Local authority policies, school records, and meetings with teachers can be full of abbreviations, but what do they all mean?
The HCB education law team have put together a list of the most common abbreviations you will find in when it comes to education law, and what they mean. This is not a complete list of all abbreviations used, and many can be used for different reasons. The below represents the most commonly used abbreviations, and their most common meanings (not including the various types of SEN, which can be found here.)
ALN – Additional Learning Needs
ALNCO – Additional Learning Needs Coordinator
AAP – Average Attaining Pupil
ABA – Applied behavioural analysis
ADOS – Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule
AR – Annual Review
ARP – Additional Resource Provision
ASDAN – Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network
AWPU – Age-Weighted Pupil Unit
BAS – British Ability Scales
BEST – Behaviour and Education Support Team
BSP – Behaviour Support Plan
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
CAF – Common Assessment Framework
CARS – Childhood Autism Rating Scale
CBRS – Conners Comprehensive Behaviour Rating Scales
CCG – Clinical Commissioning Groups
CELF – Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals
CIN – Child in Need
CFA – Children and Families Act 2014
CSSIW – Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
DD – Disability discrimination
DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB)
DDA – Disability Discrimination Act
DfE – Department for Education
DSA – Disabled Student’s Allowance
EAL – English as an Additional Language
EFA – Education Funding Agency
EHCP – Education, Health and Care Plan
EP – Educational psychologist
EWO – Education Welfare Officer
EYFS – Early years foundation stage
EYSP – The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile
FE – Further education
FTT – First Tier Tribunal
GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education
GTP – Graduate Training Programme.
HE – Higher education
HEADLAMP – Head Teachers Leadership and Management Programme.
IBP – Individual Behaviour Plan
IEP – Individual Education Plan
IELTS – International English Language Testing System
IPP – Individual Pupil Profile
IQ – Intelligence Quotient
JR – Judicial review
LA – Local authority
LAC – Looked After Child (Children)
LEA – Local educational authority
LGO – Local Government Ombudsman
LO – Local Offer
LSA / TA – Learning support assistant / teaching assistant
MAT – Multi-agency team
OIA – Office of the Independent Adjudicator
OT – Occupational Therapist
PAN – Published Admissions Number
PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System
PEP – Personal Education Plan
PRU – Pupil Referral Units
PSP – Pastoral Support Plan
PT – Physiotherapists
SALT / SLT – Speech and Language Therapists
SEAL Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning
SEN – Special educational needs
SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disability
SENCO – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator
SENDIST – Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
SENTW – Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales
SIP – School Improvement Plan
TAF – Team Around the Family
TEACCH – Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children
UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
UT – Upper Tribunal
WIATT – Wechsler Individual Achievement Test
WPPSI – Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
WISC – Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
YOT – Youth Offending Team
When the law is passed in Wales, the term ‘special educational needs’ will be replaced with the term ‘additional learning needs’. Additional learning needs are basically the same as special educational needs. A child or young person will have additional learning needs if they have a difficulty with learning, communication, behaviour or disability (hearing, visual, physical). If a child or young person has difficulties accessing learning and they require additional support beyond that is usually available in a mainstream school, they are likely to have additional learning needs.
This is usually the teacher who isresponsible for assessing, planning and monitoring the progress of children with special educational needs. They are responsible for co-ordinating additional support for pupils with special educational needs and will create an Individual Development Plan for each pupil. In England, the equivalent term is SENCo
This is a term used when referring to a pupil or learner without special educational needs or disabilities.
This a form of special education provision, mainly used for children with Autism. However, ABA can be applied to help treat other conditions e.g. eating disorder. It is an intervention programme using developed behaviour analysis and techniques. ABA is not recognised by all agencies as an effective tool for teaching or treatment.
This is a tool used for diagnosing and assessing autism, using structured and semi-structured social activities. It focuses on the fundamental areas affected by autism, namely; communication, social interaction and play.
An annual review is a yearly meeting to consider the content and whether the statement or EHC Plan is still right for your child. It must take place at least every 12 months. During the review, your child’s needs should be discussed and whether your child’s additional needs are being met.
The school will then send a report to the local authority proposing any changes and the local authority will then decide if it will or will not make changes. Once the local authority has considered the changes, you can appeal the decision to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. You can appeal the description of the child or young person’s special educational needs, their educational provision and/or the school named.
This provision allows additional funding and/or specialist support for mainstream schools. For example, a specialist provision for pupils with a speech, language and communication need. Often, this type of provision can only be accessed by children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network
This form of funding is not connected with special educational needs. This funding is available for every pupil and increases with the number of pupils at the school.
British Ability Scales are tests used by educational psychologists to measure learning ability and educational ability. It is a standardised test when assessing a child’s cognitive ability and educational achievement across a wide age range. The tests can assist when deciding the required level of special educational provision.
