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Educational settings often use abbreviations and words that are hard to understand.
Listed below are some explanations for commonly used terms.
School Action

When a pupil is identified as having special educational needs, interventions will be provided that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school's usual differentiated curriculum. An IEP will usually be written.

School Action Plus

When the class or subject teacher and the SENCO are provided with advice or support from outside specialist so that alternative interventions additional to or different from those provided for the pupil through School Action. The SENCO usually takes the lead, although day to day provision continues to be the responsibility of the class or subject teacher. A new IEP will usually be written.

Special Educational Needs


A child has special educational needs if he or she has learning difficulties which make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age, or they have disabilities that make it much more difficult for them in school.

Special Educational Needs
Co-ordinator (SENCO)

This is the name used for the teacher with responsibility for the planning of the special educational provision within early education settings and schools.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribual (SENDIST)
  An independent body that hears appeals against decisions made by LAs on statutory assessments and statements. They also consider parents' claims of discrimination in schools.
Special Educational Provision

The extra or different help given to children with special educational needs, or disabilities.

Speech & Language Therapy

Speech and language therapists help children and adults with speech, language and communication difficulties.

Special/Complex Needs school  

A school that provides education for children who have complex special educational needs.

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)

A specific rather than a general learning difficulty. For example dyslexia or dyspraxia.

Statement of special educational needs

  A legal document that sets out a child's needs and all the extra help they must get at school to support them with their education.
Statutory Assessment

An assessment of a child's special educational needs which may lead to a statement. (Use this link for more information.)

Transition Plan

A plan drawn up after the year 9 annual review of a statement. It sets out the steps needed to move from school to adult life. Transition plans may also be drawn up at other times, for example when planning a move between schools.

Voluntary Organisations

Organisations, usually charities, which provide help and advice that is often linked to particular needs.


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