Ofsted awards the highest rating to our SEND service in 2024 inspection! Read the full report.

Local Offer jargon buster

Professionals can use terms, phrases, and/or abbreviations that are difficult to understand by parents, caregivers, and children. They may also have different meanings depending on the organisation.

If you read or hear something you may not understand, this guide might be helpful. You can also search the page for a specific word or phrase by pressing CTRL and F together and then putting the word into the search box. 

If something is missing, let us know by emailing SENDComms@haringey.gov.uk



AAC - Augmentative and alternative communication. This describes systems or equipment that help people communicate, such as PECS (picture exchange communication system) or electronic communication devices.

Academy - A type of school. Publicly funded independent schools that are free from local authority control.  freedoms include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, freedoms concerning the delivery of the curriculum, and the ability to change the length of their terms and school days (see also MAT).

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder – people with ADD can find it difficult to remain focused.

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – people with ADHD can find it difficult to remain focused and may also be highly active and impulsive.

Advocacy - Support for people to express their views.

Advocate - Someone who can speak on your behalf, express your views and wishes, and ensure that your rights, concerns and needs are acted upon. Advocates act only according to the wishes of the person they are speaking for. They do not take their own view of what is best, or try to influence the person to make a different choice.

Aids and adaptions - Help to make things easier for you around the home.

Alternative provision or AP - Education arranged by a local authority or school for pupils of compulsory school age outside of mainstream or special schools. This might be for pupils with behaviour problems, health needs preventing school attendance or those without a school place. It may include full or part time placements in pupil referral units, AP academies, AP free schools or FE colleges; provision in hospital schools and independent schools; and other provision such as home tuition services and voluntary or private sector providers. 

Annual Review - A review of an Education Health Care (EHC) plan), which the local authority must undertake at least every 12 months (or every six months for children under 5). 

APDR - Assess, Plan, Do, Review. Schools have to follow this cycle for pupils with SEND, in partnership with families. See also Graduated Approach.

ASC - Autistic Spectrum Condition is a developmental difference that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. Also known as ASD or autism.

ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Assessment - The process of working out what someone’s needs are.

Back to top


Base or core funding - Level of funding that is allocated from the local authority or EFA (Education Funding Agency, an arm of the Department for Education) to individual schools and other institutions, usually based on pupil or place numbers.

Benefits - Payments from the Government that people may receive because of their age, disability, income or caring responsibilities.

Broker or brokerage - Someone whose job it is to provide you with advice and information about what services are available in your area, so that you can choose to purchase the care and support that best meets your needs.

BSL - British Sign Language.

BSP - Behaviour Support Plan.

Back to top


C and F Assessment or Child and Family Assessment - The core assessment tool used by social workers to assess the needs of a child with a disability living with their family parents/carers.

CAF - Common Assessment Framework. A method of assessment which can be used by social services, health or education. It is non-statutory, i.e. it does not replace statutory assessment.

CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: These services assess and treat children and young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. 

Care Plan - A record of the health and/or social care services that are being provided to a child or young person to help them manage a disability or health condition. 

Care Worker - A person who is paid to support someone who is ill, struggling or disabled and could not manage without this help.

Carer - A person who provides unpaid support to a partner, family member, friend or neighbour who is ill, struggling or disabled and could not manage without this help.

Caseworker - A named officer of the local authority who will deal with your child's EHCP and who will talk to you if you have an enquiry or concern. 

CCG - Clinical Commissioning Group. This is an NHS organisation which brings together local GPs and health professionals to take on commissioning responsibilities for local health services. A CCG plans and arranges the delivery of the health care provision for people in its area.

CEOP - Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (tackling child sex abuse and providing advice).

Children and Families Act 2014 - A law that covers duties regarding children with SEND, among wider duties relating to children and families. Part III of the Act introduced significant changes to the SEN and disability system including new assessment arrangements, joint commissioning duties, a local offer, and increased engagement with children, young people and families.

CIN Plan/Child in Need Plan - A plan that is compiled by the social worker and professional network supporting the Child with a disability.

Clinical Psychologist - A professional who focuses on the treatment and diagnosing of mental and emotional disorders.

Commissioner - A person or organisation that plans the services that are needed by the people who live in the area the organisation covers, and ensures that services are funded and available.

Community Care Services - Social care services that aim to help you live a full, independent life and to remain in your own home.

