What do these words mean?

Annual review
The review of a statement of special educational needs which a Local Authority (LA) must make within 12 months of making a statement or of the previous review. 

Assessment (see Statutory Assessment)

Appendices
The advices (or reports) given to parents and the LA when a child is assessed. The LA should attach these to the final statement.

Clinical Psychologist
A professional who studies how people behave. They can make an assessment with regards to behavioural and emotional issues and may implement a behaviour management plan. Clinical Psychologists are able to make the initial diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The Autism Helpline has a small list of clinical psychologists who specialise in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.

Code of Practice
The code of practice provides practical advice to Local Authorities (LAs), schools and others on carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for children with special educational needs. LAs, schools, the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (Wales) and others such as health and social services must have regard to it.

Disagreement resolution (sometimes called Mediation)
All LAs must provide a disagreement resolution service. The service is to help prevent or sort out disagreements between parents of children with special educational needs and the Local Authority (LA) or a school. They are designed to bring together the different sides in an informal way to try to sort out the disagreement through discussion. The service must be independent of the LA. Using these arrangements is voluntary and, should parents have the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENTW), then they can enter into disagreement resolution without effecting their legal rights.

Direction
An order by the president of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENTW) which parents or the LA must reply to.

Documents
Letters or reports, including a statement of special educational needs.

Early education practitioners
All people who work in early years settings, whatever their qualifications.

Early education settings
Providers in receipt of government funding to deliver early education including - maintained mainstream and special schools, maintained nursery schools, independent schools, non-maintained special schools, local authority day care providers such as day nurseries and family centres, other registered day care 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.

Early Years Action
When the early education practitioner who works day-to-day with the child, and the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), identify that a child has special educational needs, together they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of what the settings usually offers in its curriculum and strategies. An Individual Educational Plan (IEP) will usually be devised. See our information on Getting extra help at school.

Early Years Action Plus
The early education practitioner who works day-to-day with the child and the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) are provided with advice or support from outside specialists, so that alternative interventions and additional or different strategies to those provided for the child through Early Years Action can be put in place. A new Individual Educational Plan (IEP) will usually be devised. See our information on Getting extra help at school.

Educational Psychologist (EP)
Educational Psychologists are involved in the assessment of educational needs and the statementing process. They are usually employed by the Local Education Authority to advise and help staff in schools and make recommendations with regards to the needs of a child. Some EPs work on an independent basis and can be commissioned by parents to assess and report on their child. The National Autistic Society (NAS) holds a directory which includes the details of Independent Educational Psychologists with experience of autism spectrum disorders. Please visit the Autism Services Directory

Education Welfare Officer
Person employed by a LA to help parents and local authorities meet their respective statutory obligations in relation to school attendance. In some areas Education Welfare Officers are known as Education Social Workers.

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 school year one, when programmes of study for key stage one are taught.

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. It is the method described in the Code of Practice in regards to how to help children with special educational needs.

Independent school
A school that is not maintained by a local authority.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)
The IEP is a planning, teaching and reviewing tool. It is a working document for all teaching staff recording key short-term targets and strategies for an individual pupil that are different from or additional to those in place for the rest of the group or class. 

Learning support assistant (LSA)
A widely used job title for an assistant providing in-school support for pupils with special educational needs. 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. This person can also be known as a Teaching Assistant (TA). 

Local Authority (LA)
The part of the local council that is responsible for providing education, making assessments and maintaining statements.

Mainstream school
An ordinary school.

Maintained school
Schools maintained by a LA - any community, foundation, voluntary schools, community special and foundation special schools.

Named Local Authority (LA) Officer
The person from the LA who liaises with parents over all the arrangements relating to statutory assessment and the making of a statement.

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 Numeracy and Literacy Strategies
The strategies were introduced to raise standards of literacy and mathematics. Primary schools are now teaching a dedicated literacy hour and daily mathematics lesson.

Note in lieu
A note that may be issued to the child's parents and school when, following a statutory assessment, the LA decide not to make a statement. The note should describe the child's special educational needs, explain why the LA does not think it is necessary to make a statement and make recommendations about appropriate provision for the child. All the advice received during the assessment should be attached to the note sent to the parents and, with their consent, should also be sent to the child's school.

