Family Information and Services Hub

Glossary / Jargon buster



AAC - Augmentative and Alternative Communication. The term AAC covers a huge range of techniques which support or replace spoken communication. These include gesture, signing, symbols, word boards, communication boards and books, as well as Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs).

Academy mainstream school (primary and secondary) - Independently managed, all ability school set up by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education and the local authority. Admissions are co-ordinated by Hampshire County Council.

Advocate - Someone who can help ensure that a person is listened to, and that their rights, concerns and needs are acted upon.

Academy special school - Independently managed special school set up by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education and the local authority. Admissions are co-ordinated by Hampshire County Council.

Annual review - The review of a statement of special educational needs or EHC plan which a local authority must make within 12 months of issuing the statement or EHC plan and within 12 months, and not less than 6 months, of the previous review.

Appendix - A report completed by a professional for example, school, educational psychologist, therapist, during an education, health & care needs assessment. The information contained in the appendix is used to complete an Education, Health & Care Plan if one is issued.

Appointee - Someone who acts on another person’s behalf in all social security (benefits) matters.

Area Inclusion Co-ordinator (INCo) - Early years and childcare settings receive support from an Area Inclusion Co-ordinator, whose role is to work with the settings to ensure all children, whatever their needs, can be included in a full range of activities and learning experiences.

AS, ASC or ASD - Autistic Spectrum, Autistic Spectrum Condition or Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Assessment - This involves building a picture of your child’s abilities, difficulties, behaviour, his/her special educational needs and the support required to meet those needs. A statutory assessment is a formal procedure which involves the collection of information from as many people as possible who have detailed knowledge about your child. This may lead to the issue of an EHC plan.

Audiologist - Health professional who specialises in identifying and treating hearing and balance disorders

Audiometrician - Health professional who specialises in measuring hearing ability


Blue badge - The Blue Badge scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled. Apply to your local Council.


CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

CC - Continuing Care (Child Health)

CCG - Clinical Commissioning Group(s)

CDC - Council for Disabled Children

C & F Act 2014 (Children & Families Act 2014) - Since September 2014, there have been a number of changes to improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The changes are a result of the Children and Families Act 2014 which became law on the 13 March 2014. The Act aims to improve how different agencies and services work together and create a more joined-up approach to the statutory assessment process for children and young people with the most complex needs.

CIC - Children in Care

CLA - Children Looked After. A child is 'looked after' if they are in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours. Legally, this could be when they are living in accommodation provided by the local authority with the parents' agreement or the subject of an interim or full care order. This is sometimes also referred to as LAC

Code of Practice (SEN) CoP - A national guide from the Department for Education to schools and local authorities about the help they can give to children with special educational needs. Schools, local authorities and health services must have regard to the Code when they are involved with a child with special educational needs.

Cognitive ability - Thinking and reasoning abilities. A term often used by psychologists instead of intelligence.

Community school - Maintained by Hampshire County Council as the local authority.

Community special school - A school for children with special educational needs, maintained by Hampshire County Council.

Comprehension - Understanding of spoken or written material or practical situations.

Curriculum - The curriculum is all of the learning opportunities that a school offers. The National Curriculum is described later in the glossary.

CYP - Children and young people


DCT - Disabled children’s team. Local authority teams who specialise in working with children who are disabled who have met eligibility criteria for DCT. There are 4 teams across HCC.

Developmental delay - A delay in reaching the normal stages of development, for example sitting or talking.

DfE - Department for Education. Central government department responsible for education.

Differentiated Curriculum - Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Teachers take account of this when planning their lessons, organising the classroom and choosing books and materials. They are then able to choose from the range of available approaches and resources to make a selection which best fits the learning styles of a particular child or group of children. This is what is meant by a differentiated curriculum.

Disagreement arrangements - All local authorities must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents whose children have special educational needs and the local authority or a school. They must include an independent element. They are designed to bring together the different parties in an informal way to seek to resolve the disagreement through discussion. Using these arrangements is voluntary and does not in any way affect parental rights to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability).

DMO - Designated Medical Officer

DoH - Department of Health

DP - Direct Payments


Early years setting - Providers who receive 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.