The Behaviour and Education Support Team work to support schools to bring about positive changes in the behaviourof children and young people experiencing difficulties with their behaviour, emotional and social development. They are multi-agency teams, that support children up to the age of 18 focusing on identification, prevention and early intervention. The team promote emotional well-being, positive behaviour and school attendance.
These plans are used in school to assist with behavioural difficulties. It is a school document designed to assist individuals who have experienced harm, are at risk of harm or have caused harm to others. The plan will include the expectations the school has and what support will be put into place to help the child or young person achieve the expectations.
CAMHS are the NHS service that assesses and treats children and young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. Each CAMHS centre will work together as a multi-disciplinary team, with many professionals, including:
• Occupational therapists
• Psychiatrists and psychologists
• Social workers
• Specialist substance misuse workers
• Support workers
This is a shared assessment and planning framework for use across all children’s services. It is a standardised approach to assessing a child’s additional needs. The CAF is used when local authority social care teams have concerns that the needs of a child or young person are not being met.
Children and young people who are identified as having special or additional educational needs, will often require an assessment through the Common Assessment Framework. CAF is for children who have additional needs in at least one of following three areas:
• Growth and development
• Family and environmental issues
This is a behaviour rating scale and is used when assessing autistic traits and diagnosing Autism. It is designed to help differentiate children with autism from those with other developmental delays
This is a behaviour rating scale designed to provide a complete overview of special educational needs that affect behaviour.
They are responsible for organising the delivery of NHS services in England and they monitor the use of funding.
If there are any concerns that a child or young person has speech and language difficulties, the test will assess the person’s ability to understand language. The test will reveal if a child or young person has speech and language related special educational needs.
Any child or young person under 18 with special educational needs or additional learning needs must be considered as a Child in Need. A child in need is any child which is unlikely to achieve a reasonable standard of living without support and/or services.
The Children and Families Act 2014 changed how children and young people in England receive support for their educational needs and disabilities. The Act replaced Statements of Special Educational Needs with Education Health and Care Plans.
The inspectorate is responsible for regulating and inspecting social care for adults and children in Wales. The aim is to protect and promote the quality of life and independence of vulnerable children and adults.
A child or young person will have a disability if they have a physical or mental condition, which is long term and adversely affects their day to day life. Disability discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably or misses out on any opportunity because of their disability and the treatment cannot be justified. The Equality Act protects children and young people from being discriminated against because of their disability.
They are responsible for tracking criminal records and providing information and checks on individuals. The service helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people working with vulnerable groups, including children.
The law made it unlawful to act or fail to act, in a way which had the effect of causing disadvantages to a disabled person, as compared to a person without a disability. The Equality Act has replaced the Disability Discrimination Act.
This is the office for the secretary of state for education. It is responsible for implementing all new law relating to education and is also responsible for monitoring the quality of education in England.
The funding or allowance is available if a young person has a disability that affects their ability to study. The allowance can be used to help pay essential extra costs you may have as a direct result of your disability and/or to help purchase equipment to access higher education.
This is used to describe a child or young person whose first language is not English. On its own, it does not amount to a special educational need or additional learning need.
The agency is responsible for allocating funding to all local authorities, maintained schools and voluntary aided schools. The agency is responsible for managing direct funding to academies and free schools.
The Education, Health and Care Plan is a document which sets out the education, health and social care needs that your child or young person has and the support that they need.
The EHCP contains special educational provision as well as health and social care provision. Whilst the EHCP deals with more than just special educational needs and provision, a child or young person only qualifies for an EHCP if they have special educational needs.
The EHCP is a legally binding document. It is binding on the local authority and local health authority.
An educational psychologist is a medically qualified professional who specialises inidentifying a child or young person’s special educational needs and plan what special educational provision they require.
An Education Welfare Officer is an officer for the local authority. EWOs often become involved with a child or young person if they are struggling to attend school full-time.
The EWO will work with the learner, and their family, to establish what support may be required. This can include securing additional support from the local authority social care team through a Common Assessment Framework or seeking a special educational provision, potentially through a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.
Early Years Foundation Stage refers to pre-school education. EYFS is a curriculum designed to prepare children for starting school and moving onto Level 1 of the National Curriculum. If a child is struggling to engage with EYFS, it can be a good indication that they have special educational needs, or additional learning needs, and require special educational provision.
This is a statutory assessment for children at the end of the Foundation Stage and provides a summary of each child’s development and learning at the end of the Reception year.
Further education is any education after compulsory education, ending at 16. Further Education does not include qualifications at, and beyond, degree level which is Higher Education.
First Tier Tribunal is another name for SENDIST. It is a specialist tribunal set up to decide disputes between parents, young people and their local authorities about special educational needs and provision.
