This glossary is taken from the back of our Parents’ guide to additional support for learning


Action plan
An action plan is a structured plan that sets out timescales, responsibilities and the support/services required to meet the additional support needs of children and young people.
Additional support needs
This is the legal definition of additional support needs from the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. A child or young person has additional support needs for the purposes of the Act where, for whatever reason, the child or young person is, or is likely to be, unable without the provision of additional support to benefit from school
education provided or to be provided for the child or young person.In this Act, “additional support” means:

  • in relation to a prescribed pre-school child (children entitled to a free nursery place), a child of school age or a young person receiving school education provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children or, as the case may be, young persons of the same age in schools (other than special schools) under the management of the education authority for the area to which the child or young person belongs
  • in relation to a child under school age other than a prescribed pre-school child, such educational provision as is appropriate in the circumstances.
Appropriate agencies
In this guide, ‘appropriate agencies’ means agencies that have a legal obligation to help local authorities carry out their duties under the ASL Act. These include any Health Board, any other local authority including its social work services, Skills Development Scotland, all colleges of further education and all institutes of higher education. The law also enables Scottish Ministers to name other agencies in the future.
An audiologist performs hearing tests and works with children and young people with hearing impairments.

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Behaviour support teacher
A behaviour support teacher can provide advice to other staff and parents on how to manage pupils’ behaviour. They may also work with individual children and with small groups to help them manage their behaviour.

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Child’s Plan
If a child or young person needs some extra support to meet their wellbeing needs such as access to mental health services or respite care, the professionals working with the child will prepare and co-ordinate support through a Child’s Plan. Creating a Child’s Plan is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. More information is available at  If a child has a co-ordinated support plan, this will form part of the Child’s Plan. Every looked after child must have a care plan under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. The plan should include information about services to be provided to meet the care, education and health needs of the child, responsibilities of all involved, arrangements for accommodation, and contact between the child and their parents. A care plan will form part of a Child’s Plan.
Clinical psychologist
Clinical psychologists work with parents and others to assess a child to find out if they have personal, social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Some clinical psychologists may specialise in a particular area, such as understanding, assessing and treating brain injury.
Contact person
Local authorities must have a contact or named person who will be responsible for providing information about local arrangements for additional support for learning.
Co-ordinated support plan (CSP) co-ordinator
A CSP co-ordinator will be appointed to be in charge of the CSP and will make sure people carry out the actions set out in the plan. They are also responsible for telling you, your child and everyone involved in providing additional support what is expected of them.
Curriculum for Excellence
This is the name given to the new curriculum in Scotland. Its purpose is to enable each child or young person to be a successful learner, confident individual, responsible citizen, and an effective communicator.

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The legal definition of a disability, under the Equality Act 2010, is “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. To be diagnosed with a disability, a person must be substantially affected in one or more of the following ways:

  • mobility
  • manual dexterity
  • physical co-ordination
  • ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects
  • continence
  • speech, hearing, eyesight
  • memory or ability to learn, concentrate or understand
  • perception of risk or physical danger.

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Educational psychologist
Educational psychologists are fully qualified applied psychologists specialising in education. They have a wide range of duties that include contributing to assessments and giving advice to parents, schools, local authorities and other agencies about additional support needs and how best to help children and young people learn and develop.
English as an additional language (EAL) teacher
An English as an additional language teacher specialises in helping children whose first language is not English.

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GP stands for ‘General Practitioner’. A GP is a fully qualified doctor who does not specialise in a particular area of medicine but who has a broad understanding of all illnesses. GPs oversee and support health and medical care in the community and will generally be based at your local health centre or surgery.
Getting it right for every child
This is a national programme that aims to improve outcomes for all children and young people in Scotland. It applies to all services working with children – social work, health, education, police, housing and voluntary organisations. The aim of this programme is to provide a framework for all services and agencies to deliver a co-ordinated approach.
Grant-aided schools
Grant-aided special schools are independent of local authorities but are supported financially by the Scottish Government. The schools provide education for children who have additional support needs, often because of long-term, complex or multiple factors.

