It can be really confusing and frustrating to be part of a discussion when you don’t understand the language being used. This section explains some of the terms and acronyms used. It is designed to help parents and carers understand what is being discussed or written about, relating to their child or young person’s Additional Learning Needs (ALN).


Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder’ – ADHD is a range of problem behaviours associated with difficulties with attention span, including restlessness and hyperactivity.


‘Additional Learning Needs’

ALN Co-ordinator (ALNCo)

A member of staff of a school or early education setting, who has responsibility for co-ordinating Additional Learning Needs (ALN) provision within that school.

Annual Review

The Review of a Statement of Additional Learning Needs which a Local Authority (LA) must carry out within 12 months of making the Statement and then on an annual basis.

Annual Review Report

A written progress report completed by the school for an Annual or Transition Review meeting.

Annual Review Summary

A written report completed by the school recording all information and recommendations from the Annual Review meeting and sent to the Local Authority for consideration by the Case Advisory Panel.


An appeal is when you tell a tribunal (SENTW) that you do not agree with the choices your Local Authority have made about your child’s education. This could be about the help you have at school or the school you go to. Your parents or carers can also make an appeal.


‘Autistic Spectrum Condition’ – the term used for a range of disorders affecting the development of social interaction, communication and imagination.

Behaviour Support Service

This service works with schools to support pupils with serious behaviour difficulties.


‘Behavioural, Emotional and/or Social Difficulties’.


‘Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service’ – service to provide help, support and care for children and young people suffering from mental health problems.

Careers Wales

A service for all 13-19 year olds to help them prepare for the transition to work and adult life.

Case Officer

A named officer of the Local Authority who co-ordinates the Statutory Assessment process and the maintenance of statements. The Case Officer is the first point of contact in the Local Authority to answer the questions and concerns parents may have about progress with a Statutory Assessment or their child’s Statement.

Children’s Centres

Children’s Centres are places where children under 5 years old and their families can receive seamless holistic integrated services and where they can access help from multi-disciplinary teams of professionals offering: full day care, early years education, child and family health services, including ante-natal services, parental outreach, family support services, child-minding support for children and parents with special needs, effective links to Job Centre Plus.

Code of Practice for SEN

A Guide for parents, schools and Local Authorities about the help they can give to children with Additional Learning Needs. Schools, Local Authorities and Children’s Social Services must have regard to the Code (i.e. they must not ignore it) when they work with a child with Additional Learning Needs.

Core Assessment

If needed this is carried out by Social Work staff from Children’s Social Care following an Initial Assessment. It is a detailed assessment to look at child/family needs significant health needs, physical disability or behavioural problems requiring a number of different services. It must be completed within 35 working days.

Delegated Funding

All schools receive their funding from Central Government through the Local Authority according to a range of formulae, which are calculated according to the number and age range of each school’s pupils.

Disability Rights Code of Practice for Schools/ Disability Rights Code of Practice for Post 16 Provision

Both explain the duties to avoid disability discrimination in education

Disagreement Resolution

Local Authorities must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents whose children have Additional Learning Needs and the Local Authority or school. Using this service does not affect parents’ right to appeal to the SEN Tribunal.

Early Years Action

When an Early Years setting identifies that a child has Additional Learning Needs, action is taken by giving help that is additional to, or different from, the help most children receive.

Early Years Action Plus

When the Early Years setting identifies that a child has Additional Learning Needs that require advice and/or support from other agencies.

Early Years Settings

All pre-school education provision such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and play groups.

Educational Psychologist (Ed Psych) (EP)

Have a first degree in Psychology and a post-graduate qualification in Educational Psychology. They offer specialist advice and support to pupils, schools, parents and other agencies. The service plays a major role in the Statutory Assessment process and may contribute to the transition Planning process and some Annual Reviews.


‘Education Other Than At School’.

Equalities Act

The Equality Act became law in October 2010. It replaces previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what you need to do to make your workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law.

Equalities and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a non-departmental public body in Great Britain that was established by the Equality Act 2006 and came into being on 1 October 2007. The Commission has responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales. It took over the responsibilities of three former commissions: the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission (which dealt with gender equality) and the Disability Rights Commission. It also has responsibility for other aspects of equality: age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. As a national human rights institution, it seeks to promote and protect human rights in Great Britain.


The education and training inspectorate for Wales. Estyn is the office of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training.

Extended Schools

These schools provide a wide range of activities and services in partnership with a wide variety of organisations. These extended services will be shaped by the needs and demands of pupils, parents and wider community.

