The language of education can be daunting. Below is a comprehensive glossary providing explanations of the main concepts and phrases. Please get in touch if there is anything which needs explaining to you.
This is what an individual is can do.
Academies are all-ability, state-funded schools established and managed by sponsors from a wide range of backgrounds, including high performing schools and colleges, universities, individual philanthropists, businesses, the voluntary sector, and the faith communities. Some are established educational providers, and all of them bring a record of success in other enterprises which they are able to apply to their Academies in partnership with experienced school managers.
Difficulty that arises after birth as a results of an illness, accident or incident
This is a measure of what an individual is capable of achieving. It is a measure of their potential.
The production of sounds that make up speech
Collecting information to make informed decisions. Can include formal assessment using standardised tests and informal assessment which uses knowledge of the child gained through observation, questionnaires and interviews. Diagnostic Assessment consists of collating information from a range of sources and making decisions at to why a child may be experiencing difficulties. Once the cause of the difficulties are diagnosed, adequate intervention can be applied.
Formative assessment is an evaluation of a students learning that aids the understanding and development of knowledge, skills and abilities. It is a process of evaluating what the individual knows and can do, but may not achieve it within a formalised testing situation. Whereas summative assessment is the end result or grade and is used to track progress and determine how much information a student has retained.
Assessment for Learning
Process of sharing information about the learning to take place within the lesson in order for individual learners to have more responsibility for their learning. It enables the teacher and the learner to work together as a team. It involves sharing learning objectives, providing opportunities for discussion and feedback, time to reflect and self-evaluate in addition to peer evaluation and providing detailed feedback regarding ways to improve the quality and standard of the work.
Assessing Pupil Progress (APP)
A process of structured and periodic assessments for reading, writing and mathematics. Used to inform Teacher Assessment and to replace SATS.
This is the final result or score obtained from a test or series of assessments.
This is the act of obtaining something and is the process as opposed to the score (attainment). It is the ability to demonstrate accomplishment an may be through deeds in addition to learning. For example, an individual may achieve good progress.
Short term crisis phase of an illness
Support and advice for a service user to enable their point of view to be put across effectively to providers
Augmentative and alternative communication
Methods of communication that supplement or replce speech and handwriting with signs, symbols and/or voice output communication aids.
British Dyslexia Association (BDA)
A charity promoting early identification and support for individuals with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties.
Term used to describe the process of thought for processing information, applying knowledge and changing preferences.
Cognitive Ability Test
A rest measuring understanding, memory, judgement and reasoning
When an individual presents with a range and variety of difficulties affecting a number of areas of functioning.
Understanding spoken words and their meaning(verbal Comprehension)or written words and their meaning (reading comprehension). It can also mean understanding non-verbal clues like gestures.
Support 13-19 year-olds into adulthood with personal advisers to achieve goals and guide them to appropriate services
More than one difficulty which occur together which are not necessarily associated.
Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven't seen before. Although children may sometimes figure out some of these relationships on their own, most children benefit from explicit instruction in this area.
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)
Also known as dyspraxia, is a severe motor co-ordination disorder which affects fine control in the form of handwriting, self-help skills, manual dexterity, and gross motor development in the form of cycling, kicking a ball, skipping and so on. Individuals may also experience poor balance and poor self-perception.
This is the name used for a particular condition which an individual may have or it may apply to the process of gaining information to identify the reasons for a difficulty or condition occurring.
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
Sets minimum standards to ensure services are available to disabled people. Prevents discrimination against people due to their disability.
Disability Living Allowance
This is a benefit paid by the government for people including children with disabilities or long-term conditions.
Disability Rights Commission
Independent body set up to advance civil rights for disabled people
Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)
A government funded benefit for higher education student (Post 18) who are experiencing substantial difficulties which would affect their ability to access higher level qualifications. Difficulties such as slow processing, reading or writing speeds, language comprehension difficulties and difficulties associated with dyslexia may all qualify for DSA.