O levels and CSEs were replaced in1988 with GCSEs. The GCSE examination was designed for pupils of all abilities; GCSE grades A-C are seen by most schools and employers as O level (or CSE grade 1) equivalents and GCSE grades D and below represent what would have previously been CSE grade 2 and below.
A training scheme launched in 1998 to attract more entrants to the teaching profession by providing a route into teaching while working within a designated school.
Higher education is the period of education after Further Education. Higher Education is delivered at university and results in a qualification of degree-level or above.
A training course to support the training and development of teachers to headteacher or management roles.
IASS provides advice to parents about special educational needs. These groups are funded by their local authorities. However, they are impartial of the local authority. At time of writing, each local authority is required to maintain an IASS service, although that requirement is constantly subject to review.
An Individual Behaviour Plan is a school support plan used for children and young people whose behaviour is causing them difficulties in accessing education. The use of an Individual Behaviour Plan is a special educational provision. If the Plan is not adequately supporting the young person’s needs, it may be appropriate to seek a statutory assessment.
An Individual Education Plan is a document used in schools to plan the special educational provision that is to be made for a child or young person with special educational needs. The IEP should set out the young person’s special educational needs, explain the targets for support and the provision that will be made available.The IEP should be reviewed once a term to record any progress and to make changes to the special educational provision.
The IEP can often be used to track the model of Assess, Plan, Do, Review in England, or School Action / School Action Plus in Wales. Often, if parents are considering making an application for a statutory assessment, or an EHC needs assessment, the IEPs can be very important.
IELTS is a test designed to measure a person’s ability to communicate in English across four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
An Individual Pupil Profile is used as a framework to help record a child or young person’s strengths, weaknesses and any special educational needs they may have.
Numeric score that attempts to quantify a person’s ability to complete cognitive tasks. The average score is thought to be 100.
Judicial Review is a court process which involves reviewing a decision made by a public body. Either the High Court in London, the district registries of the High Court or, in some circumstances, the Upper Tribunal, can consider an application for Judicial Review.
There are several grounds on which a Judicial Review can be brought. The most common grounds for Judicial Review tends to be that a public body has acted unlawfully, irrationally or has failed to follow due process.
For parents, Judicial Review may be available if an Education, Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs is not being followed.
The local authority is responsible for all public services within its area and funded from central government and other council specific taxes.
Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that children and young people in their area have access to suitable education. This includes the identification of children and young people with special educational needs and establishing what special educational provision they require.
A child or young person who is provided with accommodation by their local authority is a Looked After Child. The local authority can provide different forms of accommodation and the accommodation may be with the voluntary agreement of parents or may be required by Court Order.
A child or young person with special educational needs requiring a residential school setting may also be accommodated by their local authority. Being a Looked After Child entitles the young person to additional support from their social care team.
The term local education authority has now been replaced with the term local authority and they are responsible specifically for the delivery of education.
The Local Government Ombudsman is an independent organisation, set up by Government, to consider complaints about local authorities. The LGO does not have the same powers as the Court does in an application for Judicial Review.
If parents have a concern about how their local authority has behaved, delays, poor communication or conduct of individual officers, a complaint to the LGO would be appropriate.
If parents are seeking for the local authority to take a particular action, comply with deadlines, or comply with legal duties, an application for Judicial Review will be the appropriate action.
The Local Offer was introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. Every local authority must prepare a Local Offer and it should detail the provision that is available in the local area, and neighbouring areas. The Local Offer should be particularly targeted at services that can be accessible to children and young people with special educational needs. It should also contain useful information for all families. Guidance requires that the Local Offer is more than simply a directory of services, and should contain information such as eligibility requirements, waiting lists and availability.
A learning support assistant or teaching assistant works in a classroom to support the class teacher. Some LSAs or TAs are specially trained to provide support for specific special educational needs. LSAs or TAs can be used to support small groups, or to support individual children. If a child or young person needs 1:1 support during teaching sessions, it is possible to secure this level of support via a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan.
The team brings together professionals from different sectors to provide support to children, young people and their families. Multi-agency teams are found in social care and education to ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities receive the support that they need. An EHC needs assessment, or statutory assessment, involves a multi-agency team to ensure that the young person’s needs are fully assessed, and the correct special educational provision identified.
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator is a body that considers complaints against universities and other Higher Education organisations. If you have a complaint against a university, or Higher Education provider, you normally need to exhaust its internal complaints procedure before raising the matter with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
An occupational therapist provides support for physical and psychiatric conditions that limit a person’s independence and impacts on their daily living skills. OTs can be important in assessing and supporting children and young people with special educational needs. If a child or young person requires occupational therapy, it can be useful to seek a statutory assessment, or EHC needs assessment, in order to guarantee OT.
