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Jargon Buster

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Jargon Buster

This resource explains some wording and terms that you might come across.


Act: A law that has been passed by Parliament.

Advocate: An independent person or organisation who will give children and young people information or support to make a decision.

Alternative providers: Organisations that provide services to people but are not funded by the government, for example private care organisations.

Appeal: To argue against something or question a decision you don’t agree with using the law.

Apprenticeship: Paid jobs that include training to gain practical skills while you work, for example veterinary nursing or plumbing.

Assessments: Looking at what you can and can’t do, and looking at the support available to help you do those things.

Autonomy: Being able to make your own decisions about things.

Additional Learning Support: This is what colleges and training placements call special education needs.

Additional SEN Support: The replacement for school action and school action plus for young people with special educational needs who are not covered by Education, Health and Care plans.


Bill: A Bill is something the government wants to become law, but is waiting for Parliament to agree to.

Brokerage: Support from a person or organisation to organise and arrange support.


Call for evidence: When an organisation asking experts to tell them what they think about something.

Care Act 2015: The laws that say how people’s care and support needs should be met.

Care Plan: A document that explains all the help and support a child or young person living in care receives.

Carers: People who help to look after you.

Case studies: Stories about someone’s experience to show how services work in real life.

Check-up: A visit to the doctor to make sure you are healthy.

Children and Families Act 2014: A new set of laws that the government introduced in September 2014. This includes changes that affect how disabled children, young people and families get the services and support they need.

Children in Care Council: A group of children and young people living in care who talk to decision-makers about what is important to them and what positive support they need.

Clinical Commissioning Groups: A part of the NHS responsible for the planning and providing health care services in a local area.

Co-production: When two or more groups of people work together to plan and complete a piece of work.

Code of Practice: A guide to tell local authorities what they need to do to work within the law and provide support for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Commissioning: Ordering something to be created, like a service that helps a group of people.

Complaint: When you let the person in charge know that you are unhappy about something.

Confidential: When something is private and is known by only a group of people.

Consent: Agreeing to something.

Consultation: Asking people what their views are on a particular issue.

Court: The place where judges make decisions about the law.

Cross cutting: An issue or topic that is relevant to a number of different organisations or government departments. For example, disability is a cross cutting issue because it’s important to all government departments.

Curriculum: All the courses or subjects that are taught in schools, colleges etc.


Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS): A government department that deals with businesses, training and universities.

Developmentally Appropriate Healthcare: Making sure children and young people get the healthcare they need in the way that is best for them.

Dignity: Being treated in a way that makes us feel comfortable, respected and at ease.

Disabled children’s sector: Charities and other organisations that work with and for disabled children and young people.

Disabled Students Allowance: Money for university students which is paid on top of other student finance. It helps pay the extra costs you may have because of your disability. It does not have to be repaid.

Disagreement Resolution: A way to try and resolve an argument with your school/college or the local authority if you want to change the learning support you are getting.

Direct payments: Allow people to receive money directly from their local authority, so they can pay for their own services and live more independently.

Due regard: To pay attention to something.

Duty: Something the law says an organisation must do.


Education, Health and Care Assessment: A new assessment for disabled children and young people to help decide what services and support they need.

Education, Health and Care Plan: A document that will set out what support disabled children and young people should get in school. This replaced a ‘statement’.

Education Health and Care Plan Officer: This role plays an important part in initiating, processing and maintaining EHC plans for children and young people between 0-25yrs. The role includes ensuring statutory letters are sent out in a timely manner, monitoring timescales, communicating with families and young people, creating and collating information for reports and meetings and supporting with identifying appropriate educational placements. To be responsible for setting key dates for the statutory assessment process and for ensuring that schools and other professionals adhere to these timescales.

Education Psychologist: study of methods of training and teaching and their effectiveness, and of the problems experienced in learning formal material; in particular, the study of how to help school children/young people, with learning their learning needs to help overcome their barrier to learning.

Education Select Committee: A group of MP’s from different parties in government that look at issues to do with Education.

Elective Home Education (EHE): is when a parent chooses not to send their child to school full-time but assumes responsibility for making sure their child receives a full-time education other than at school.

Electorate: Everyone who is 18 years and older, and who is eligible to vote.


