Terminology Guide

Page updated on: 17/03/2022

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.

Advisory Teacher

A teacher who works for the Local Authority who has specialist knowledge about a particular type of additional learning need. 


Additional Learning Needs - A learner has additional learning needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for additional learning provision.


Additional Learning Provision - support for children and young people which is additional to what is available to all to help them with their specific need. 

Additional Learning 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.


An appeal is when you tell a tribunal (SENTW) that you do not agree with the choices your Local Authority have made about the learner's education. This could be about the help at school or the school the learner attends.


Autistic Spectrum Disorder/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

Careers Wales is a service for all 13-19 year olds to help them prepare for the transition to work and adult life.

Code of Practice 

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.

Compulsory School Age

5 - 16: The age at which children must be in full-time education. 

Core Assessment

If needed a Core Assessment 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.


Disability Discrimination Act - the Act which aims to end the discrimination against disabled people. 

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.

Designated Education Clinical Lead Officer (DECLO)

An officer in the Local Health Board who is responsible for coordinating in relation to children and young people with additional learning needs. 

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 Additional Learning Needs Lead Officer (EYALNLO)

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 staff in settings on the inclusion of children with ALN. They help schools to plan the move into a Reception class for these children.

Early Years Settings

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

Education Tribunal Wales (ETW)

The Education Tribunal Wales hears and makes decisions on appeals about additional learning needs and claims of disability discrimination in education settings. 

Educational and Child Psychologist (Ed Psych) (ECP)

Have a first degree in Psychology and a post-graduate qualification in Educational Psychology. They offer specialist advice and support to children, young people, schools, parents and other agencies. 


Emotional Literacy Support Assistant - An assistant with specialist knowledge to support children and young people with their social and emotional development. 


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.


Family Liaison Officer - Family liaison officers provide accurate and impartial information on a range of options available to parents and carers.  They do not ‘take sides’.  They help families to make informed decisions about the learner's education.

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

Flying Start is a Welsh Government programme for families with children who are 0 -3 years of age.


Health Care Plan - A support plan for a child or young person with health needs. 

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 - All children and young people with an identified need that require an additional learning provision will have a mandatory Individual Development Plan.


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

Inclusion 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.


Information Technology (sometimes called information and communication technology)


Local Authority

Learning Difficulties

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

Learning Support Assistant (LSA)

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

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.


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 the child/young person.


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 and young people have the opportunity to learn/receive information using all of their senses.

National Curriculum

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

Occupational Therapist (OT)

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

One Page Profile (OPP)

A One Page Profile is a page full of positive information about a child or young person which enables people to get to know the person, the things that are important to them and how best to support them. 


A doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Parent Partnership Service (PPS)

Our Parent Partnership Service 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 children and young people.


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

Provision Map

A map of support showing what the school is providing for their ALN learners, so families can better understand what support is on offer, when and where from.


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.

Pupil Referral Unit

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

Sensory Impairment Service

A team of experienced qualified 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, young people and families from the time of diagnosis in the critical early years and throughout school life.


Sensory Impairment


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.


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


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


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

Education & Schools