Families First (FF)

Families First is a Welsh Government programme which provides multi-agency systems and support for families.


Further Education’ (post-16).

Flying Start

A Welsh Government programme for families with children who are 0 -3 years of age.

Health Visitor

A qualified nurse employed by the Health Service who gives advice on general child health, particular health problems and has specific responsibility for monitoring a child’s progress and advising parents when needed.


‘Hearing Impairment’ – pupils with a hearing impairment range from hearing loss to those who are profoundly deaf.


‘Individual Development Plan’. Welsh Government are changing the way children and young people are supported in education. An important change will be the introduction of the ‘Individual Development (Education) Plan’ – ID(E)P.


‘Individual Education Plan’ (will be replaced by the ‘Individual Development (Education) Plan’ – ID(E)P. A set of short-term learning targets set down for a child with Additional Learning Needs. This is usually put together by the ALNCo and teachers, but parents and pupils should always be involved. An ID(E)P should be reviewed at least twice a year, but a more frequent review is often appropriate.


Educating children with Additional Learning Needs in mainstream (local) schools wherever possible.

Inclusion Support Service

Works in schools to build capacity for including children with a range of Additional Learning Needs and provides outreach support for individual children and young people.


Information Technology (sometimes called information and communication technology)

Key Stages

Educational Stage School Year Age
Early Years (n/a) Birth – 3 years
Foundation Phase Reception – year 2 Age 3 – 7
Key Stage 2 Years 3 – 6 Age 7 – 11
Key Stage 3 Years 7 – 9 Age 11 – 14
Key Stage 4 Years 10 – 11 Age 14 – 16
Key Stage 5 Years 12 – 14 Age 16 – 19



‘Local Authority’

Lead Professional

One person who is responsible for helping the child and family through the education system and to make sure they get the right services at the right time.

Learning Difficulties

A child has learning difficulties if he or she finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age.

Learning Resource Centre (LRC)

A Learning Resource Centre is a classroom based within a mainstream school providing education for pupils with complex needs.

Learning Support Assistant (LSA)

An assistant providing in-school support for pupils with Additional Learning Needs. An LSA works under the direction of a class teacher as considered appropriate.

Locality Teams

Reorganisation of staff to carry out work in a multi-disciplinary way in specific geographic areas.


‘Learning Support Assistant’ (see also TA).

Mainstream School

A Local Authority maintained school that is not a special school (i.e. it is an ordinary school). Mainstream schools form the majority of schools and include Infant, Junior, Primary and Secondary schools.

Maintained School

A state school including community, foundation and voluntary schools as well as community special and foundation special schools.

Mentor or Learning Mentor

An adult or older pupil who is linked with a child to provide support across a number of areas such as learning or behaviour.


Stands for Moderate Learning Difficulties.


The ongoing assessment of work, progress, expenditure or achievement.

Multi Agency Team

Professionals from different specialisms (health/education/ social care/voluntary organisations) working together in the best interest of your child.


Involving professionals from a range of disciplines (usually Education, Social Care and Health)

Multi-Sensory Environment

A place (usually a classroom or therapy room) where children have the opportunity to learn/receive information using all of their senses.

Named LA Officer

(see also Case Officer): An officer of the local authority who will deal with your child’s case and who will talk to you if you have any enquiry or concern.

National Curriculum

What the Government has decided that all children in mainstream schools will learn.

Note in Lieu

A document that describes your child’s Additional Learning Needs, explains why a Statement is not required and which sets out what should be done to help your child.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

A professional employed by the Health Trust to work with the child, parents and teachers. Occupational Therapists use therapeutic techniques (advising on equipment and environmental adaptations where appropriate) to improve a child’s ability to access the physical and learning curriculum.

Outreach Services

Support services provided to schools or pupils by specialist professionals: for example, providing support for communication or behaviour difficulties.


A doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Panel Meetings

The Local Authority has a group of professionals who meet together to look at how children’s needs are being met and to be sure that resources are used fairly.

Parent Partnership Service (PPS)

Provides support and information to parents/carers whose children have Additional Learning Needs.


‘Person Centred Planning’.


A specialist who works with children who have movement difficulties. They can advise parents on suitable exercises for their children.


‘Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties’ – in addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care.

Portage Worker

An experienced Early Years worker, employed by the Local Authority to work with children 0-3 years with significant additional needs and their parents. They work in the home and provide programmes to improve the development of young children, keeping in touch with other professionals.