Non-maintained special school
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 therapy (OT)
Motor, sensory, perceptual, social and emotional self care skills are assessed by an OT. Working with the child, parents and teachers - occupational therapists use therapeutic techniques to improve a child's ability to access the physical and learning curriculum and can advise on equipment and environment adaptations that may help. Purposeful activities and play are used to help a child attain maximum levels of functional performance, this can improve self-esteem and independence.

Order 
The decision of an appeal given by the Special Educational Needs Tribunal Wales after a hearing.

Parent
Under section 576 of the Education Act 1996 a parent includes any person who has parental responsibility or who cares for a child.

Parent partnership service/SNAP Cymru
A service providing advice and information to parents whose children have special educational needs. Even though it is funded by the LA it provides a service to parents and is often either run at a distance from the LA or by a voluntary organisation.

Portage
Planned, home-based educational support for pre-school children with special educational needs usually provided by the local education authority.

Physiotherapy
Therapy designed for problems with movement posture and balance. A physiotherapist's main aim is to help a child function and move normally, preventing abnormal positions or movements. An assessment will be made so as to find out what stage of development the child is at in comparison to a normal child. The physiotherapist will decide treatment. They will recommend the number of times therapy will be required and whether any special equipment is needed.

Proposed Statement
A statement issued by the LA (LA) in draft form. It is issued after a statutory assessment or re-assessment or when an amendment has been made to the statement. Parents can negotiate with the LA with regards to what is written on the proposed statement. A school in Part 4 will not be named on a proposed statement. A proposed statement needs to be issued before you receive a final statement. See our information on Statements of special educational needs.

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
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 not otherwise receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason.

School Action
When a class or subject teacher identify that a pupil has special education needs they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the schools usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) will usually be devised. See our information sheet on Getting extra help at school.

School Action Plus
When the class or subject teacher and the Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) are provided with advice or support from outside specialists, so that alternative interventions and additional or different strategies to those provided for the pupil through School Action can be put in place. The SENCO usually takes the lead although day-to-day provision continues to be the responsibility of class or subject teacher. A new Individual Education Plan will usually be devised. See our information sheet on Getting extra help at school.

Special educational needs
A child has special needs if he or she has learning difficulties that need special educational help.

Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
Member of staff of a school or early education setting who has responsibility for co-ordinating special educational needs (SEN) provision within that school. In a small school the head teacher or deputy may take on this role. In larger schools there may be an SEN coordinating team.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (Wales) 
An independent tribunal, which hears parent's appeals against certain decisions of the LA about a child's special educational needs. The tribunal is governed by the special educational needs (SEN) Tribunal for Wales Regulations 2012 and they must pay regard to the SEN Code of Practice.

Special school
A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs.

Speech and language therapy
The role and aim of which is to enable adults and children 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. The NAS maintains a small list of Independent Speech and Language Therapists with experience of autistic spectrum disorders. The National Autistic Society (NAS) holds a directory which includes the details of Independent Speech and Language Therapists with experience of autism spectrum disorders. Please visit the Autism Services Directory

Statement of special educational needs
A document that sets out a child's needs and the extra help he or she should get. See our information on Statements of special educational needs.

Statutory Assessment
It is a formal procedure undertaken by the LA. It is a detailed investigation to find out what your child's special educational needs are and what provision is needed to meet those needs. A number of professionals such as an Educational Psychologist will be involved. It may lead to a statement of special educational needs. See our information sheet on Statutory Assessment.

Strike out
A tribunal may strike out an appeal (bring it to an end) if the LA has applied for the appeal to be brought to an end, (or the president has directed that the appeal should be brought to an end) because it is not valid. In either case you can write to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Wales with comments or ask for the strike out to be considered at a tribunal hearing.

Transition Plan
A transition plan should be devised following the year 9 annual review and updated at subsequent annual reviews. The purpose of the plan is to draw together information from a range of individuals within and beyond the school, in order to plan for the young person's transition to adult life. S

Tribunal hearing
The meeting at which an appeal is considered.

Witness summons
A document that orders a witness to go to a tribunal hearing.

Useful documents and reading

National Assembly for Wales (2004) Special Educational Needs code of practice

Further help for parents trying to get an appropriate education for their child is available from our Education Rights Service.

Last reviewed: 24 March 2016.