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Glossary of Terms

ABC: Antecedent Behaviour Consequence Log

This is a way of recording a pupil's behaviour. It enables the person completing the log to look for patterns in triggers (also known as antecedents) and acknowledge consequences that are effective. An ABC Log can then be used to create a proactive behaviour drill or behaviour plan.

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is also referred to as 'Hyperkinetic Disorder' or 'ADD' (Attention Deficit Disorder). It is a medical category, often caused by environmental or genetic factors that result in certain neurological differences. ADHD is often characterised by poor concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsiveness which are considered inappropriate for the child's age. It can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. (National Strategy, 2010)

AS: Asperger's Syndrome

A diagnostic category for a pupil of average or above average intelligence with autism who is not delayed in learning to speak. It can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. (National Strategy, 2010)

ASC: Autistic Spectrum Condition (previously known as ASD: Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

The term given to cover a range of subgroups including autism, Asperger syndrome, atypical autism, classic autism and high functioning autism. It can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. (National Strategy, 2010)


For healthy social and emotional development, it is crucial for a baby to form a healthy attachment to his or her loving and dependable mother or to a parent or substitute carer(s), who provides for their physical and emotional needs unconditionally. Where secure attachments have not formed, BESD commonly develop. However, professionals working with children can offset some of this early damage, e.g. through providing close and supportive relationships or through specialist approaches such as 'nurture groups' (see below). (National Strategy, 2010)

BESD: Behaviour, Emotional and Social Development

Pupils identified as having BESD difficulties may show evidence of emotional instability or disturbed behaviour that is significantly different from that of their peers. They may have difficulty acquiring and applying basic social skills and life skills, be hyperactive and have difficulty concentrating and applying their learning. They may appear withdrawn or isolated, be disruptive and disturbing and may also have low self-esteem. They may present a range of challenging needs arising from other complex special needs and may require some form of help or counselling. The impact of their behaviour may affect their academic achievement. (SCC, 2005)

BESD Schools

As part of their range of provision, your local authority should maintain its own school(s) for pupils with BESD or share in providing one or have access to places in special schools provided by other local authorities, voluntary or independent bodies. The government's 2008 BESD guidance recognises that a minority of pupils with BESD will benefit from attending provision with boarding facilities attached. The practice of maintaining pupils with BESD in PRUs for long periods is condemned by the government. (National Strategy, 2010)

BS: Behaviour Support


CAF: Common Assessment Framework

Children's and health services must use the Common Assessment Framework to assess and provide for children whose complex needs require coordinated multi-agency interventions. A Pre-Assessment and full Assessment form are used in this process and a Lead Professional appointed. (National Strategy, 2010)

CAMHS: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services - the umbrella term that covers universal, targeted and specialist individual mental health services. Promoting CAMHS is every professional's responsibility but 'CAMHS' is often associated with specialist national health service workers such as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, specialist mental health nursing professionals, counsellors or therapists. In most cases CAMHS are offered in the community and accessed through General Practitioners. (National Strategy, 2010)

CD: Conduct Disorder

A term and medical category whose meaning overlaps considerably with 'BESD' - commonly used by mental health professionals. (National Strategy, 2010)

CoP: Code of Practice

Schools have to 'have regard to', i.e. follow the 2001 SEN Code of Practice and the 'graduated approach' it describes. (National Strategy, 2010) The Code of Practice sets out statutory guidance on policies and procedures for providing appropriately for pupils with SEN. (TDA, 2007)


Responding to an individual's particular requirements to allow the pupil to access the curriculum effectively, without allowing this to legitimate having low expectations of the pupil. Sometimes descibed as 'personalised learning', see below. (National Strategy, 2010)

EBD: Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

'Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties' - the phrase used instead of 'BESD' by the government in the 1980s and 1990s. 'EBD' stands for 'emotional and behavioural disorders' in the US. (National Strategy, 2010)

ECM: Every Child Matters

The influential government 'Every Child Matters' (ECM) green paper (2003) preceded the unifying of education and children's social work into local authority Children's Services or Children's Trusts. ECM identified the five outcomes that are most important to children and young people:
  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well-being
The five outcomes are universal ambitions for every child and young person, whatever their background or circumstances. For children with complex needs they require skilled adults from different professions to work closely together. (National Strategy, 2010)

EP: Educational Psychologist


EWO: Education Welfare Officer

EWO's provide direct support to schools, parents and young people in providing services on behalf of the Local Education Authority and deal with non-attendance (Truancy), Child Protection, Child Employment and supporting children who have been excluded (Exclusion) or have emotional, behavioural difficulties. The aim of Education Welfare is for every child to have an equal opportunity to access educational provision and to ensure that parents meet their parental responsibilities under various Education Acts. (SCC, 2010)