A Published Admission Number must be prepared for every year group into which pupils can be admitted, including Year 12 where the school has a sixth form. The admission number is the maximum number of pupils that the admission authority will admit to each year group. It is the total amount of children a school can accept in each year group.
Picture Exchange Communication System is a communication system which uses picture tiles. PECs are primarily used for children and young people with Autism, but it is a very effective tool for learners with communication or language difficulties. The use of PECs is a special educational provision.
A Personal Education Plan is used for Looked After Children. It is prepared by the local authority and it tracks the educational support provided for the young person and what progress they are making. The PEP is used for all Looked After Children, not just those with special educational needs. If the Looked After Child has special educational needs, the PEP should state this, set out what those needs are and what special educational provision is needed.
If a child or young person has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan, their PEP can be included within it.
Pupil Referral Units are mainstream schools which offer short-term places for children and young people who are either out of schoolor are likely to be excluded. A placement at a PRU should never be a long-term solution. Often children and young people with behaviour-related special educational needs attend at PRUs for short periods of time.
If a child or young person is routinely attending a PRU, it may be appropriate to seek an assessment of their special educational needs. This can be via a statutory assessment or an EHC needs assessment.
The Pastoral Support Plan is used in schools to help develop behavioural, emotional and social skills. The PSP should identify targets for the child or young person to work towards and the child or parent should be involved with the preparation of the PSP.
Physiotherapists are medical professionals that assist with the recovery from injury, or management of a disability, through movement, exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. Children and young people with disabilities affecting their ability to access education often require physiotherapy. If a child or young person requires direct intervention from a physiotherapist, this could amount to special educational provision.
Therapists can help with the development of speech, language and communication skills. A speech and language therapist can be important in the development of the physical processes of speaking, or swallowing, as well as the acquisition and development of language and communication skills.
Social and emotional aspects of learning are divided into five broad areas. This includes self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills. If a child or young person requires support with their social and emotional aspects of learning, they may have special educational needs requiring special educational provision.
This refers to a child or young person who has difficulties accessing education. If a child or young person requires a provision which is additional, or different, to that usually made available to children of the same age, they may well have special educational needs.
The term Special Educational Needs and Disabilities was introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. It means that children and young people who are disabled, within the meaning of the Equality Act and require special educational provision, may access additional support via an Education Health and Care Plan.
A Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is a member of staff in a school who is responsible the special educational provision. The SENCo is responsible for ensuring that the school’s delegated special educational needs budget is used appropriately. If you have concerns that your child or young person has special educational needs, or that they are not receiving adequate support, your first point of contact would be the SENCo.
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal is a specialist tribunal set up to decide disputes between parents, young people and their local authorities about special educational needs and provision.
The Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales is the specialist tribunal for Wales which deals with disputes regarding the support made available for a child or young person with special educational needs.
The School Improvement Plan is implemented to improve a school’s effectiveness. It is a strategic plan and sets out the actions a school will take to improve learner outcomes.
This is a multi-agency team that is used to help a family identify difficulties that it is facing, and plan how to resolve those difficulties. The Team Around the Family should help the family establish what additional support is needed and help with securing that support. If a child or young person has a special educational need, the TAF can be important to help the family support the young person.
Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children is a method for educating children and young people with Autism. TEACCH is a differentiated curriculum and should be treated as a special educational provision.
UCAS is the central agency responsible for processing applications for undergraduate courses.
The Upper Tribunal deals with appeals against decisions made by the SENDSIT or FTT. Before a parent can appeal to the Upper Tribunal, permission must first be secured from SENDIST, or from the Upper Tribunal itself. There are normally very restricted grounds on which permission to appeal can be secured.
The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test is used to assess a child or young person’s academic strengths and weaknesses and develop a learning profile. It can be used to plan the special educational provision that a child or young person may require.
The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence is a test used on pre-school children. It is specifically focused at establishing the cognitive ability of a child before they start school. This can be helpful in identifying a child with special educational needs as soon as possible.
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children is similar to the WPPSI. It is used for children and young people between the ages of 7 and 16. It is another useful tool to establish the nature and extent of a child or young person’s special educational needs
There is a Youth Offending Team linked with every local police service. The Youth Offending Team becomes involved with a young person when they:
• are arrested
• are charged with a crime and must go to court
• are convicted of a crime
• are in trouble with the police
There is a very strong connection between special educational needs and coming into conflict with the police. The prison population has a much higher incidence rate of special educational needs than the national population. As such, if the YOT is involved with a child or young person, there should be careful consideration of whether they have special educational needs. If they do, they should receive special educational provision to support them.
A training course to support the training and development of teachers to headteacher or management roles.