioning of health and social care services.

Healthwatch England

Healthwatch England is an independent consumer champion, gathering and representing the views of the public about health and social care services in England. It operates both at a national and local level and ensures the views of the public and people who use services are taken into account. Healthwatch England works as part of the Care Quality Commission.

Healthy Child Programme

The Healthy Child Programme covers pregnancy and the first five years of a child’s life, focusing on a universal preventative service that provides families with a programme of screening, immunisation, health and development reviews, supplemented by advice around health, wellbeing and parenting.


Hearing Impairment.

Home Care

Care provided in your home by paid care workers.


Independent living

The right to choose the way you live your life.


Independent Reviewing Officer. The appointment of an IRO is a statutory requirement for local authorities under the Adoption and Children Act 2002. IROs make an important contribution to the goal of significantly improving outcomes for looked after children. Their primary focus is to quality assure the care planning process for each child, and to ensure that his or her current wishes and feelings are given full consideration.

Independent school

A school that is not maintained by a local authority and is registered under section 464 of the Education Act 1996. Section 347 of the Act 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 EHC plans.

Independent supporter

A person recruited locally by a voluntary or community sector organisation to help families going through an EHC needs assessment and the process of developing an EHC plan. This person is independent of the local authority and will receive training, including legal training, to enable him or her to provide this support.

Integrated Care

Joined up, coordinated health and social care that is planned and organised around the needs and preferencs of the individual, their carer and their family.



Joint Strategic Needs AssessmentJoint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) analyse the health needs of populations to inform and guide commissioning of health, wellbeing and social care services within local authority areas. The JSNA’s central role is to act as the overarching primary evidence base for health and wellbeing boards to decide on key local health priorities.


Key Stages

The different stages of education that a child passes through

  • Early Years Foundation Stage - age 0-5 - Nursery and Reception
  • KS One - age 5-7 - Years 1 & 2
  • KS Two - age 7 - 11 - Years 3, 4, 5 and 6
  • KS Three - age 11 -14 - Years 7, 8 and 9
  • KS Four - age 14 - 16 - Years 10 and 11
  • KS Five - age 16+ - Sixth form or college



A local authority / ‘Council’ in England.


Learning Disability


Learning Support Assistant, also sometimes called Teaching Assistant (“TA”).


Local Safeguarding Children Board

Local Offer

Local authorities in England are required to set out in their Local Offer information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Local authorities must consult locally on what provision the Local Offer should contain.


Maintained school

For the purposes of this Code, schools in England that are maintained by a local authority – any community, foundation or voluntary school, community special or foundation special school.


This is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities which is designed to help settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities over EHC needs assessments and plans and which parents and young people can use before deciding whether to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal about decisions on assessment or the special educational element of a plan. Mediation can cover any one or all three elements of an EHC plan and must be offered to the parent or young person when the final plan is issued, but they are not able to appeal to the Tribunal about the health and social care aspects of the plan.


Moderate learning difficulties – not a legal term but often used in relation to the description of a school, i.e. an MLD school.


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 Offender Management Service. NOMS is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. It is responsible for the running of prison and probation services, rehabilitation services for prisoners leaving prison, ensuring support is available to stop people re-offending, contract managing private sector prisons and services such as the Prisoner Escort Service and electronic tagging, and contract managing 35 Probation Trusts.

NHS Continuing Care

NHS Continuing Care is support provided for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness.

NHS Continuing Healthcare

NHS Continuing Healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals aged 18 and over who are not in hospital but have complex on-going healthcare needs. It can be provided in any setting, for example in the home or in a residential care home.

NHS England

NHS England is an independent body, at arm’s length to the government and held to account through the NHS Mandate. Its main role is to improve health outcomes for people in England by providing national leadership for improving outcomes and driving up the quality of care; overseeing the operation of clinical commissioning groups; allocating resources to clinical commissioning groups, and commissioning primary care and specialist services.

NHS foundation trust

NHS foundation trusts are not-for-profit corporations that provide NHS hospital, mental health and ambulance services. NHS foundation trusts are not directed by the Government, but are accountable to their local communities through their members and governors, to their commissioners through contracts and to Parliament through their annual report and accounts. Foundation trusts are registered with and inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

NHS Mandate

The NHS Mandate is issued by the government to NHS England. It sets out the government’s ambition for the National Health Service and provides direction to NHS England. The mandate will be reviewed annually.