FTE: Fixed Term Exclusion

This is used where a Headteacher requires a pupil to remain out of school for a period but with a date fixed for the exclusion to end and the pupil to return to school. A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods, provided they do not exceed a total of 45 days in any one academic year. (SCC, 2010)

HSLW: Home School Link Workers

The effectiveness of home-school links in fostering better individual achievement and behaviour in school, particularly for those children who are more at risk than their peers, has been well documented. Many schools have found the appointment of a coordinator or specialist workers to set up and run programmes to develop home-school links extremely valuable. (National Strategy, 2010)

IEP: Individual Education Plan

An Individual Education Plan is a plan that sets out targets and strategies to help meet your child's special educational needs at school. The plan will record the help your child is receiving that is additional to, or different from, the provision for all pupils at your child's school. It will include a date for a review to see what progress your child has made and you will be asked to meet with the SENCO or your child's form teacher twice a year to discuss your child's progress. The plan should set out the specific programmes for your child, identifying the activities, materials and equipment to be used, the frequency of the support and the staff involved. The school may ask you to work with your child and to help him or her at home. Your support and encouragement are vital. (SCC, 2010)

LD: Learning Difficulties

The 'umbrella' term used to denote a range of barriers to learning, including sensory, cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. The most common form is 'moderate learning difficulties' (MLD). Quite commonly these are associated with BESD. 'Severe learning difficulties' is the term that came to replace 'mentally handicapped' in the 1980s. (National Strategy, 2010)

LLS: Learning and Language Support


LSA: Learning Support Assistant

LSAs/TAs provide valuable in-class support for children. (National Strategy, 2010)

MLD: Moderate Learning Difficulties

See learning difficulties above - commonly associated with difficulties in literacy and numeracy. (National Strategy, 2010)

Nurture Groups

These are small supportive and nurturing classes for vulnerable children (including those with BESD) usually though not exclusively set in primary schools. Generously staffed, they seek to repair damaged attachments through carefully addressing social, emotional and physical needs (e.g. sharing food) as well as educational ones. Typically a pupil would attend a nurture group for two to four terms before full-time re-inclusion in a mainstream class. (National Strategy, 2010)

ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder

This term overlaps substantially with the term 'BESD'. Where children display behavioural difficulties such as stubbornness, outbursts of temper and acts of defiance and rule breaking, they might be assessed by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists or other health professionals as having 'ODD'. (National Strategy, 2010)

OT: Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists carry out functional assessments and arrange for provision of assistive equipment or alternatives to home/school environment for safety and independence. (SCC, 2010)

PEX: Permanent Exclusion

This is used where a Headteacher decides a pupil must be excluded and not allowed to return to the school. (SCC, 2010)

Personalised Learning

The government requires that teaching and learning should be 'personalised', i.e. involving the pupil in setting his or her own targets and matching teaching to the pupil's interests, preferred modes of learning, building on his or her strengths and addressing needs of particular relevance. See also 'Differentiation'. (National Strategy, 2010)

Provision Mapping

'Provision mapping' helps to ensure that appropriate additional support is brought to pupils with SEN, particularly in mainstream schools. It is a strategic overview of SEN provision that results in an easy-to-view table that summarises which resources are deployed in support of which pupil with SENs and how teachers are to be helped. (National Strategy, 2010)

PRU: Pupil Referral Unit

PRUs are a type of school designed to help pupils who are at risk of or who have been permanently excluded from schools. They also support pupils with other needs (e.g. pregnant school girls or those with severe mental health difficulties). They are not meant to provide long-term provision for pupils with BESD. In practice many pupils attending PRUs have severe BESD. (National Strategy, 2010)

PSP: Pastoral Support Programme

When a pupil's behaviour is deteriorating and there is a risk of school exclusion, a school must draw up a PSP. This is a time-limited, school-based and coordinated intervention that seeks to improve the pupil's BESD and thus avoid the need for exclusion. (National Strategy, 2010)

PSSS: Physical and Sensory Support Service

PSSS use specialist knowledge to support pre-school and school age children and young people with physical, hearing or visual impairment throughout their education. PSSS also provide support for parents or carers, and teachers and education support staff. (SCC, 2010)

PwP: Partnership with Parents

The service provides information, advice and support to parents of children with SEN at all stages of their child's school life, from pre-school early diagnosis through to school-leaving at 16 or 19 and for those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to age 25. (SCC, 2010)


See 'restrictive physical interventions'.