This is a deviance or difference in development as opposed to developmental delay which is developing normally but a step behind the individual’s peer group.
This is a speech disorder where the muscles that affect speech and breath control are weak and slow. The condition is a direct result of neurological impairment which control the muscles of the speech organs. It affects speech production through articulation as the speech sounds slurred and indistinct.
Difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills and knowledge including the development of basic number sense and concepts development. Individuals often lack an intuitive grasp of number and have problems learning number facts and procedures.
Usually applied to stammers or stutter. It is where speaking is impaired by involuntary repetitions or pauses.
A disturbance or failure in the functioning of a body part or organ.
A learning difficulty which primarily affects the skills involved in reading, writing and/or spelling due to neurological impairment.
Dysphasia (or aphasia)
This is a condition which results from impairment to the brain. It is an impaired ability to understand or use spoken word. It is a dysfunction of the link between thought and language and affects spoken, written and symbolic communication. It may also be referred to as acquired brain injury.
This is a voice characterised by either a high pitch, volume or resonance or a voice quality which is inappropriate for the age or gender of the speaker.
A developmental disorder which affects the movement and co-ordination of the individual. It can affect the development of daily living skills such as dressing, writing and can affect speech as the individual has impaired fine motor control of the speech organs. This is often termed verbal dyspraxia.
Professionals with specialist qualifications who advise schools and LAs on aspects relating to SEN and behavioural difficulties. They assess for statutory assessment for a statement of SEN.
Difficulty conveying thoughts and messages through language.
Being able to deliver information quickly, efficiently and accurately.
The most common form of inheritable learning disability which is easily identifiable due to the chromosomal abnormality on the tip of chromosome X.
Global Developmental Delay
General developmental delay characterised by delayed milestones in many areas such as speech, movement and cognition.
The system of rules governing a language.
Consultation document issued by the government on a specific policy area inviting the views of interested parties. First step in the legislative process.
Where a child or young person is facilitated in being included within their mainstream or local setting. Effective inclusion requires the removal of individual barriers to learning and participation.
Inclusion Development Programme (IDP)
A series of on-line professional development activities for teachers and other staff in schools, in specific areas of SEN such as dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech, Language and Communication, Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.
In the National Curriculum is the Inclusion Statement which sets out the fundamental importance of every child having an equal opportunity to an education through accessing the curriculum, by setting suitable learning challenges, responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs and removing barriers to learning and assessment.
Individual Education Plan (IEP)
An individual document which is tailored to the specific needs of a child and is reviewed regularly. It sets out targets for specific areas of development and suggested intervention techniques to enable the successful achievement of these targets.
Individual Learning Plan (ILP)
An individual learning plan sets out a specific learning plan for an individual and may be within one particular area or many curricular areas. For instance, a child who needs motor skills development would have a ILP designed with a daily programme of work to develop their movement and co-ordination, which would be specific to their individual needs. It is more detailed than the IEP, which provides 3 or 4 general targets for one or more subject areas.
The changing pitch, pace and volume of sound to convey meaning in spoken language.
Usually used to describe a situation where the child has specific difficulties in the development of language where all other skills are developing at the normal developmental rate.
A general term used to describe a wide range of problems experienced by children who find it significantly harder to learn than other children the same age. It can be used to describe difficulties in learning, memory, concentration, behaviour, reading, number work or speech and language.
Is a lifelong condition and is the most common form of childhood impairment with 1 in 20 having a learning disability of some kind. It encompasses any development which is significantly behind the expected level for their age. LD may occur on its own or may co-occur with other difficulties or medical conditions such as epilepsy. For some children there is a genetic basis for the LD e.g. Down’s Syndrome. However, for a significant number of children the causes are never known.
Local Authority (LA)
Local government use devolved national budgets to provide local services such as education and social care. They devolve most of the education budget to schools’ but hold back a proportion for maintaining support services and providing for children with more complex needs and full statements of SEN.
Indefinitely stores an unlimited amount of information.