Pre-School Liaison Teacher

a teacher with specialist knowledge and experience in Additional Learning Needs in Early Years, employed by the Local Authority to provide advice and support to Foundation Stage staff in settings on the inclusion of children with ALN. They help schools to plan the move into a Reception class for these children.

Proposed Statement

This is a draft Statement, offering parents 15 working days to comment or request adjustments before the Final Statement is issued.

Provision Map

A map of support showing what the school/Local Authority is providing for their SEN pupils, so parents can better understand what support is on offer, when and where from.


‘Personal Social Health Education’.


A Pastoral Support Plan (PSP) is a school-based intervention that is designed to support children and young people with health care needs and/or who may be anxious and phobic and/or who may be at risk of becoming disaffected through repeated fixed-term exclusion or permanent exclusion. A PSP is designed to be a short term intervention tool which is reviewed regularly.


A doctor who helps people who have difficulties with the way they feel and behave. Child Psychiatrists specialise in helping children.

Published Admission Number

Refers to the number the school can admit to the relevant age group in any one year.

Pupil Referral Unit

Provides education for excluded pupils or others who may be out of school for a variety of reasons.

Pupil Support Officer (PSO)

Offers specialist support to parents and schools on pupil welfare and attendance. They work with other agencies to promote attendance and welfare. They have responsibility for ensuring attendance in school of children of statutory school age.

Resource Base

A specialist provision for children with ALN attached to a mainstream primary or secondary school.

School Action

When a class or subject teacher, working with the ALNCo, identifies that a child has Additional Learning Needs that require advice and/or support from outside agencies, they take action by giving help that is additional to, or different from, the help most other children have.


‘Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning’.


‘Special Educational Needs’ (now referred to as ALN – Additional Learning Needs). A child is said to have a special educational need if he/she has learning difficulties that need special educational provision.

SEN Co-ordinator (SENCo)

(Now referred to as an Additional Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo). A member of staff of a school or early education setting, who has responsibility for co-ordinating Additional Learning Needs (ALN) provision within that school.

SEN Code of Practice

A Guide for parents, schools and LAs about the help they can give to children with Additional Learning Needs. Schools, Local Authorities and Children’s Social Services must have regard to the Code (i.e. they must not ignore it) when they work with a child with Additional Learning Needs.

Sensory Support Service / Sensory Impaired Team

a team of experienced qualified teaching and non-teaching staff who provide skilled support for children who have hearing, vision and multi needs sensory impairment including deaf/blind. Teaching staff offer a wide range of skills to teach and support children and families from the time of diagnosis in the critical early years and throughout school life.


Sensory Impairment

Single Service Referral

This form is completed when a child has one clearly identified need which can be met by one service.


Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties’ – pupils may have difficulties with expressive, language or receptive language and or processing difficulties.


‘Severe Learning Difficulties’ – pupils with severe learning difficulties have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and learning self-help skills. Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum.


‘Speech and Language Therapist’ – they help children who have speech, language and communication difficulties.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Wales (SENTW)

An independent body within the Tribunal Service that hears appeals by parents against Additional Learning Needs decisions on assessments and Statements. From September 2002, parents have become able to lodge an appeal against a school if there is an issue around fixed term exclusions, or if the child’s parent/carer feels their child has been discriminated against because of their disability. The Tribunal’s decision is binding on both parties to the appeal.

Special School

A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with Additional Learning Needs and Statements whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream school.


‘Specific Learning Difficulties’ in a particular area of the curriculum.

Statement of Special Educational Needs

A legal document that sets out a child’s Additional Learning Needs and all the extra help he or she must receive.

Statutory Assessment

Statutory Assessment is a formal procedure, governed by law (1996 Education Act) which involves the collection of detailed assessments of a child’s Additional Learning Needs. Assessment works best when all involved (parents, school staff, health and social services, psychologists and other Local Authority staff), work in partnership to secure the best outcome for the child.


Team Around the Family (TAF) is a way of working which brings a wide range of professional together to work with a family in order to help them address the breadth of challenges they are facing.

Teaching Assistant/Learning Support Assistant/General Assistant (TA/LSA/GA)

A person employed in school to support children’s learning under the direction of a class teacher.

Transition Plan

A plan devised at the time of a Transition from one key stage to another


(see Resource Base). Also known as Pupil Referral Unit, Learning Resource Centre, LRC.


‘Visual Impairment’ – a range of difficulties from partial sight through to blindness.

Local Support in West Wales

Parent Partnership Services provide support and advice to parents whose children have Additional Learning Needs. Information and advice is provided by a dedicated team who provide accurate and neutral information.