Restrictive Physical Intervention

Particularly in relation to pupils with BESD, it is crucial that you are familiar with your school's policy on physical restraint. Risk assessments should have been made and clear procedures should be in place for, e.g. what will happen if a pupil with BESD has to be forcibly removed from class. How do you call assistance? Who will do the removal? What are the limits to your involvement? When do you need to remove the other pupils from the class, etc.? This complex and potentially dangerous area is covered in government guidance on restrictive physical intervention. (National Strategy, 2010)

SA: School Action

Pupils who have special educational needs can be supported at the 'school action' level of support. This means the school might provide extra or different help, using the resources available in the school. (TDA, 2007)

SALT: Speech and Language Therapy

A therapist assesses an individual's ability to communicate and their speech and language skills and devises programmes to develop these. (National Strategy, 2010)

SAP: School Action Plus

If a pupil does not make enough progress through 'school action', the school might ask for help or advice from professionals who work for the County Council and visit Surrey schools, for example specialist teachers and educational psychologists. (TDA, 2007)

SCC: Surrey County Council

The Local Authority. See website for further information.

SDQ: Strengths and Difficulties Questionniare

If employed cautiously, the Goodman's Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a useful and simple assessment tool that can indicate and monitor a pupil's BESD. The main SDQ and its variants are downloadable from the internet, without charge. (National Strategy, 2010)

SEAL: Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

SEAL is a government programme which aims to enhance understanding of the importance of the social and emotional aspects of learning. It seeks to develop the social, emotional and behavioural skills of pupils. As well as being delivered in dedicated lessons, SEAL should permeate the teaching of discrete subjects. (National Strategy, 2010)

SEN: Special Educational Needs

A term used to describe the educational needs of some pupils - perhaps one in five children - that requires different or additional support to that required by other pupils of the same age. The phrase 'additional needs' is sometimes used instead. (National Strategy, 2010)

SENCo: Special Educational Needs Coordinator

All schools must have a special educational needs coordinator, whose role is to coordinate the provision of support for children with special educational needs. The SENCO should be a teacher who is a member of the school leadership team. (National Strategy, 2010)

SLCN: Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Having SLCN denotes that a pupil has difficulties in processing and understanding what other people say to him/her or communicate to them by non-verbal means. It also denotes the difficulties a pupil can have in communicating through speech or other means to other people. (National Strategy, 2010)

SNA: Special Needs Assistant

See LSA.


This is a checklist that is useful to highlight the main areas of difficulty the child has as perceived by teachers working with the child. It must be remembered however that these are judgments and as such are subjective indicators. (SCC, 2005)

SSS: Short Stay School

See PRU.


If a pupil needs a lot of additional help as a result of quite severe and complex needs, then they might be given what is called a 'statement of special educational needs'. A statement is a legal document that sets out formally a pupil's needs and describes the special arrangements that should be in place to help them with learning. Only a small minority of pupils will require a statement. (TDA, 2007) STEPS: Specialist Teaching and Educational Psychology Service
  • Surrey County Council has specialist teachers for Behaviour. Behaviour Support seek to support pupils with BESD or those at risk of exclusion or being re-integrated into mainstream schools and the staff who will be working with these pupils.
  • Surrey County Council also has specialist teachers for Learning and Language. Learning and Language Support seek to support pupils with learning or language difficulties. They may carry out assessments and will support staff who will be working with these pupils.
  • Educational Psychologists promote child development and learning mainly with children and young people, aged 0-19 years, through the application of psychology - the scientific study of the mind, human behaviour and relationships. Their work can be wide ranging with the aim of enhancing children's learning. They work in partnership with individuals, groups of children, teachers, other adults in school and EYFS settings and parents, carers and families. This can be at individual, systemic or organisational level. They also work in partnership with other members of Children's Services. (National Strategy, 2010)

TA: Teaching Assistant

See LSA.

YJB: Youth Justice Board

The Youth Justice Board oversees the justice system for children and young people, including the provision of YOTs. (National Strategy, 2010)

YOT: Youth Offending Team

Youth Offending Teams are part of the Youth Justice System and their workers oversee and support young people who have committed criminal offences. (National Strategy, 2010)


National Strategies (2010) Inclusion Development Programme - Behaviour Emotional and Social Difficulties, Glossary. Available at weblink accessed 22.03.10.

Surrey County Council (2010) Special Educational Needs Policy and Practice in Surrey. Available at weblink accessed 22.03.10.

Surrey County Council (2005) Special Educational Needs: A Graduated Response. Available at weblink accessed 22.03.10.

TDA (2007) Inclusion: Primary Induction. Training and Development Agency for Schools.
Paediatrics Link to the CAMHS website Education Parent representative Primary care Youth Justice