This is the ability to evaluate and understand what the individual actually knows and understands. It is a knowledge of oneself, knowing what you know.
A teaching approach where the teacher/TA provides an example of the ‘correct’ way of working/learning/speaking.
Moderate Learning Difficulties
General difficulties in learning demonstrated to be within the below average range (Below 70)
More than one agency (health, education or social care) working with a child and family at any time
This is the assessment carried out by a range of professionals of different disciplines to provide a holistic and complete overview of the individual’s areas of development, strengths and difficulties. It is an essential feature of the statementing process.
This is the term used to describe individuals with impairments in both hearing and vision. Other difficulties or impairments may also be experienced in certain rare medical or genetic conditions.
Note in Lieu
How the LA explains why it has decided not to issue a statement for a child
All learning and development objectives and experiences required to enable a holistic curriculum to be planned for each individual child. It is currently under revierw.
National Service Framework
The establishment of a set of minimum national standards of clinical quality and access to services in major care groups.
This is the ability to interpret information which is presented in a non-verbal format such as through diagrams, patterns and so on. It is a useful measure for determining underlying ability in individuals with language and communication difficulties.
Occupational Therapist (OT)
A health professional specialising in difficulties children experience which affect their daily living skills. They help with therapy/intervention programmes, environmental adaptations and specialist equipment.
Ability to express oneself through words.
Doctor specialising in working with children.
Is one approach to reading instruction that teaches students the principles of letter-sound relationships, how to sound out words, and provides exceptions to the principles.
The range of sounds that are used for speech.
Phonological awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate sounds in words. It is a foundation skill for reading and spelling development. Phonological Difficulty is a difficulty in selecting, creating, discriminating or using correct speech sounds when speaking. This may affect the development of Literacy skills such as reading and spelling.
A health professional who specialises in the physical and motor development of individuals.
Difficulty using language and difficulty in understanding meaning and context. An individual with a pragmatic difficulty may not understand other people’s language, may interpret it literally and may use inappropriate language within different situations, not understanding the contextualised nature of language.
This is the most predominantly presenting feature or difficulty and may result in secondary difficulties or may be a result of a underlying or hidden difficulty.
Provides overarching guidance and support for teachers in Literacy and Numeracy. There is the National Literacy Strategy and the National Numeracy Strategy, which set the detail of the curriculum to be delivered within schools.
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
General learning Difficulties below standard score 50
A prediction of what is likely to happen following an injury, disease or other diagnosed condition.
The SENCO within a setting is responsible for ensuring each child on the SEN register is adequately supported. In order to manage provision appropriately, many SENCOs make use of a Provision Map which lists the range of provision available and the children who are in receipt of it.
Personal, Social and Health Education.
Part of the national curriculum focussing on emotional and social issues faced by children
Used to measure the attainment of school-aged students who are achieving at a level BELOW level 1 of the National Curriculum. They provide a measure of the early developmental stages of a child and enable tracking of progress to be made.
Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour. It is both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice. Psychologists and psychological research have a big impact on all aspects of public life, particularly in areas such as education, health, the economy, industry and social justice.
A test which assesses hidden and behavioural traits such as knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality, cognitive and emotional functioning.
Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
PRUs are a type of school, set up and run by LAs to provide education for children who cannot attend school.
A cognitive process which looks for reasons, deductions, beliefs, conclusions and feelings. For the purposes of assessment, how individuals reason and their ability to be able to reason is assessed.
Receptive Language Difficulty
This is a difficulty in understanding spoken language.
Tending to revert to an earlier stage of development.
Second level of entitlement to additional support through the SEN Code of Practice. SEN funding is devolved to schools and intervention may include support in the form of additional small group work.
School Action Plus
Third level of entitlement to additional support as identified through the SEN Code of Practice. Funding is usually held by the Local Authority and must be applied for by the school/setting requiring rigorous assessment.
