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SEN GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS

Annual Review– the local authority is required to perform a review of every EHC plan at least once every 12 months. This is set out in law in the Children & Families Act 2014

Children & Families Act 2014– becoming law on 01 September 2014, this Act establishes the current law on SEND. It is further supported by the SEND Regulations 2014, as well as the SEND Code of Practice.

Direct Payment – these can be made as part of a Personal Budget to allow a young person or parent to buy certain services which are set out in the EHC Plan. If Direct Payments are to be made for services to be provided on school/college grounds, the agreement of the school/college must be received.

Disagreement Resolution– local authorities are required to provide access to independent disagreement resolution services to help parents and young people to resolve disputes relating to SEN issues. (see 11.6 – 11.10 of the SEND Code of Practice).

Education Funding Agency – the government agency that funds education for learners aged between 3 – 19, and those with learning difficulties and disabilities aged between 3 – 25. (NOTE: academies and free schools receive EFA funding directly. Local authorities receive funds from the EFA and then allocate them to local maintained schools).

Educational Health & Care Needs Assessment – local authorities MUST perform an assessment if a child or young person might need an EHC Plan. An EHC Needs Assessment is a detailed look into the educational needs of a child or young person, and what helps they might benefit from. (see 9.45 – 9.52 SEND Code of Practice).

Educational Health & Care Plan – an EHC Plan sets out, in great detail and specificity, the special educational, health and care needs of a child or young person, and what help and provision will be given in order to help that child or young person. It is a detailed legal document, created by a local authority with input from various sources, professionals, parents and young persons.

First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs & Disability) – this is the forum in which SEN appeals are decided by a judge. Commonly appeals relate to EHC Plans, and EHC Assessments. You can find a useful overview of the First Tier Tribunal here.

Graduated Approach – this is set out in the SEND Code of Practice at 6.44 – 6.56. It states that schools should follow the graduated approach of: Assess > Plan > Do > Reviewwhen providing SEN support.

Local Offer– Every local authority will publish their Local Offer. This sets out what support is available for children and young people (+ their families) who have SEN and/or disabilities. It tends to be a living document and is updated.

Mainstream School– a school providing education for all children and young people regardless of whether they have SEN or disabilities.

Mediation  – all local authorities must provide parents and young people with access to an independent mediation service. (See 11.13 – 11.38 SENC Code of Practice). Mediation is used to resolve disputes with local authorities which relate to:

  • Their decision not to perform an EHC Needs Assessment
  • Their decision not to produce an EHC Plan
  • The contents of an EHC Plan
  • Their refusal to amend an EHC Plan
  • Their decision to stop maintaining an EHC Plan
  • Matters relating to health and/or social care elements of an EHC Plan

You can find a useful video explaining the general mediation process here.

Mediation Advice –before an appeal can be brought to the First Tier Tribunal parents or young people must first seek mediation advice. This is when information on what mediation involves and how it works is given to the parents or young people. Once the advice is given, the parent or young person can decide whether they wish to take part in mediation or decline it. (See 11.21 – 11.25 SENC Code of practice).

Outcome – 9.66 of the SEND Code of Practice sets out what is expected of an Outcome.

Personal Budget – this is money which is made available to fund support under an EHC Plan. Parents of children, or young persons, can choose whether or not they want a Personal Budget.

Reasonable Adjustments – these are changes that schools or other settings should consider making to allow the child or young person to access education, health or social care and to attain.

Schools Forum– each local authority has a School Forum. One of the roles of the Schools Forum is to review the local formula used to fund schools and SEN.

SEND Code of Practice– this sets out the what education providers must do to identify, assess and provide for in respect of SEN or disabilities. The code is available in full here, or a shorter version for parents here. It is a statutory code which supports Part 3 of the Children & Families Act 2014. 

SEN Information Report– this contains information of how schools support children with SEN. All schools must publish this document on their websites, and keep it maintained. 6.79 of the SEND Code of Practice sets out what information should be included in the SEN Information Report.

SEN Support– this is the help for children or young people with SEN which is in addition to, or differs from, the support generally available to all pupils.

SENCO– Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator. This is a qualified teacher or individual with responsibility for arranging SEN provision.

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