Feedback: What you think about something.

Framework: A set of rules that show how something should happen.

Further education: Any education that a young person does once they’ve left school. This includes college, apprenticeships and supported internships.


Guidance: Tells organisations what they should be doing to work within the law.


Health: How you feel. Your health includes your body, your mind and your emotions.

Health and Well-Being Boards: They bring together local health services, doctors and local authorities to decide what health issues are important to concentrate on in the local area.

Health Care Plan: This is a document that says how the NHS will keep you healthy when you are living in care.

Health Passports: A document that includes information about your health. You can show this document to anyone who needs to know about your health.

Health Records: Important things the NHS has written down about your health and any treatment you have had.

Healthcare: Any care or treatment you receive to look after your health.

Healthwatch: A group that helps patients and the public speak to health services in their area.

Healthy Young Minds: (previously CAMHS) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Higher education: Courses that are usually studied at universities, university colleges and specialist higher education institutions.

Home Education: Children remain on school roll and receive a combination of support from school, online learning recources and parents may provide resources.

Human rights: The rights everyone in the world has to keep them safe, healthy, respected and happy.


Implementation: Making something that is set out in law happen.

Impartial: Information from a person, organisation that tells you all the facts and options available to you to help you make your own decision.

Information, Advice and Support Services: (IASS) provide information, advice and support in a local area specifically on issues about education, health and social care affecting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. IASS can give information to parents, children and young people.


Joined-up: When services work together to plan what services people in the local area need.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA): This finds out what a local area is like, who lives there and what services they need.


Key workers: Someone who works with children and families to help them get the best education and social care services and make sure services work together.


Learning mentor: A mentor they will work closely with individual students, this will usually be under the direction of the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

Legal documents: A document that includes information and instructions that you must do to follow the law.

Local agencies: All local government groups. This includes local councils but also local health services, charities and other service providers.

Local authority: The local government responsible for managing services in your area – i.e. your local council.

Local Offer: A document to say what services and support are available in local areas for disabled children, young people and families.


Mainstream: Services that all children and young people use, for example youth clubs, leisure facilities and public transport. This can also include mainstream education, so schools and colleges that all children and young people can go to. Maximum: The biggest or highest number of something.

Mechanism: A system or procedure to do something.

Mediation: A way of trying to come to an agreement when people disagree. In education this is often when parents disagree with a council or school.


NHS: Short for the National Health Service. All the doctors, nurses and other health professionals who work in hospitals and health services in your area work for the NHS.


Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapy (OT) treatment focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. OT can help children with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment

Ofsted: The organisation that makes sure schools and social care services are doing a good job.

Oral evidence sessions: When a government committee asks people to answer detailed questions on a particular topic.

Organisation: A group of people who work together to achieve something. Groups like hospitals, schools, charities and councils are all types of organisations.

Outcomes: What children and young people achieve and how their lives improve, for example going to college, learning new skills, living on their own or getting a job.


Parent/ Carer forums: Local groups where parents of disabled children and young people can come together to discuss issues in their local area and how they would like to improve them.

Parent Partnership Services: Have now become Information, Advice and Support Services or SEN and Disability Advice Services. Some services may not have changed their names yet.

Parental Responsibility: The person with the legal power to make important decisions for a child.

Participation: Taking part in something to achieve a goal.

Participation Strategy: A plan that explains why it is important to include people in decision-making and how people will be involved in making decisions.

Pastoral Support: look after the welfare of students/pupil and ensure they can come to school. The job can be full time and non-teaching while in some schools the role is aligned with teaching duties, especially when it can come under the job title of Head of Year

Patient: An unwell person who is being looked after by a doctor or nurse.

Pediatrician: a doctor with special training in medical care for children

Person Centred Planning: A way of planning services based on what the person using them wants and cares about.

Personal assistant: Somebody who supports you to do things.

Personal budgets: Money that people can use and decide themselves how to spend to pay for support.

Personal Education/Social/Health budgets: Personal Budgets should reflect the holistic nature of an EHC plan and can include funding for special educational, health and social care provision.

Policy: A statement of what an organisation or the government think about a particular issue.

Post-16: A general term used to describe the education, services or support that a young person gets after 16 years old.