Community Health Services - Health services that are provided outside hospitals.

Consultation - When a child or young person has an EHC Plan, the local authority must formally consult with schools or settings, by asking them whether they can meet the child/young person’s needs as described in the EHC Plan.

Continuing health care - Ongoing care outside hospital for someone who is ill or disabled, arranged and funded by the NHS.

CoP or Code of Practice - The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015. This contains statutory guidance on the Children and Families Act 2014 that schools have to follow. A statutory government document which provides practical advice to those carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for children's special educational needs.

Co-production - Refers to people who receive services having an active role in designing the services. It can also mean when you as an individual – child, young person or parent, are involved as an equal partner in designing the individual support and services you receive, eg through an EHC Plan.

Back to top


DCD - Developmental Coordination Disorder  (may also be called dyspraxia)

Dedicated schools grant - The ring-fenced specific grant paid by the Department for Education to local authorities each year, from April 2006 in support of the schools budget. The money has either to be delegated to schools or used for centrally managed provision for pupils. It contains three funding blocks (schools, high needs and early years).

Developmental delay - A delay in reaching the normal stages of development.

DfE - Department for Education. The government department that is responsible for education and children's services in England.

Direct Payments - Payments made to families so they can buy their own services. Direct Payments may be available for health care, social care and for special educational provision in an Education Health and Social Care (EHC) plan.

Disagreement Resolution - A service that aims to help families and local authorities come to an agreement. Local authorities must provide access to independent disagreement resolution services to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities, schools and other settings about Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) duties and provision (also see mediation).

DLA or Disability Living Allowance - A benefit that is paid to families with children with disabilities.

DMO - Designated Medical Officer. A member of the health services who is responsible for linking with the education and social care departments about services for children with SEND.

DSL - Designated Safeguarding Lead. Someone in a school or organisation with responsibility for safeguarding children and child protection.

Back to top


Early Help - Providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child's life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.

Early Years Provider - A provider of early education places for children under five. This can include state funded and private nurseries, registered childminders, and preschool playgroups.

Educational Psychologist or EP - A professional who helps in assessing your child’s special educational needs and giving advice to schools.

EFA - Education Funding Agency, an arm of the Department for Education. It allocates funding to local authorities for maintained schools and voluntary aided schools. It is also responsible for funding and monitoring academies.

EHC needs assessment - An assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of a child or young person conducted by a local authority under the Children and Families Act 2014.

EHC Plan - Education, Health and Care plan.  An EHC plan details the education, health and social care needs of a child or young person who has SEN or a disability, and also the support to be provided to a child or young person. It is written by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment of the child or young person has determined that an EHC plan is necessary. 

EY - Early Years.

EYFS or Early Years Foundation Stage - The statutory framework that all schools and Ofsted registered early years providers must follow which sets the standards for learning, development, and care of children from birth to 5 years.

Back to top


FE or Further Education-  The Further Education sector in England includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes. It does not include universities.

Free school - State-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community. These new schools have the same legal requirements as academies and enjoy the same freedoms and flexibilities.

FSM - Free school meals.

Back to top


Global Delay - A general delay in acquiring normal developmental milestones.

Graduated Approach - Support for children and young people with SEND is made by a step by step or a “graduated approach”. This may be for a varying length of time and is described as “SEN support” (see also Assess, Plan, Do, Review).

Back to top


HCPC - Health and Care Professions Council.

HI or Hearing Impairment - Hearing impairment, or hearing loss, occurs when you lose part or all of your ability to hear.

High needs funding block - Funding is currently allocated by central government to local authorities to pay for the additional costs of funding education and educational support for children and young people who have a high level of need.

Home authority - This usually means the local authority in which a child or young person lives (and which therefore has the responsibility to the child or young person under the Children and Families Act 2014).

Home care - Care provided in your home by paid care workers.

Hospital education - Education provided at a special school established in a hospital, or under any arrangements made by the local authority where the child is being provided with such education by reason of a decision made by a medical practitioner.

Back to top


Independent living - The right to choose the way you live your life. Independent living often refers to young people living in accommodation independently from their parents.

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

Integrated Additional - A Panel comprising of social, health and educational representatives 

Integrated Care - Joined up, coordinated health and social care that is planned and organised around the needs and preferences of the individual, their carer and their family.

Back to top


LAC - Looked After Child.