NHS trust

NHS trusts are public sector bodies that provide community health, hospital, mental health and ambulance services on behalf of the NHS in England and Wales. Each trust is headed by a board consisting of executive and non-executive directors, and is chaired by a non-executive director.

Non-maintained special school

Schools in England approved by the Secretary of State under section 342 of the Education Acct 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.


Occupational Therapist or OT

Occupational Therapy, sometimes used to refer to the occupational therapist. A health professional trained to give advice on equipment, adaptations and activities to support the learning / social development of children, young people and adults with physical, emotional, sensory or behavioural difficulties.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.


Oppositional Defiance Disorder.


Office for Standards in Education, a non-Ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England. Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) form its professional arm.


Occupational Therapy


A description of the difference that will be made to an individual as a result of special educational or other provision. It should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and within a set timescale.



Under section 576 of the Education Act 1996, the term ‘parent’ includes any person who is not a parent of the child, but has parental responsibility (see below) or who cares for him or her.

Parent Carer Forum

A Parent Carer Forum is a group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families.

Parent Partnership Services

Parent Partnership Services provide advice and information to children with SEN or disabilities, their parents, and young people with SEN or disabilities. They provide neutral and factual support on the special educational needs system to help the children, their parents and young people to play an active and informed role in their education and care. Although funded by local authorities, Parent Partnership Services are run either at arm’s length from the local authority or by a voluntary organisation to ensure children, their parents and young people have confidence in them.

Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility is defined under Section 3 (1) of the Children Act 1989 as meaning all the duties, rights, powers, responsibilities and authority which parents have with respect to their children and their children’s property. Under Section 2 of the Children Act 1989, parental responsibility falls upon

• all mothers and fathers who were married to each other at the time of the child’s birth (including those who have since separated or divorced)

• mothers who were not married to the father at the time of the child’s birth, and

• fathers who were not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, but who have obtained parental responsibility either by agreement with the child’s mother or through a court order

Under Section 12 of the Children Act 1989, where a court makes a residence order in favour of any person who is not the parent or guardian of the child, that person has parental responsibility for the child while the residence order remains in force.

Under section 33 (3) of the Children Act 1989, while a care order is in force with respect to a child, the social services department designated by the order will have parental responsibility for that child, and will have the power (subject to certain provisions) to determine the extent to which a parent or guardian of the child may meet his or her parental responsibility for the child. The social services department cannot have parental responsibility for a child unless that child is the subject of a care order, except for very limited purposes where an emergency protection order is in force under Section 44 of the Children Act 1989.

Person Centred

A way of working that makes sure a child or young person and their family are central to and involved in all aspects of planning and decision-making with the professionals and services working with them.


Also known as Preparing for Adulthood
Is a National programme providing knowledge and support to local authorities and their partners, including families and young people, so they can ensure disabled young people achieve paid work, independent living, good health and community inclusion as they move into adulthood.

Personal Assistant

Someone you choose and employ to provide the support you need, in the way that suits you best.

Personal Budget

A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. The funds can be held directly by the parent or young person, or may be held and managed on their behalf by the local authority, school, college or other organisation or individual and used to commission the support specified in the EHC plan.

Personal Education Plan

An element of a Care Plan maintained by a local authority in respect of a looked after child, which sets out the education needs of the child. If a looked after child has an EHC plan, the regular reviews of the EHC plan should, where possible, coincide with reviews of the Personal Education Plan.


A way of thinking about care and support services that puts you at the centre of the process of working out what your needs are, choosing what support you need and having control over your life.


Profound and multiple learning difficulties. Refers to people with more than one disability including severe learning disabilities.


Planned, home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs. Local authorities usually provide Portage services. The Portage service is named after the town of Portage, Wisconsin, USA. There is an active and extensive network of Portage services in the UK, developed by the National Portage Association, which provides a Code of Practice and accredited training.


Pupil Referral Unit. Any school established and maintained by a local authority under section 19 (2) of the Education Act 1996 which is specially organised to provide education for pupils who would otherwise not receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason.



A way of helping you remain independent, by giving you the opportunity to relearn or regain some of the skills for daily living that may have been lost as a result of illness, accident or disability.


