This is one of a series of information resources made available to services providing information advice and support under the SEND Code of Practice.
The information resources are intended to offer an introduction to parts of the SEND Code of Practice and to complement the DfE Parents’ Guide.
Members of the NPPN may adapt this information resource for local use. The information resources can be used for the production of web-based information and materials, leaflets and other types of information.
Each information resource includes opportunities to insert information and links to local services, policies, documents and other relevant sources of information, advice and support.
From A - E
Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU)
The AWPU is the amount of money that every maintained school receives for each pupil that is on the school roll, whether or not they have SEN. The value of the AWPU varies from one local authority to another and according to the age of the pupils. For primary age pupils the minimum is £2000 per year. For pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4 the minimum is £3000 per year.
Under the Education Act 1996 local authorities had to carry out a review of every Statement of Special Educational Need at least once every 12 months.
Under the Children and Families Act 2014 local authorities must carry out a review of every EHC plan at least once every 12 months.
Children and Families Act 2014
This law came into force on 1st September 2014. Part 3 of the Act sets out the new law on special educational needs and disability. The Act is supported by the SEND Regulations 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 Years. You can download a copy of the Act at
Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
CCGs are groups of professionals that work together to commission health services, ensuring there is sufficient capacity contracted to deliver the necessary services to people.
A payment made directly to a parent or young person to purchase specific services. Under the Children and Families Act 2014 a Direct Payment may be made as part of a Personal Budget so that the parent or young person can buy certain services that are specified in their EHC plan.
Direct payments can only be used for provision provided on the school or college premises if the school or college agree.
Local authorities must provide independent disagreement resolution to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities, schools and other settings about SEND duties and provision.
You can find more information on disagreement resolution in the SEND Code of Practice 11.6 to 11.10.
Early Years Action / Action Plus
This describes the additional or different support for children with SEN given by early years settings under the previous (2001) SEN Code of Practice. This support was for children with SEN who did not have a Statement of Special Educational Need.
Education Act 1996
Part IV of the Education Act 1996 was the legal framework for SEN. Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 now replaces this legislation. However there is a transition period until 2018. This means, for example, that Statements of Special Educational Need that were in place before 1st September 2014 will continue to have legal force until the child or young person transfers to an EHC plan.
Education Funding Agency (EFA)
The EFA is the government agency that funds education for learners between the ages of 3 and 19, and those with learning difficulties and disabilities between the ages of 3 and 25.
The EFA allocates funds to local authorities, which then provide the funding for maintained schools. The EFA directly funds academies and free schools.
EHC Needs Assessment
Local authorities must carry out an EHC needs assessment if a child or young person may need an EHC plan. The assessment is a detailed look at the special educational needs that the child or young person has and what help he or she may need in order to learn.
It is sometimes called a statutory assessment.
You can find out more in the SEND Code of Practice sections 9.45 – 9.52.
Education Health and Care plan (EHC plan)
An EHC plan describes the special educational needs that a child or young person has and the help that they will be given to meet them. It also includes the health and care provision that is needed. It is a legal document written by the local authority and is used for children and young people who have high support needs.
From F - L
First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability)
The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is a legal body. The Tribunal hears appeals from parents of children with SEN, and young people with SEN, about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. You can find out more at https://www.gov.uk/special-educational-needs-disability-tribunal/overview
The SEND Code of Practice says that schools should follow a graduated approach when providing SEN Support. This is based on a cycle of:
You can find out more about the graduated approach in the SEND code of Practice sections 6.44 to 6.56.
A person recruited by a voluntary or community sector organisation to help families going through an EHC needs assessment and the process of developing an EHC plan. This person is independent of the local authority and will receive training, including legal training, to enable him or her to provide this support.
Someone who provides children, young people and parents with a single point of contact to help make sure the support they receive is co-ordinated. A keyworker could be provided directly by a local authority or local health organisation, a school or college, or from a voluntary or private sector body.
Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)
Learning Difficulty Assessments set out what additional learning support a young person needed when continuing their education into some form of post-16 education or training.
From 1September 2014 Learning Difficulty Assessments will be replaced by EHC plans. Local authorities must transfer young people who already have provision as a result of an LDA to the new SEND system by 1 September 2016 if they are staying in further education or training after that date.
Local authorities are administrative offices that provide services within their local areas. There are 152 across England which are education authorities. For more information about local government, see
The Local Offer, published by every local authority, tells you what support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, and their families. It includes information about education, health and care provision. It also gives information about training, employment and independent living for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Local transition plan
Every local authority must publish a plan that explains when and how Statements of Special Educational Need will be transferred to the new system, as well as information for young people in further education and training who receive support as a result of a Learning Difficulties Assessment.
From M - R
This is a school that provides education for all children, whether or not they have special educational needs or disabilities.
Mediation is a type of disagreement resolution. Every local authority must provide independent mediation to help parents and young people resolve disputes with local authorities about:
- a decision not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
- a decision not to draw up an EHC plan
- the content of a final EHC plan or amended plan
- a decision not to amend an EHC plan
- a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan.