This is where a Primary difficulty causes the effect of a consequential difficulty, particularly if unredressed. For instance, a student may experience Literacy difficulties (Primary difficulty) which causes them to become anxious (secondary difficulty). A secondary speech and language difficulty is associated with other conditions or learning difficulties that may be experienced.
The position of knowledge of one’s own behaviour, which may differ from that of others perceptions of the individual.
A difficulty in understanding how new information fits in with what is already known, and in making sense of spoken language. Difficulty in understanding or using language makes it difficult to use previous experience to solve problems or to predict what might happen in different situations. Individuals may not understand non-verbal cue, innuendo and may take language very literally.
SEN Code of Practice
Government guidance issued in 2001 to all schools and Early years settings setting out the appropriate management of SEN within a setting.
This is a is a condition defined as having "a tendency to react negatively or with alarm to sensory input which is generally considered harmless or non-irritating" to normally developing individual.
It is not uncommon for individuals to have a few mild sensory defensive traits. However, when multiple defensive traits impact the person's day-to-day life, that person is considered to be Sensory Defensive.
Sensory Integration Therapy
Sensory integration is the ability to organise sensory information for use by the brain. An individual with Sensory Integration Dysfunction will have a difficulty in organising and interpreting information as it is received by the brain from the individual senses. Sensory Integration Therapy is used by Occupational Therapists to stimulate and integrate more than one of the senses through special intervention programmes. Interventions include activities such as spinning, sensory stimulation or applying firm or deep pressure.
This is the development of the brain which leads to the integration and co-ordination of sensory information leading to an appropriate motor response. Sensorimotor development theory was pioneered by Jean Piaget who determined that sensorimotor development played a key role in the development of cognition.
The board which parents can refer to if they are dissatisfied with their child’s provision or the statement of SEN. They have a right to appeal at an independent tribunal if they disagree with the decision of the LA not to issue a Statement of SEN.
Capacity for holding a small amount of information in an active and readily available state for a short period of time. The capacity of the short-term memory is said to be 7 units of information +/- 2 units and can be held for just a few seconds, and it can be easily diverted by external factors.
Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning
Set curriculum looking at social and emotional aspects including emotional literacy
Special Educational Needs
Term used to describe children and young people in need of additional or different support within an educational setting.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2002
Brought the DDA 1995 into education and linked it into the SEN Code of Practice (2001)
Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
All schools and early years settings must employ a qualified teacher to work as the SENCO, co-ordinating the SEN provision within the setting.
Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
A term used to describe language difficulties with comprehension and/or expression. Usually used when a child’s language falls well behind children of the same age or when the language development is disordered or different.
Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)
A specific difficulty in a specific area such as Literacy or Numeracy. Dyslexia is often used interchangeably with SpLD. The difficulty is life-long and persists despite appropriate teaching and support.
The sounds and sound combinations produced to make spoken language.
Speech and Language Delay
A child with a speech and language delay develops speech and language normally, but at a slower rate than normal development. They tend to use language in a way that a younger child would use it.
Speech and Language Therapist
A professional specialising in communication development and difficulty, also specialises in eating difficulties and swallowing.
Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties
A general term used to describe a range of specific problems some children and young people experience when acquiring language.
Speech and Language Disorder
A term used to describe the development of speech and/or language that is developing in a different way to the normally expected pattern of development.
Standard Attainment Tasks
Set national tests which are delivered across England in the Spring term of year 6
An assessment which is delivered in a consistent way, which has been tested on a large population sample to provide standard scores enabling comparative measures to be made. There are a number of categories of standardised assessments:
Compares the base knowledge of an individual with a ‘normal’ standard population. The larger the sample-size the greater the accuracy of the norm-referencing.
Assessment content and knowledge base in a specific criteria.
Assesses pupil’s instructional needs based upon performance on the existing content of the curriculum. E.g. testing areas of the curriculum after a unit of work has been delivered.
An approach to testing in which the assessor aims to generate a hypothesis about how the pupil learns, how responsive the pupil is to attempts to intervene and what might be interfering with the pupil’s capacity to benefit from existing attempts at instruction.