LAC Review/Looked After Child Review - A Looked After Child Review is conducted by the Independent Reviewing Officer.

LADO - Local Authority Designated Officer for safeguarding children and young people.

Local Authority or LA - A Local Authority or Council in England.

Local Offer - Provides information about services available locally for children and young people with SEND. 

LSA - Learning Support Assistant, also sometimes called Teaching Assistant (TA).

Back to top


MAAT - Multi Agency Advice Team.

Mainstream School - State school which can meet the needs of most children.

Maintained School - Schools in England that are maintained by a local authority – any community, foundation or voluntary school, community special or foundation special school.

MAT - Multi-academy trust. A group of academies working together under a shared academy structure.

Mediation - This is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities which is designed to help settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities over EHC needs assessments and plans. 

MENCAP - A charity that supports families.

MLD or Moderate Learning Difficulties -  A student with moderate learning difficulties is understood to display significant delay in reaching developmental milestones and may have much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills. They may also have associated speech and language delay, low levels of concentration and under-developed social, emotional and personal skills. 

Back to top


National curriculum - The programmes of study and attainment targets for children's education, for all subjects at all stages.

Notional SEN budget - Funding that schools receive to spend on support for children with SEND.

Back to top


Occupational Therapist or OT - A health professional trained to give advice on equipment, adaptations and activities to support the learning/social development of children, young people and adults with physical, emotional, sensory or behavioural difficulties.

Ofsted - Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. This is the body which inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people and those providing education and training for learners of all ages.

Outcome - Describes the difference or benefit to an individual as a result of  special education intervention or provision.

Back to top


Parent Carer Forum - A voluntary group of parents and carers of children and young people with SEND who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers to contribute to the planning of services.

PECS or Picture Exchange Communication System - A way of helping people with communication difficulties to communicate using pictures. 

PEP - Personal Education Plan for Looked After Child.

PEP Meeting or Personal Educational Plan Meeting - A meeting to review the PEP.

Person Centred - A way of working that puts the child or young person and their family at the centre of all aspects of planning and decision-making with the professionals and services working with them, by listening to their views and involving them at every stage.

Personal Budget - An amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver a provision plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. The funds can be held directly by the parent or young person or may be held and managed on their behalf by the local authority. A personal budget may be for services in an EHC Plan, or for other services, such as short breaks.

PfA or Preparing for Adulthood - The SEND Code of Practice sets out the responsibilities of schools, local authorities and families to ensure that planning for young people with SEND from the earliest years, means they can work towards achieving paid work, independent living, good health and community inclusion as they move into adulthood. 

PMLD or Profound and multiple learning disability - This diagnosis is used when a child has more than one disability, with the most significant being a learning disability. Many children diagnosed with PMLD will also have a sensory or physical disability, complex health needs, or mental health difficulties. 

Portage - Home based pre-school education for children with developmental delay, disabilities or any other special educational needs. Portage home visitors work in partnership with parents, helping parent to help their child through learning activities within the home.

Pre-assessment - The point at which you make contact with your local council and a decision is made about whether a full assessment is necessary.

Preventive Services - Services you may receive to prevent more serious problems developing.

Primary Care - The part of the NHS that is the first point of contact for patients. This includes GPs, community nurses, pharmacists and dentists.

Provision Map - The way schools and settings record the programmes they have in place to support young people’s needs.

Back to top


RAS or RAS form or Resource Allocation System - A way of assessing whether children or young people are eligible for a particular service.

Reasonable adjustments - Changes schools and other settings are required under the Equality Act 2010 to make to ensure children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities are not substantially disadvantaged or discriminated against. This could include: changes to physical features, for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom or providing extra support and aids such as specialist teachers or equipment. 

Referral - A request for an assessment of a person's needs, or for support from a social care organisation.

Residential Care - Care in a home with or without nursing, for older people or people with disabilities who require 24 hour care. 

Respite Care (also known as Short Breaks) - Identified package of support to give parent/carers a break from caring. Short breaks can be overnight care for the child/young person with disabilities, daytime activities or a carer. Families may also be receiving support from the Children with Disabilities Service.

Review - A meeting to look at how the current plan or service is working, and to plan any changes that may be needed.

Risk Assessment - An assessment to identify possible risks and to plan what can be done about them.

Back to top


Safeguarding - Safeguarding policies and practice aim to ensure that that adults and children are not being abused, neglected or exploited.

