Jargon Buster

Education: organisations and legal terminology


Department for Education


Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young adults, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.


Local Authority – an administrative body in government responsible for all the public services and facilities within an area.


Local Education Authority – term no longer used, it has been replaced by single term Local Authority.

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.


A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. They have an entitlement to services and protection under the Children Act 1989. A child with SEN is a child until they reach their 19th birthday.


An adult is anyone who has reached their 18th birthday, or if they have SEN, anyone who has reached their 19th birthday.

Young person

This term is no longer legally recognised or accepted as an appropriate term as it doesn’t carry the necessary information around vulnerability i.e. it implies they have no protection under the Children Act 1989. As such, the terms child or adult should always be used, based on the criteria explained in the definitions above.

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.

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.

Education: types of school / academic institutions

Maintained school

A school funded by a Local Authority

Free school

A school set up by a group of individuals or an organisation, funded by the government, but not controlled by the Local Authority.


A state-funded school in England, directly funded by the Department for Education, independent of Local Authority control.

Independent School

School independent from the authorities in its finances and governance. It may have a board of governors or trustees or be controlled by a board of directors or even one individual. It will have a system of governance to ensure it operates independently.

Independent Special School

As above, but specifically designed to make provision for those children with special education needs.

Section 41 School

A school published by the Secretary of State as an approved independent education institution or independent special school. Any Section 41 school listed in an EHCP has a legal requirement to offer that child a place, regardless of existing pupil numbers.

Prep School

A preparatory school is a private primary school for children, getting them ready for a place at a private secondary school.

Public School

A private, fee-paying secondary school.


Pupil Referral Unit or Pupil Re-Integration Unit – an establishment maintained by a Local Authority specifically organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick or otherwise unable to attend a mainstream or special maintained school.

Education: curriculum & learning levels

NC Levels

National Curriculum Levels – a set of 8 bands used to measure a child’s progress against other pupils of the same age across the UK. The levels apply to children in KS1, 2 and 3. NC Levels are being phased out; schools are being given the responsibility of setting their own measures of progress.


Early Years Foundation Stage – a set of standards in England for the learning, development and care of a child from birth up to 5 years.


Key Stages – the stages of the state education system. The National Curriculum then sets out the expected targets to be achieved in different subject areas within these key stages.


Key Stage 0, known as Early Years – covers nursery / reception, age 3–5.


Key Stage 1 – equivalent to school years 1 and 2, age 5–7.


Key Stage 2 – equivalent to school years 3 to 6, age 7–11.


Key Stage 3 – equivalent to school years 7 to 9, age 11–14.


Key Stage 4 – equivalent to school years 10 and 11, age 14–16.


Key Stage 5 – equivalent to 6th Form, school years 12 and 13, age 16–18.

Education: Special needs


Special Education Needs – a legal term describing the needs of a child who has a difficulty or disability which makes it harder for them to learn than their peers.


Special Education Needs and Disabilities – when someone has a learning difficulty and a disability that means they need special health and education support.


Social Emotional and Mental Health – a certain type of special education needs where a child/young person has severe difficulties in managing their emotions and behaviour.


Special Education Needs Co-ordinator.


Team Around the Child is a model of multi-agency service provision. The TAC brings together a range of different practitioners from across the children and young people's workforce to support an individual child or young person and their family.


Previously called the statement, the Education Health Care Plan sets out the education, health and social needs of a child, and the support needed to be able to deliver it. Notably, the education aspects included within are legally binding – the local authority has a duty to provide support to meet them, whereas the health and social aspects are recommendations. It covers up to 25 years.

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.

Ed Psych

Educational Psychologist. They work within local authorities, in partnership with families and other professionals to help children and young people achieve their full potential by using their training to assess difficulties a child may have in accessing learning.


Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability.

SALT (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.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapy is the use of assessment and treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of children, young people and adults with a physical, mental, or cognitive disorder.

Annual Review

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


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.


Personal Curriculum Plan – a document, created by our schools, that provides an overview of the targets being worked on each year, mapping out key development areas and ensuring that progress keeps momentum throughout the year.


Individual Education Plan – this is a document developed for each child with an EHCP to outline the targets that will be worked towards each term, to ensure the EHCP is being delivered.

PEP (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.