Mediation must also be provided on the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.
You can find more information on mediation in the SEND Code of Practice 11.13 to 11.38.
The purpose of mediation advice is to give information about what mediation involves. Parents or young people who wish to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) must first seek mediation advice. The advice must be factual and unbiased. After mediation advice has been given the parent or young person can choose whether they wish to go to mediation.
However it is not necessary to seek mediation advice if the appeal is only about the name of the school, or college named on the plan, the type of provision specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named.
You can find more information on mediation advice in the SEND Code of Practice 11.21 to 11.25.
The SEND Code of Practice says in Section i of the Introduction:
…where the text uses the word ‘must’ it refers to a statutory requirement under primary legislation, regulations or case law.
This means that wherever the term ‘must’ is used all the organisations listed in Section iv of the Introduction to the Code have a legal duty to do what the Code says.
Section 9.66 of the SEND Code of Practice says:
An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention. It should be personal and not expressed from a service perspective; it should be something that those involved have control and influence over, and while it does not always have to be formal or accredited, it should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART). When an outcome is focused on education or training, it will describe what the expected benefit will be to the individual as a result of the educational or training intervention provided.
Parent Carer Forum
A Parent Carer Forum is a representative local group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families. They have been established in most local authority areas. For more information please visit:
A Personal Budget is money set aside to fund support as part of an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from Education, Health and Social Care.
Parents of children with an EHC plan and young people with an EHC plan can choose whether or not they wish to have a Personal Budget.
Reasonable adjustments are changes schools and other settings are required to make which could include: changes to physical features – for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom or providing extra support and aids (such as specialist teachers or equipment).
From S - T
School Action/Action Plus
This describes the additional or different support for children with SEN given by schools under the previous (2001) SEN Code of Practice. This support was for children with SEN who did not have a Statement of Special Educational Need.
Every local authority has a Schools Forum. It made up of representatives from schools and academies, and some representation from other bodies, such as nursery and 14-19
The role of the Schools Forum includes looking at the local formula used to fund schools and SEN provision.
Section 139A Learning Difficulty Assessment
See Learning Difficulty Assessment
SEND Code of Practice
This is the statutory guidance that supports Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
It tells local authorities, early years settings, schools, colleges, heath and social care providers and others what they must and should do to identify, assess and provide for children and young people with SEN or disabilities.
You can download a full copy of the Code at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25
You can download a shorter version for parents at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-guide-for-parents-and-carers
SEN Information Report
All schools must publish on their websites information about their policy and arrangements for supporting children with SEN. This must be kept up to date.
The information that has to be included can be found in Section 6.79 of the SEND Code of Practice
SEN support includes any help for children and young people with SEN that is additional to or different from the support generally made for other children of the same age.
The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them by the school. Schools should involve parents in this process.
SEN support replaces Early Years Action/Action Plus and School Action/Action Plus.
See First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability)
SEND Pathfinders were set up in 2011 to test out the reforms the Government were proposing to introduce as part of the Children and Families Act 2014.
You can find more information about the SEND Pathfinders at http://www.sendpathfinder.co.uk
Should is a word that occurs frequently in the SEND Code of Practice.
Section i of the Introduction to the Code says:
… where the text uses the word ‘should’ it means that the guidance contained in this Code must be considered and that those who must have regard to it will be expected to explain any departure from it.
This means that wherever the term ‘should is used all the organisations listed in Section iv of the Introduction to the Code must consider what the Code says. However they may depart from it.
Sometimes a service that provides information, advice and support may be asked for help that it is not able to give directly.
When this happens the person seeking information, advice or support may signposted to other service providers. This means that they will be given information, including contact details, about other sources of help.
Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
A SENCO is a qualified teacher in a school or maintained nursery school who has responsibility for co-ordinating SEN provision.
Early years settings that are part of group provision arrangements are expected to identify an individual to perform the role of SENCO.
Statement of Special Educational Need
Under the Education Act 1996 local authorities issued Statements of Special Educational Need for children whose needs could not be met through the provision normally made by schools.
The Children and Families Act 2014 replaces Statements with EHC plans.
Children and young people who already have a Statement will gradually transfer to the new system. Each council publishes a local transition plan to explain how this will happen.
Statutory guidance is guidance that local authorities and other local bodies have a legal duty to follow.
A transfer review replaces the annual review in the academic year that the child or young person transfers to the new SEND system.
A transfer review involves an EHC needs assessment to
decide what outcomes and provision need to be included in the EHC plan. This should include education, health and social care needs.
You, your child or the young person must be invited to a meeting as part of the transfer review.
A transfer review ends when the local authority sends you (or the young person) a copy of the EHC plan, or when it informs you (or the young person) that an EHC plan will not be issued.
Each council publishes a local transition plan to explain how and when transfer reviews for children and young people with Statements of Special Educational Need will happen.