Educational psychologist (EP) - A person, with a degree in psychology, training and experience in teaching and a further degree in educational psychology. An educational psychologist, employed by the local authority, will give advice and support to teachers and parents on how a child’s needs can be met.

Education welfare officer (EWO) - A local authority officer who helps parents and local authorities to meet their respective statutory obligations in relation to school attendance.

EHC - Education Health and Care (plan) - has replaced SEN Statements from September 2014

Expressive language - How a child or young person expresses ideas, thoughts and feelings through speech

EY - Early years


Federation - This term describes when two or more schools have a formal agreement to share governance arrangements and work together to raise standards.

Fine motor skills - Small movements of the body for example, using fingers to pick up small items, holding a pencil or doing up zips and buttons.

First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) - An independent body which hears appeals from parents against decisions made by local authorities.

Foundation school - A school maintained by Hampshire County Council but the governors are responsible for admissions. Trust schools are included in this category.

Free school - A new type of all ability state funded independent school, free from local authority control.


Gait - The way in which a child walks.

Gastrostomy - An artificial opening in the stomach to aid feeding and nutritional support

Global delay - A general delay in acquiring normal developmental milestones.

Governors - A school’s governing body that oversees the workings of the school. It includes an SEN Governor and a Parent Governor. For information about their roles and responsibilities for children with SEN please view this page.

GP - General Practitioners

Graduated approach - A model of action and intervention in schools and early education settings to help children 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 may be experiencing.

Gross Motor Skills - Use of the large muscles in the body that aid sitting, standing, walking, etc.


Hearing impairment - A degree of hearing loss.

Hyperactivity - Difficulty in concentrating or sitting still for any length of time. Restless, fidgety behaviour, also a child may have sleeping difficulties.

Hypertonia - A medical term to describe increased muscle tone.

Hypotonia - Medical term to describe decreased muscle tone.


IHA - Initial Health Assessment which is carried out for children and young people in care (looked after children)

IASS - Information Advice and Support Service. Have a duty to provide information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents. They are statutory services which means there has to be one in every local authority.

IPSEA - Independent and Parental Special Education Advice service

Inclusion - Educating children with special educational needs, together with children who do not have special educational needs, in mainstream schools, wherever possible. Ensuring that children with special educational needs engage in the activities of the school together with the other children.

Independent living - Support for adults to live in the community rather than in a residential home.

Independent parental supporter - Provides information and practical support to parents/carers of children with special educational needs.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) - Short term targets for achievements set, reviewed and evaluated by the school with parents/child with copies made available to parents.



Key Stages - The different stages of education that a child passes through: ◦Early Years Foundation Stage – age 0-5 (Early years setting, Nursery and Reception);

◦Key Stage one – age 5-7 (Years 1 and 2);

◦Key Stage two – age 7-11(Years 3, 4, 5 and 6);

◦Key Stage three – age 11-14 (Years 7, 8 and 9);

◦Key Stage four – age 14-16 (Years 10 and 11);

◦Key Stage five – age 16+ (Sixth form or college)


LAC - Looked after children. A child is 'looked after' if they are in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours. Legally, this could be when they are living in accommodation provided by the local authority with the parents' agreement or the subject of an interim or full care order.

LDA - Learning Difficulty Assessment

Learning difficulties (LD) - A child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age, or has a disability which prevents them from making use of educational facilities provided for children of the same age.

Learning support assistant (LSA) - A widely used job title for an assistant providing in school support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. 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. Some assistants specialising in SEN may also be known by titles other than LSA as these matters are decided locally. LSAs are one of a group of assistants coming within the broader Department for Education classification of ‘teaching assistant’ (TA).

Literacy skills - Reading, writing and spelling ability.

Local authority (LA) - Local government body responsible for providing education and for making statutory assessments and maintaining statements.

Local offer - Local authorities will be required to publish a ‘local offer’. A local offer is intended to provide information about provision it expects to be available to children with SEN and disabilities in their area both in and outside of a school.


Mainstream school - A primary or secondary school which is in direct control of a Local Authority.

Makaton - A system of communication that involves the combined use of manual signs and speech.

