Unfamiliar terms and words often appear in reports on assessments and in conversations with professionals. Parents may be unsure of their meaning and the implications they have for their child – here are some of the words/phrases you may encounter.

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There are 7 names in this directory beginning with the letter S.
School Action and School Action Plus
These are now outdated terms with the new SEND reforms coming into place from September 2014. These were categories for support for children with SEND within schools at levels before a statement was issued. See School based support for new definitions.

School based support
School based SEN Support will replace the categories School Action and School Action Plus as the new school-based category for additional support for children with SEN. The new code of practice states that SEN provision goes beyond the differentiated approaches and learning arrangements normally provided as part of high-quality personalised teaching and therefore expects the use of appropriate evidence-based interventions. SEN support in schools should now be based on four types of action: plan, assess, do and review. If there are concerns about a child’s progress, then information should be gathered by the teacher and SENCO. This information gathering should include high quality and accurate formative assessment and should also include an early discussion with the pupil and their parents. These discussions should provide a good understand-ing of the pupil’s areas of strengths and difficulties, the parents concerns, the agreed outcomes sought for the child and the next steps. This information should then be kept readily available to and able to be discussed with the pupil’s parents. Parents should be fully aware of the planned support and interventions. Parents are entitled to three meetings with staff per year regarding their child in addition to standard parent/teacher meetings available to all. There is however no specification around when these meetings should be. Should support from specialist services be required, it is important that children and young people receive it as quickly as possible and accessing this therefore should be the priority. The support which is available from different services, how it is delivered and how it may be accessed is available here on the Local Offer website.

SEN Support
SEN Support will replace School Action and School Action Plus for children with SEN in mainstream schools. Schools will still be required to identify children who need additional support and involve parent carers and children and young people in planning how to meet these needs and call on specialists from outside the school when they need to. Schools must use their ‘best endeavours’ to identify and meet children’s special educational needs.

SEND Code of Practice
A guide to tell everybody involved in supporting children and young people with SEND what the law says they have to do. This guide is called the SEND Code of Practice. It sets out clearly what local authorities and educational institutions should and must do. Should means they have to follow this guidance unless they have good reasons not to.

Sensory Plan
This is a document which is used in some areas by Sensory Service teachers/Teachers of the Deaf. It is created by them, in consultation with school teachers and parents. The document is then copied and distributed to school and parents for reference. It covers a brief relevant history, equipment/daily management issues, emergency situations and procedures, comments from all contributors (including the child if appropriate), and details any actions necessary eg the setting up of transition visits to other classes, when the next review will be etc. The sensory plan also outlines the commitments which everyone involved with the child agrees to do adhere to. Here it is detailed what the setting will provide, what the teacher of the deaf will provide in terms of direct teaching/assessments/pre and post tutoring/teaching tools or resources and what can be expected from the parents and child as part of the agreement.

Special Educational Needs
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Statement (Statement of Special Education Needs)
Statements of special educational needs say what your child’s needs are to access education in a manner appropriate to them as an individual and the legal obligation the local authority has in meeting them. Statements are reviewed every year at an ‘Annual review’ where parents are invited to attend a meeting with school staff and other professionals involved to discuss the child’s progress over the past year. At the Annual review it will be discussed whether the statement still meets the child’s needs – whether it should stay the same, be amended or removed. You must be consulted before a statement can be changed by the council. You can appeal to the special educational needs and disability tribunal if you disagree with a change. Statements cannot be applied for after the 31st August 2014 as they will be replaced by Education Health Care Plans (EHCP’s) however existing statements will remain legal and valid until they are formally switched over to EHCP’s. The transition/switch over will happen over three years so not all children/young people will automatically get one from September 2014, it will be a gradual process which will take place in reference with the Local Authority’s transitional policy.

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