Programme at a Glance – used at our schools, this is a weekly tracker that outlines in a visual way the progress each individual learner is making against their termly targets.


Pronounced ‘CAMS’ this is the Child and Mental Health Services, a specialist NHS service who assess and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health issues.

Child in Need

Defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled. Every single one of our pupils is legally defined as a Child in Need.

Looked after child

A child is looked after by a local authority if a court has granted a care order to place a child in care, or a council's children's services department has cared for the child for more than 24 hours.

Pupil premium

Additional funding given to schools in England to help disadvantaged children perform better and close the gap between them and their peers.

Free School meals (FSM)

Entitlement for families living in poverty to ensure their children receive a healthy nutritious meal in the middle of the day. This goes hand-in-hand with pupil premium.

Safeguarding organisations, individuals and terminology


Designated Safeguarding Lead – take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection across the school/ each site of the organisation. They take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings and contribute to the assessment of children. They advise and support other members of staff on child welfare and child protection matters and liaise with relevant agencies such as the local authority and police.


Designated Safeguarding Person – supporting the Designated Safeguarding Lead at each site. Each class has a DSP responsible for following up on safeguarding concerns for their class/classes.


Local Authority Designated Officer – they are a person within the local authority whose role is to provide support and guidance for employers around any safeguarding concerns involving children and young people. They can be a liaison between other organisations such as the police and Ofsted and assist where investigations are required.


Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs – set up by many areas in response to government review of procedures in place to identify children and vulnerable adults at risk of abuse. Specifically, these hubs aim to bring together professionals across different agencies to stop anyone at risk falling through the gaps and not getting the support they need.

Local Safeguarding Partnerships

Local Safeguarding Partnerships are set to replace MASH and LADO teams within 2 years.

KCSIE 2018

Keeping Children Safe in Education – publication from government providing statutory guidance for proprietors, schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.

Working Together to Safeguard Children

Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, updated in July 2018.

About Autism & Disorders associated with it


Autism Spectrum Condition, alternative to ASD.


Autism Spectrum Disorder, alternative to ASC.


Many children on the autism spectrum use echolalia, which means they repeat others' words or sentences. They might repeat the words of familiar people (parents, teachers), or they might repeat sentences from their favourite video.


A medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people's behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.


Masking is a word used to describe something seen in many children with ASD - when they learn, practice, and perform certain behaviours and suppress others in order to be more like the people around them.


Hypermobility means your joints can move beyond the normal range of motion. You may also hear the term double-jointed. This means your joints are very flexible. The most commonly affected joints are your elbows, wrists, fingers and knees. 



Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mainly causes problems with reading, writing and spelling. It's a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing. 


Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination. Dyspraxia does not affect your intelligence. It can affect your co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports or learning to drive a car


The term 'developmental delay' or 'global development delay' is used when a child takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other children their age. This might include learning to walk or talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.


Pica is an eating disorder in which a person eats things not usually considered food. Young kids often put non-food items (like grass or toys) in their mouths because they're curious about the world around them. But kids with pica go beyond that.

Stims / Stimming

Short for self-stimulatory behaviour, people do this to provide sensory input, usually of a pleasing nature. This can be a way of relaxing in stressful situations, so is a natural part of having autism. We all have stims – twirling our hair, rocking on chairs, biting our nails, jiggling our knees are all examples of stims. However, if the stim is self injurious in nature, we would teach replacement behaviours.

Relevant associations / organisations


National Autistic Society – the largest autism charity in the UK, serving people with autism from early diagnosis right through adulthood.


National Association of Special Schools – the voice of the nonmaintained school sector, a registered charity and company. BeyondAutism are members of this Association.


Independent Parental Special Education Advice – non-profit organisation offering parents free and independent legal advice and support to get the right education for their child.

Scientific Methodology / Curriculum

ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis)

A scientific approach to understanding human behaviour. The principles of behaviour analysis can be implemented to teach/learn new skills, reduce behaviours that challenge and increase socially appropriate and positive behaviours.

VB (Verbal Behaviour)

VB is a strand of research that analysed language as behaviour rather than as a cognitive process. It is an understanding that language is learnt and acquired like any other behaviour. It was proposed that language acquisition is determined by the way it is used (its function) rather than its form. Skinner (1957) defined the different functions of language (how we use it and why) which he called collectively Verbal Operants.

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