Mediation - Mediation is a way of sorting out a disagreement in a safe and friendly environment. It can help you rebuild trust and working relationships, and can deal with problems you were not aware of. Mediation uses a neutral person (the mediator) who is experienced at helping people who disagree to come to an agreement. The mediation service is completely neutral and independent of schools and the local authority.

Modified curriculum - Changing the curriculum in some way to meet a child or young person’s individual needs. Examples include increasing/decreasing the difficulty level, length, or pace, alternating easy and difficult tasks, alternating preferred and less preferred tasks, teaching the skill within daily routines, using materials that are interesting to the child or young person, etc.

Motability - Scheme to rent a vehicle using DLA or PIP payments to cover the costs. You must be in receipt of Higher Rate mobility component of DLA or PIP.

Muscle Tone - Refers to the amount of tension or resistance in a muscle which enables movement

Music therapy - Form of therapy often used to help communicate and build relationships with people who are non-verbal or have problems with verbal communication, through the use of playing, singing and listening to music.

Multi-disciplinary (team) (MDT) - Meeting of a group of professionals who assess, support and treat an individual

My views - A child or young person’s report to an Education, Health & Care Needs assessment. This report can be completed by the child or young person independently or with support from an adult.


Named local authority officer - An officer of the Children’s Services Department who will deal with your child’s case. This is usually the Principal Special Needs Officer.

National curriculum - This sets out a clear, full and statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils, setting out what should be taught and setting attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported. The national curriculum is taught in a way that meets the needs of individual pupils, eg setting goals that are achievable.

NG tube - Nasogastric tube inserted into the stomach via the nose to aid feeding.

NHS - National Health Service

Non-maintained special school - A non-profit-making special school which charges fees. Most non-maintained special schools are run by charities or charitable trusts.

Non-verbal skills - Skills which do not require spoken or written language, but use other ways to communicate, e.g. gesture, facial expression.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Mental health condition characterised by obsessive thoughts that causes heightened anxiety and compulsive behaviour the person the person thinks is necessary to relieve their obsession.

Occupational therapist (OT) - A person who advises about aids and adaptations that may help your child.

OFSTED - Office for Standards in Education. Inspection team that visit and inspects schools and local authorities.

Ophthalmologist - Medically trained doctor with specialist skills in the diagnoses and treatment of diseases of the eye.

Orthotist - Healthcare professional who assesses individuals for and designs specialist braces, splints and footwear.

Orthoptist - Healthcare professional who investigates, diagnoses and treats sight related problems and abnormalities of eye movement and eye position.

Our story - The family report or story for an Education, Health & Care Needs assessment. This report can be completed by the family independently or with support.


Paediatrician - Doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Paraplegia - Impairments in sensory or motor function of the lower half of the body.

Parent Partnership Service (PPS) - Provides impartial advice and information to parents whose children have special educational needs. The service offers neutral and factual support on all aspects of the SEN framework to help parents play an active and informed role in their child’s education. In Hampshire, this service has been renamed Hampshire SENDIAS

Person Centred Approach - A way of working with a person to find out what is important and meaningful to them.

Personal budget - Your personal budget is the money you get from Hampshire County Council, to pay for the help you need.

Personalisation - The provision of tailored care and support to individuals based on their needs and choices they make about how they live their lives.

PHB - Personal Health Budget

Physiotherapist - Employed by the local health service to help people who have physical disabilities. They can help your child with exercises and provide specialist equipment.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) - Picture based communication system commonly used be pre-verbal or non-verbal children and young people.

PIP - This is a new benefit replacing DLA for those over 16. Personal Independence Payment helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability. It is being phased in over the next few years.

Play therapy - The use of play to help children act out and understand difficult life experiences and anxiety in order to reduce anxiety, improve self esteem and better manage their emotions.

Portage - Home based pre-school education for children with developmental delay, disabilities or any other special educational needs. Portage home visitors work in partnership with parents, helping parents to help their child through learning activities within the home.

Preparing for Adulthood - 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.

Profound and Multiple Learning Disability (PMLD) - Refers to people with more than one disability including severe learning disabilities.