SALT or Speech and Language Therapy- Speech and language therapy is a health care profession, the role and aim of which is to enable children, young people and adults with speech, language and communications difficulties to reach their maximum communication potential.

Schools block - The general funding that schools receive to provide education.

Section 17 - Section of the Children Act 1989 which gives Local Authorities a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are 'in need'. This includes children with SEND.

Section 41 list - Section 41 is part of of the Children and Families Act 2014. It allows independent special schools and specialist post-16 institutions to be included on the Secretary of State approved list if they meet certain criteria. If a school or setting is not on the Section 41 list, the local authority can not name it on a young person’s EHC Plan.

Section 47 - Section of the Children Act 1989 which places a duty on Local Authorities to make enquiries into the circumstances of children considered to be at risk of significant harm and, where these inquiries indicate the need, to decide what action, if any, it may need to take to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.

Section 47 Enquiry - If a child is taken into police protection, is the subject of an Emergency Protection order or there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, a Section 47 Enquiry is initiated.

Self Assessment - A form or questionnaire that you can complete yourself, either on paper or online, explaining your circumstances and why you need support.

Self Funding - When you arrange and pay for your own care services and do not receive financial help from the council.

SEMH - Social, emotional and mental health difficulties. A category of special educational need described in the SEND Code of Practice.

SEN Governor - The school governor with responsibility for Special Educational Needs.

SEN Information Report - All schools must publish on their websites, information about their policy and arrangements for supporting children and young people with SEN. The schools are also required to keep this information up to date.

SEN Provision - The additional or different help or support given to children with special educational needs in schools or settings, designed to help them access the National Curriculum and make progress. 

SEN Support Plan - A plan showing the personal outcomes the child is working on and the provision being provided to achieve them.

SEN or SEND - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made. 

SENCO or SENDCo - Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Co-ordinator: The teacher with responsibility for the planning and monitoring of the special educational provision within your child's school. 

SEND - Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities.

SENDIASS - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice Service: Provides information and support to parents/carers whose children have special educational needs. 

Services Panel (IASP) - They discuss and decide on the funding or budget allocation of resources, provision and Personal Budget allocated to a child/ family for the financial year.

Short Breaks - Identified package of support to give parent/carers a break from caring. Short breaks can be overnight care for the child/young person with disabilities, daytime activities or a carer. Families may also be receiving support from the Children with Disabilities Service.

Signposting - Pointing people in the direction of information that they should find useful.

Single Assessment Process - An attempt to coordinate assessment and care planning process across the NHS and councils, so that procedures aren't repeated and information is shared appropriately.

SLD or Severe Learning Difficulties - The term Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), or Severe Learning Disorder, is applied to a child who finds it difficult to understand, learn and remember new skills and has trouble adapting their skills to daily life.

Special educational needs and disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years - Statutory guidance on the SEN and disability system for children and young people aged 0 to 25, produced for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have SEN or disabilities. Part of the Children and Families Act, 2014.

Statutory Assessment - A detailed assessment of a child's special educational needs, which may lead to an EHC plan being drawn up.

Back to top


TA or Teaching Assistant - Support teachers and help children with their educational and social development.

TAC or TAF - Team Around the Child or Family.

TAC Meeting or Team Around the Child Meeting - This is a meeting that can be called by a health, educational or social care professional working with a child when the child is not allocated to a social worker. Parents can also request these meetings.

Transition - A time of change at particular points during a child's education for example moving from nursery to primary, or primary to secondary school, or a move between services, for example moving from children's services to adult services.

Transition Plan - A plan drawn up after the Annual Review of the EHC plan in year 9 and beyond that draws together information from a range of individuals to plan for the young person's transition to adult life. 

Tribunal - An independent body, funded by the government, that determines the outcome of appeals by parents or young people against LA decisions on EHC needs assessment and EHC plans.

Back to top


Universal Services - Services such as transport, leisure, health and education that should be available to everyone in a local area.

Back to top


VI or Visual Impairment  - A visual impairment is any visual condition that impacts an individual’s ability to successfully complete the activities of everyday life. 

Voluntary organisations - Organisations that are independent of the Government and local councils.

Back to top


Wellbeing - Being in a position where you have good physical and mental health, control over your day-to-day life, good relationships, enough money, and the opportunity to take part in the activities that interest you.


Page last updated:

May 24, 2023