Are changes schools and other settings are required to make to ensure children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability are not substantially disadvantaged.  This could include: changes to physical features, for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom or providing extra support and aids such as specialist teachers or equipment.


A request for an assessment of a person's needs, or for support form a social care organisation.

Residential Care

Care in a home with or without nursing, for older people or people with disabilities who require 24 hour care.

Respite Care

A service giving carers a break, by providing short-term care for the person with care needs.


When you receive a re-assessment of your needs and you and the people in your life look at whether the services you are receiving are meeting your needs.


What you are entitled to receive, and how you should be treated, as a citizen.



The process of ensuring that adults at risk are not being abused, neglected or exploited.


Safeguarding Children Board

Self Assessment

A form or questionnaire that you can complete yourself, either on paper or online, explaining your circumstances and why you need support.

Self Directed Support

An approach to social care that puts you at the centre of the support planning process, so that you can make choices about the services you receive.

Self Funding

When you arrange and pay for your own care services and do not receive financial help from the council.


Service Children’s Education. SCE oversees the education of UK Service children abroad. It is funded by the Ministry of Defence and operates its own schools as well as providing advice to parents on UK and overseas schools.


Social, emotional and mental health difficulties.


Special Educational Needs. A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

SEN Information Report

All schools must publish on their websites information about their policy and arrangements for supporting children and young people with SEN. The schools are also required to keep this information up to date.

SEN Support

Is any help for children and young people with special educational needs that is additional to or different from the support generally made for other children of the same age. The purpose of SEN Support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process. SEN Support replaces Early Years Action/Action Plus and School Action/Action Plus.


Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. A qualified teacher in a school or maintained nursery school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision. In a small school, the headteacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools there may be a team of SENCOs. Other early years settings in group provision arrangements are expected to identify an individual to perform the role of SENCO and childminders are encouraged to do so, possibly sharing the role between them where they are registered with an agency.


Special educational needs and/or disabilities.


Severe learning difficulties – not a legal term but often used in relation to the description of a school, i.e. an SLD school.

Special educational provision

Special educational provision is provision that is different from or additional to that normally available to pupils or students of the same age, which is designed to help children and young people with SEN or disabilities to access the National Curriculum at school or to study at college.


Speech and language therapy. Speech and language therapy is a health care profession, the role and aim of which is to enable children, young people and adults 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.

Special school

A school which is specifically organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN. Special schools maintained by the local authority comprise community special schools and foundation special schools, and non-maintained (independent) special schools that are approved by the Secretary of State under Section 342 of the Education Act 1996.

Support Plan

A plan you develop that says how you will spend your personal budget.


Social Worker - a professional who works with individual people and families to help improve their lives by arranging to put in place the things they need.



Team around a child


Team around the family


Technology that enables you to remain independent and safe in your own home.


Is a time of change which could be at particular points during a child's education for example moving from primary to secondary school, or a move between services, for example moving from children's services to adult services.


An independent body that determines appeals by parents or young people against LA decisions on EHC needs assessment and EHC plans



Visual impairment.

Voluntary organisations

Organisations that are independent of the Government and local councils.


Virtual School Head. The Virtual School Head (VSH) is an officer of a local authority who leads a virtual school team that tracks the progress of children looked after by the authority as if they attended a single school. The Children and Families Act 2014 requires every local authority to appoint an officer who is an employee of that or another authority to discharge this duty.



Being in a position where you have good physical and mental health, control over your day to day life, good relationships, enough money, and the opportunity to take part in the activities that interest you.


Young person

A person over compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which they turn 16). From this point, the right to make decisions about matters covered by the Children and Families Act 2014 applies to the young person directly, rather than to their parents.


Youth Justice Board. The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales is an executive non-departmental public body. Its board members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice. The YJB oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales, works to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people under the age of 18 and ensures that custody for them is safe, secure and addresses the causes of their offending behaviour.


Youth Offending Service. Youth offending services are part of local authorities and are separate from the police and the justice system. They work with local agencies including the police, probation officers, health, children’s services, schools and the local community to run local crime prevention programmes, help young people at the police station if they’re arrested, help young people and their families at court, supervise young people serving a community sentence and stay in touch with a young person if they’re sentenced to custody.