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Health visitor
A health visitor is a registered nurse who is employed to give advice to people, especially the parents of very young children, about health care, sometimes by visiting them in their own homes.

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Independent school
An independent school is a school which is managed independently of any local authority and does not receive grant funding from the Scottish Government. It usually charges fees for providing full-time education for pupils of school age.
Independent special schools
Independent special schools are schools which are not grant-aided or under the management of a local authority, and offer enhanced provision for pupils who have additional support needs.

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Key worker
A key worker is a professional who has regular contact with the child or young person and who can act as a single point of reference for the family and other professionals.

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Lead professional
When two or more agencies (for example social work and health) need to work together to provide help to a child or young person and family, there will be a lead professional to co-ordinate the help. The lead professional is the main point of contact for parents.
Looked after children
Some children and young people have difficult life experiences that may mean local authorities, the Children’s Hearings system and the law courts need to get involved. The situation may lead to the child or young person becoming ‘looked after’ by their local authority. A child may be ‘looked after’ at home by their parents or ‘looked after’ away from home through placement in foster, kinship or residential care. All children and young people who are looked after must have a regularly reviewed care plan.

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Named Person
A Named Person is a single point of contact who can work with a child and their family to sort out any additional help, advice or support if they need it. The entitlement that every child will have a Named Person is likely to come into force in 2018 however some local authorities already have Named Person procedures in place. Health visitors, head teachers or senior teachers will be the Named Person for most children and young people, depending on their age. They will also be the main contact for children and families.

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Occupational psychologist
An occupational psychologist works in areas such as vocational interests and vocational guidance, or occupational aptitude.
Occupational therapist
Occupational therapists work with parents and others to assess a child to find out if they have difficulties with the practical and social skills necessary for everyday life. The therapist will aim to help the child be as physically, psychologically and socially independent as possible.
Orthoptists specialise in eye care. They assess children’s vision and treat visual problems or offer advice on strategies to help them. In education visual difficulties need to be identified and treated to ensure successful learning.
Other agencies
A number of other agencies, such as voluntary organisations, may work with local authorities to support a child or young person’s learning but, unlike appropriate agencies (Health Boards, for example), they do not have a legal duty to do so.

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A paediatrician is a doctor who has special training in medical care for children.
Physiotherapists assess and manage children with movement disorders, disability or illness. They aim to help the child reach their full potential and improve their quality of life by encouraging independence, physical fitness and well-being. They will do this by providing physical intervention, advice and support.
Placing request
A placing request is a formal, recordable request that a parent or young person aged over 16 can make to an education authority for a place in a school that is neither the local catchment school nor the school recommended by the local authority. A local authority must reply to a placing request within set timescales and there is a right of appeal if a request is refused. Local guidelines on placing requests are available from the local authority.

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School nurse
School nurses are involved with health promotion and education, prevention of ill-health, immunisation, health surveillance and screening. They will inform parents and the family doctor if further action is necessary and act as an important link between home and school. The school nurse can advise on issues such as soiling, bedwetting, and emotional and behavioural problems.
Social worker
Social workers can offer a range of support to individual children or to whole families. Services offered could include respite, holiday help, advocacy, befriending, help with behaviour management and money or benefits advice. If a child or their family already has a social worker, it is likely that he or she will be involved in deciding what additional support the child needs at school.
Speech and language therapist
Speech and language therapists work with parents and others to assess a child to find out if they have difficulties with speech and/or language, communication or eating and drinking. The therapist will consider how the difficulties might affect their life and, if appropriate, decide how the child can be helped to reach their full communication potential.
Support for learning teacher
Support for learning teachers advise other members of staff on the full range of teaching/learning strategies, methods and resources. Sometimes, they will provide individual tutorial support to a child who has additional support needs, or they might take small groups of pupils.

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There are a number of different types of therapist including physiotherapists and occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, music therapists, drama therapists and art therapists. Increasingly, therapists are seeking to transfer skills to parents and staff who work with children every day so that they are better able to help children reach their full potential.

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