Detailed assessment required for a Statement of SEN to be issued by the LA. This is a statutory requirement and involves a multidisciplinary approach to assessment and diagnosis. There is a right of appeal to any decision made by the Statutory Assessment. Parents can request a Statutory Assessment from the LA under 7.21 of the SEN Code of Practice. If the LA refuse, parents have a right of appeal to an independent Tribunal.
Statement of Special Educational Needs
The highest level of support provided through the Local Authority. It is a legally binding document which is reviewed annually. It is based upon detailed analysis and diagnosis of need and often enables children to access specialist provision and special schools. It outlines the difficulties in learning and the specialist provision required and places a statutory duty upon Local Authorities to provide it.
Government initiative to work in a multi-professional way within the community with parents and children within particularly socially deprived areas offer improved access to support and education.
A pattern of symptoms or set of characteristics that often occur together and are indicative of a disorder or disease.
Assistant to a class teacher which may be employed to support an individual child on a one-to-one basis or may support the class teacher as directed by the teacher. HLTAs (Higher Level TAs) have a number of additional duties and responsibilities which may include planning and teaching whole classes.
This is the ability to retain an ordered sequence of verbal material for a short period of time.
Verbal Processing Speed
This is the time taken to process familiar verbal information such as letters and digits.
Ability to understand visual representations and their spatial relationships. For instance, an individual may be able to match a 3D object with another 3D object, but may have difficulty in interpreting a 2D representation of a 3D object. They may also have difficulty in interpreting the 3D object from a different position or angle.
This is a term used to describe the experience of eye strain, difficulty in focussing, headaches and illusions of colour or movement in written text.
Any disability associated with vision.
Visual-motor perceptual skills
Ability to process information visually and make an appropriate motor (movement) response.
Disadvantaged children who would benefit from extra help from agencies to help them to make the most of opportunities available to them.
Wave One Teaching
Often referred to as Quality First Teaching. This is the universal education, which is delivered through whole class with differentiation to allow for individual differences in ability and learning styles. It can also involve in-class support through the form of a Teaching Assistant.
Children who are identified as in need of additional support, may be offered small group work. They may have gaps in their knowledge or may have missed a number of lessons and need opportunities to catch up with their peers, or they may take longer to assimilate information. They may be included on the SEN register at School Action Plus and are generally speaking one-two years behind their normally developing peers.
Wave Three intervention approaches refers to a higher level of support when children are still struggling to maintain the level of their peer group. They may be two or more years behind. They are usually entered onto the SEN register and receive specialist additional support in the form of small group or one-to-one support. This may be through a Specialist Teacher or a TA.
This is the memory used to hold temporarily, process, manipulate and retrieve information. It is the executive and attentional aspect of short-term memory.
