Jargon Buster / Glossary
Definition of SEND: A child is defined as having special educational needs and disability (SEND) if he or she has a learning difficulty which needs special teaching. A learning difficulty means that the child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than most children of the same age. Or, it means a child has a disability which needs different educational facilities from those that schools generally provide for children of the same age in the area. The children who need special educational education are not only those with obvious learning difficulties, such as those who are physically disabled, deaf or blind. They include those whose learning difficulties are less apparent, such as slow learners and emotionally vulnerable children. It is estimated that up to 20% of school children may need special educational help at some stage in their school careers.
Educational Psychologist (EP): educational psychologists offer help and guidance to staff and parents who work with children with significant learning, communication, social, emotional, behavioural, physical or sensory difficulties.
Education Welfare Officer: person employed by an LA to help parents and LAs meet their respective statutory obligations in relation to school attendance. In some LAs Education Welfare Officers are known as Education Social Workers.
GCSEs [The General Certificate of Secondary Education] is an academic qualification awarded in a specified subject, generally taken in a number of subjects by students aged 14–16 in secondary education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is equivalent to a Level 2 (A*- C) and Level 1 (D- G) in Key Skills. When GCSEs are taken by students in secondary education, they can often be combined with other qualifications, such as the Business And Technology Education Council (BTEC), the Diploma in Digital Applications (DiDA), or diplomas.
Inclusion: inclusion encompasses broader notions of educational access than the term ‘integration’ and recognises the importance of catering for diverse needs. Inclusive principles highlight the importance of meeting children's individual needs, of working in partnership with pupils/carers and of involving teachers and schools in the development of more inclusive approaches. Inclusion assumes that the school will adapt to the child as much as the child will adapt to the school (see also integration)
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.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): covers a range of microcomputers, both portable and desktop; generic or integrated software packages, such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases and communication programmes; input devices such as keyboards, overlay keyboards, specialised access switches and touch screens; output devices such as monitors, printers and plotters; storage devices such as CD-ROM, and microelectronics controlled devices such as a floor turtle.
Integration: educating children with special educational needs together with children without special educational needs in mainstream schools wherever possible, and ensuring that children with special educational needs engage in the activities of the school together with children who do not have special educational needs (see also inclusion)
Key Stage 2: (commonly abbreviated as KS2)is the legal term for the four years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6, when pupils are aged between 7 and 11.
Key Stage 3 (commonly abbreviated as KS3) is the legal term for the three years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, when pupils are aged between 11 and 14.
Key Stage 4 is the legal term for the two years of school education which incorporate GCSEs, and other exams, in maintained schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland—normally known as Year 10 and Year 11 in England and Wales, and Year 11 and Year 12 in Northern Ireland, when pupils are aged between 14 and 16. The term is defined in the Education Act 2002 as "the period beginning at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of fifteen and ending at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class cease to be of compulsory school ageHomework, or homework assignment, refers to tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed mostly outside of class, and derives its name from the fact that most students do the majority of such work at home. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, problems to be solved, a school project to be built (such as a diorama or display), or other skills to be practiced.
Learning Mentors: school staff who work with teaching and pastoral staff to assess, identify and work with those pupils who need extra help to overcome barriers to learning inside and outside school. They are a single point of contact for accessing specialist support services, such as the Social Services, Youth Services, Education Welfare Services etc.
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.
OFSTED – Office for Standards in Education: a non-Ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England. Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) forms their professional arm.
Pupil Referral Unit: any school established and maintained by a local education 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. Further details are given in DfEE Circular 11/99 Chapter 6.
School Action: when a class or subject teacher identify that a pupil has special educational needs they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies. An IEP will usually be devised.
School Action Plus: when the class or subject teacher and the SENCO are provided with advice or support from outside specialists, so that alternative interventions 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 IEP will usually be devised.
School attendance and absence The law requires parents to make sure their children receive a full-time education suitable to their needs. For most children this means attending school regularly. As a last resort, schools and local authorities have legal powers to deal with poor attendance.
SEN coordinator (SENCO): member of staff of a school or early education setting who has responsibility for coordinating 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.
Statement of Special Educational Needs: a legal document provided to the parents and those who will be working with a child with special educational needs. It is prepared after a formal, statutory assessment and is in five sections, covering the child’s personal details, a description of the child’s special educational needs, the provision needed to meet those special educational needs, the appropriate school or other placement, the child’s non-educational needs and the non-educational provision that is appropriate.
Teaching assistants (TAs): usually work with a teacher in their classroom, making sure pupils get the most out of lessons (eg, by helping them find their way around a computer). The teaching assistant takes on tasks that allow the teacher to concentrate on teaching (eg, by preparing the classroom for lessons and clearing up afterwards). To support pupils with particular individual needs, some teaching assistants work one-to-one, while others work in small groups. Many schools employ teaching assistants with particular specialisms, including literacy, numeracy, Special Educational Needs (SEN), music, creative arts and bilingual TAs (where the first language of significant numbers of children is not English). Experienced and specially-trained teaching assistants can be expected to supervise a class for a teacher who is off sick or undertaking training. While every class must be allocated a qualified teacher, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) would be expected occasionally to lead a lesson.