Psychiatrist - Medically qualified doctor who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions.

Pupil Referral Unit - A specialist school run by local authorities which provides education for children who cannot attend a conventional school. Includes children with behavioural or medical problems, mothers and pregnant schoolgirls, children who are school phobic or who are awaiting a school place.

PV - Parent Voice




RHA - Review Health Assessment for children and young people in care (looked after children). Should be carried out six monthly for under 5s and annually for over 5s


S139a - Learning Difficulty Assessments conducted under section 139A of the Learning and Skills Act 2000

School medical officer - A doctor who monitors your child’s health to ensure that it does not stop him or her from learning. The medical officer may do regular check-ups on your child if he or she has a physical, sensory or medical problem.

SE7 - South East 7 – partnership of seven councils in the South East of England

SEN support - When a child or young person has been identified as having special educational needs, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place called SEN Support. This SEN Support should take the form of a four part cycle (assess/plan/do/review) through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the child’s needs and what support the child in making good progress and securing good outcomes. This is known as the graduated approach.

SLTA - Speech and Language Therapy Assistant. Usually trained and experienced in working with children who have speech, language or communication needs, SLCN, but not professionally qualified and registered. For quality assurance, SLTAs must work under the guidance of a fully qualified and registered SLT.

SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

SMART targets - Targets which are Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed.

Short breaks - Short breaks can last from just a few hours to a few days – from daytime and evening activities to weekend and overnight or maybe longer. They can take place in a community setting, the child’s own home, the home of an approved carer or in a residential setting. They also provide parents and families with a necessary and valuable break from caring responsibilities.

Social worker (SW) - A person who will support a family with practical issues such as benefit applications, respite care, household adaptations etc.

Special educational needs (SEN) - Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which requires special educational provision to be made for them.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) An independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by the local authority on EHC plans.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) - Member of staff of a early education setting or school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision within that early education setting or school. In a small school the headteacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools there may be a SEN co-ordinating team.

Special educational provision - The special help given to children with special educational needs which is additional to or different from the provision generally made for other children of the same age.

Specialist resourced provision - Additionally funded provision for particular types of special educational needs in mainstream schools, e.g for children with hearing impairment, physical disability, or visual impairment.

Specialist teacher adviser (STA) - Employed by the local authority to provide specialist advice to schools for children with physical disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment and specific learning difficulties.

Special school - A school which is specifically organised to give help to pupils with special educational needs.

Speech and language therapist (SaLT or SALT) - A person who helps children who have language difficulties or speech problems.

Statement of special educational needs - A legal document that sets out a child’s special educational needs and the additional help he or she should receive.

Statutory assessment - A very detailed assessment of a child’s special educational needs which may lead to a statement or a note in lieu. These are gradually being phased out and replaced with EHC plans.

Supersession - A review of Disability Living Allowance where a person believes their circumstances have changed and that they may be entitled to more help.

Supported living - Supported living is a type of residential support that helps vulnerable adults, including people with learning disabilities, to live with support in the community.


Transition plan - A plan drawn up at the annual review of the statement held when a child reaches Year 9 (13 or 14 years old). It sets out the steps and support needed for him or her to move from school to adult life.

Transition review (TR) - A reassessment of need to consider the transfer of a statement to an EHCP.

Transition Worker - A worker works in Adult social care but works closely with school and Childrens services to assess young people to see if they meet criteria for Adult social care.


Universal Credit - Universal Credit is replacing certain benefits in parts of the UK, but currently not within Hampshire.


VCS - Voluntary and Community Sector

Visual impairment - Partial or complete loss of sight.

Voluntary schools - Originally set up by voluntary bodies, such as the Church of England or Roman Catholic Church, but with most of their running costs now funded by Hampshire County Council. (Voluntary aided schools are responsible for their own admissions. Voluntary controlled schools follow Hampshire County Council’s admission policy.






Youth Support Services (YSS) - Youth Support Services provide information, advice, guidance and support to all young people aged 13-19. They work with young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, up to the age of 25, to help them make the best possible transition into Adult Services.



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Page last reviewed: 12/02/2019

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