AAC Alternative and Augmentative Communication
ACPC Area Child Protection Committee
ADD Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
AfL Assessment for Learning
AEN Additional Educational Needs
ALS Additional Learning Support
AMBDA Associate Member of British Dyslexia Association
APP Assessing Pupil Progress
AQA Assessment and Qualifications Alliance
ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder
ASN Additional Support Needs
AST Advanced Skills Teacher
BATOD British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
BDA Bristish Dyslexia Association
BESD Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties
BEST Behaviour and Education Support Team
BIP Behaviour Improvement Programme
BSL British Sign Language
BSU Behaviour Support Unit
BSP Behaviour Support Plan
BSS Behaviour Support Service
BVPI Best Value Performance Indicator
CAF Common Assessment Framework
CAFTS Child and Family Therapy Service
CALDAT Children and Adolescent Learning Disability Team
CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
CD Conduct Disorders
CDC Child Development Centre
Centre Setting authorised for delivering public exams
CF Cystic Fibrosis
CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Continuing for a long time
CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CLN Complex Learning Needs
Clinical Direct health care
CMHT Community Mental Health Team
CoP Code of Practice
CP Cerebral Palsy
DAMP Deficit in Attention, Motor Control and Perception
DCD Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
DDA Disability Discrimination Act
DED Disability Equality Duty
DfE Department for Education
DLA Disability Living Allowance
DRC Disability Rights Commission
DS Downs Syndrome
DSP Designated Senior Person (child protection)
DVD Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia
EAL English as an Additional Language
ECM Every Child Matters
EHE Elective Home Education
EMA Education Maintenance Allowance
EOTAS Education Other Than at School
EP Educational Psychologist
ERA Education Reform Act
EWO Education Welfare Officer
EYA Early Years Action
EYAP Early Years Action Plus
EYFS Early Years Foundation Stage
EYDCP Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership
FLS Further Literacy Support
FLT Foundation Learning Tier
FSP Foundation Stage Profile
FSW Family Support Worker
FTE Full Time Equivalent
G & T Gifted and Talented
GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education
GLD General Learning Difficulties
GMC General Medical Council
GTC General Teaching Council
HI Hearing Impairment
HLTA Higher Level Teaching Assistant
HMI Her Majesty’s Inspectorate
IBP Individual Behaviour Plan
IDP Inclusion Development Programme
IEP Individual Education Plan
ILP Individual Learning Plan
INCO Inclusion Co-ordinator
INSET In-Service Training. Continuous Professional Development for Teacher (CPD)
ISP Individual Support Plan
JCQ Joint Council of Qualifications
KS1 Key Stage One Years 1-2 (age 5-7)
KS2 Key Stage 2 Years 3-6 (age 7-11)
KS3 Key Stage 3 Years 7-9 (age 11-14)
KS4 Key Stage 4 Years 10-11 (age 14-16) GCSE phase
LA Local Authority
LAC Looked After Children
LD Learning disability
LDD Learning Difficulty and Disability
LM Learning mentor
LSA Learning Support Assistant
LSC Learning and Skills Council
LSU Learning Support Unit
MDA Multi-disciplinary Assessment
MDT Multi-disciplinary Team
ME Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
MLD Moderate Learning Difficulties
MND Motor Neurone Disease
MSI Multi-Sensory Impairment
NAS National Autistic Society
NEET Not in Education Employment or training
NLS National Literacy Strategy
NMSS Non-Maintained Special School
NNS National Numeracy Strategy
NSF National Service Framework
NQT Newly Qualified Teacher
NVQ National Vocational Qualification
OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
ODD Oppositional Defiance Disorder
ODPM Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
OFqual Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator
Ofsted Office for Standards in Education
OT Occupational Therapist
PCT Primary Care Trust
PD Physical Disabilities/Difficulties
PDA Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome
PDD Pervasive Developmental Disorder
PECs Picture Exchange Communication System
PEP Personal Education Plan
PMD Physical and Medical Difficulties
PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
PPS Parent partnership Service
PRU Pupil Referral Unit
PSHE Personal, Social and Health Education.
PSI Physical and Sensory Impairment
PSP Personal Support Plan
QCDA Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
RA Reading Age
SA Spelling Age
SA School Action
SA+ School Action Plus
SALT Speech and Language Therapist
SATs Standard Attainment Tasks
SEAL Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning
SEBD Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
SEF Self Evaluation Form
SEN Special Educational Needs
SENCO Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator
SENDA Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2002)
SENSS SEN Support Services
SENDIST SEN and Disability Tribunal
SIP School Improvement Partner
SLCN Speech, Language and Communication Needs
SLD Severe Learning Difficulties
SLI Specific Language Impairment
SLT Senior Leadership Team
SMA Spinal Muscular Atrophy
SPD Semantic Pragmatic Disorder
SpLD Specific Learning Difficulties
SSEN Statement of Special Educational Need
TA Teaching Assistant
TAC Team Around the Child
TDA Teaching and Development Agency
TLR Teaching and Learning Responsibility
TS Tourettes Syndrome
VI Visually Impaired