Pre-legislative scrutiny: When a group of MP’s look at a draft Bill and tell the government what they should change before they publish the final version.

Private: It will only be seen by the people who really need to see it. It won’t be shared with everyone.

Process: The steps you go through to make something happen.

Provisions: Something that is provided for somebody, sometimes the law tells organisations what they must provide.

Public health: Trying to make everyone get healthier by helping them make good decisions about their health.

Pupil Premium: The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and is additional funding that the government gives to schools for each pupil on roll where they are deemed to be disadvantaged.

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU): Is a type of school that will offer education to a child/young person who are at risk of exclusion/permanent exclusion or are not attending school for other reasons


Redress: What someone should get if something goes wrong and it is the fault of an organisation.

Referendum: Everyone who is 18 years and older can vote on the answer to a single question.

Regions: A large area of the country. England has 9 regions.

Regulations: Guidance that tells professionals and organisations what to do to make sure they carry out what the law says.

Respect: Treating people in the right way. This includes valuing and taking seriously their rights, views and feelings.

Rights: A legal entitlement to have or to do something.

Ring fencing: When the government decides that some money can only be spent on a specific thing.


Secondary legislation: Changes the Government makes to an existing law without having to pass a new law.

Select Committee: A group of MPs from all political parties that look at a specific issue. They listen to experts, write reports and tell the government what they think they should pay attention to.

SEN Team: The SEN Team are responsible for coordinating the statutory assessment process that may lead to an education, health and care plan. The team is also responsible for maintaining and amending Education, Health and Care Plans

SENCO: The SENCO has day-to-day responsibility for the operation of SEN policy and co-ordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils with SEN, including those who have EHC plans. Liaising with parents/carers of pupils with SEN

Services: Providing something that meets a need, such as buses for transport, a specific type of health care or using a youth club as a way to meet new people.

Setting: Where your child/young person access their education. E.g school, nursery, college etc

Short breaks: Opportunities for disabled children and young people to spend time away from their family and do something fun. For example a day, evening, overnight or weekend activity.

Speech and Language Therapist: Speech and Language Therapy provides individualized speech, language and social communication services to children in need, including diagnostic and therapy services.

Special Educational Needs (SEN): Children and young people have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which means they need extra support to help them learn or take part in activities in school or college.

0-25 special educational needs and disability (SEND) Code of Practice: A guide to tell local authorities what they need to do to work within the law and provide support for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Specialist services: Help with a particular special need, disability, illness or condition.

Specialist support: Services specifically designed to support disabled children and young people, for example speech and language, short breaks or special education.

Staff: People who work for an organisation.

Statement of SEN Support: A legal document written by the local authority that tells schools what support they have to give you.

Statutory: What the law says.

Statutory services: Services that the government provide, for example education, health or social care services from a local authority.

Supported: Getting help from an organisation or from people.

Supported Internships: These are unpaid roles for young disabled people to study or train with an employer. They will gain skills to help them move into paid employment.


Teaching Assistant: Teaching Assistants (TA’s) support learning activities in schools and nurseries. They can work with individual pupils, groups of children or, on occasion, a whole class. A TA will support pupils across a range of abilities as well as undertaking duties support teacher's .Some TAs work exclusively with pupils with special educational needs (SEN) or with those with other specific needs.

Therapies: Medical treatments that help a disabled person to manage the symptoms of their condition, for example physiotherapy, speech therapy.

Therapists: Health professionals who help children and young people with their health issues. They can be physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists or other therapists, depending on what help you need.

Transition: When a child moves in to a primary school setting, transfers to secondary school/ college. Or the young person moves from children’s to adult services.

Treatment: Things the NHS does to keep you healthy, like operations, medicines and therapies.

Tribunal: A place where you can go to talk about decisions that you don’t agree with. A group of people who are not involved will listen to all the people involved in the argument and make a decision.


Voluntary organisations: Charities and other small organisations who don’t make a profit and work for a specific issue or group of people.

This resource is part of the Making Participation Work programme, a joint partnership between the Council for Disabled Children and KIDS, and funded by the Department for Education. For more information about the Making Participation Work programme, visit their website at Council for disabled children