Glossary

Active listening: Focusing entirely on what the child is saying understanding the emotions and feelings underlying the message

Alternative provision:  For children of compulsory school age who do not attend mainstream or special schools

Amphetamines:  A group of amphetamine-type stimulants that includes amphetamine and methamphetamine

Annual review: The review of an EHC plan which the Local Authority must make as a minimum every 12 months.

Care pathway: The route a person takes through healthcare services

Child Protection Plan: A plan drawn up by social care services to protect a child who they feel is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm

Children in need: A child within social care services who doesn’t meet the threshold for being ‘looked-after’ but is receiving intervention from social care services.

Cognitive behavioural therapy: A range of behavioural and cognitive behavioural therapies to achieve specific treatment goals

“Crack” cocaine:  Cocaine base obtained from cocaine hydrochloride through conversion processes to make it suitable for smoking.

Cocaine salt: Cocaine hydrochloride.

Dependence: Occurs when the body adapts to prolonged use of a drug and where the person experiences withdrawal in it absence.

Depression: Where an individual usually suffers from depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy leading to increased fatigability and diminished activity

Designated Teachers: Champions the educational attainment of looked-after and permanently placed children

Diabetes Mellitus: A metabolic disease where the body is not able to regulate blood sugar levels due to an inability to produce insulin

Diagnosis: The process of identifying an illness by carrying out tests or by studying the symptoms

Dual Diagnosis: Co-existence of two illnesses or conditions

Dysphoria:  An emotional state characterised by malaise, anxiety, depression or unease

Dysthymia: A chronic depression of mood

Effectiveness: The extent to which a specific intervention does what it is intended to do

Early Years Foundation Stage: The framework for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years.

Education Health and Care Plan: Details the education, health and social care support that is to be provided to a child with SEN and/or disabilities

Epilepsies: Convulsive attacks due to disordered electrical activity in the brain

Exogenous Stressors: Stress which derives from outside the body such as life-event stress.

Family Therapy:  Sessions based on systemic, cognitive behavioural or psychoanalytic principles

Graduated Response:  A model of action and intervention to support children who have SEN

Healthy Child Programme: Supports pregnancy and the first five years of a child’s life, focussing on universal preventative service with screening, immunisation, health and development reviews

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment: Information, advice and support services for children and caregivers with SEN or disabilities

Local Authority: Leading integration arrangements for children with SEND

Local Offer: Local Authority information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children in their area who have SEND

Maintained School: Schools which  are maintained by a Local Authority

Methodology: Describes how research is carried out, including how information is collected and analysed, and why a particular method or methods have been chosen

Mild Depression: Four depressive symptoms as defined by the ICD-10

Moderate Depression: Five or six depressive symptoms as defined by the ICD-10

National Curriculum: Statutory entitlement to learning for all children from 5-16 years

NHS England: An independent body,  to improve health outcomes for people in England

Official Exclusions: These are recorded with central or local government and include temporary fixed period exclusions or permanent exclusions

Ofsted: Responsible for the inspection of all schools in England

Opioids:  A generic term applied to alkaloids from opium poppy (opiates), their synthetic analogues

(mainly prescription or pharmaceutical opioids) and compounds synthesised in the body

Prevalence: How common a type of exceptionality is within a population, either at a point in time or over a given period of time

Prognosis: The medical assessment of the future course of events and probable outcome of an illness

Pupil Referral Unit: Provides education for children who would otherwise not receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason

Reliability: The ability to get the same or similar result each time a study is repeated with a different population or group

Schizophrenia: A severe mental health disorder which is characterised by a loss of reality

Severe Mental Illness: Refers to those with psychological problems that are so debilitating that their ability to engage and function is severely challenged

Special Educational Needs: A child has an SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made

Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO): A qualified teacher in a school or maintained nursery school who has responsibility for coordinating SEN provision

SEN Support: Extra or different support that is provided in addition to the school’s usual curriculum

Severe Depression: Seven or more depressive symptoms as defined by the ICD-10.

Social Care: All forms of personal care and other practical assistance for children who need extra support

Special Educational Provision: Provision that is different from or additional to that normally available to children with SEN to enable them to access and participate in learning

Specialist School: A school which is specifically organised to make special educational provision for children with SEN

Stakeholder: An organisation/individual with an interest in a topic, including public sector providers and commissioners of care or services

Statutory Duty: A legal duty that must be complied with

Unofficial Exclusions:  These are not recorded as exclusions in the national data and include managed moves to a different school; a move into some form of alternative provision offsite; or illegal exclusions

Young Person: A person over compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which they turn 16 to the age of 25

Watchful Waiting: An intervention in which no active treatment is offered


Martin-Denham, S. and Watts, S. (2019) SENCO Handbook: Leading provision and Practice.  London: Sage Publishers.

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