Glossary

  • 11+ examination
    The 11+ is an examination taken before leaving primary school in order to get into a grammar secondary school. The examination is administered by the local grammar school consortium.
  • Abduction
    Child abduction is when a person takes or sends a child out of England or Wales without the permission of those with Parental Responsibility or permission from the court. If a person has a Residence Order or a Child Arrangements Order for a child they will not be acting unlawfully if the child is taken or sent out of England or Wales for less than four weeks without the appropriate consent.
  • Academic Year
    A period commencing with 1 August and ending with the following 31 July, as defined by the School Admissions (Admission Arrangements and Co-ordination of Admission Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012.
  • Academy Schools
    Academies provide students with a free education. These are funded by the Department for Education, but are established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups. They have more independence than most secondary schools. Every Academy School has a funding agreement with the Education Funding Agency.
  • Academy Schools Trust
    A body responsible for the running of an Academy School, akin to a Governing Body.
  • Accommodated children
    Parents may agree to having their child removed or ‘accommodated' by Children's Services under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, while an investigation and assessment is carried out.
  • Acknowledgement of service
    A form (D10) which acknowledges receipt of divorce documents by a respondent. The respondent must fill in, sign and return the acknowledgement form to court within the date stated on the paperwork.
  • acquired gender
    Acquired gender is the gender which a person over 18 has been living as, or has changed gender to outside of the UK, who applies for a gender recongition certificate.
  • Adjournment
    Postponing a court hearing authorised by the Judge.
  • Admission arrangements
    The overall procedure, practices and oversubscription criteria used in deciding the allocation of school places including any device or means used to determine whether a school place is to be offered. The arrangements must comply with The School Admissions Code 2012 and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
  • Admission Authority
    The body responsible for setting and applying a school’s admission arrangements. For community or voluntary controlled schools, this body is the local authority unless it has agreed to delegate responsibility to the governing body. For foundation or voluntary aided schools, this body is the Governing Body of the school. For academies, this body is the Academy Trust.
  • Admission Number
    The number of school places that the Admission Authority must offer in each relevant age group of a school. Admission numbers are part of a school’s Admission Arrangements.
  • Adoption
     A legal process by which a child becomes a permanent and full member of a new family. The biological parents lose Parental Responsibility and the new parents obtain Parental Responsibility for the child.
  • Adultery
    This is a fact which can be relied on for divorce. It is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a member of the opposite sex who is not the spouse, while the marriage is still valid.
  • Advocate
    The role of an advocate is to: Make sure a young person can make their wishes and feelings known, attend decision making meetings on behalf of, or with the young person, provide unbiased information to the young person, support the young person, make sure that the young person's legal rights are upheld and that they are fairly treated, and help the young person to make a complaint if they wish to do so.
  • Ancillary relief
    An application for financial settlement such as maintenance following the issue of a petition for divorce, nullity or judicial separation.
  • Annulment
    The legal ending of a marriage.
  • Applicant
    The applicant is the person applying to court for the order.
  • Associated Person
    An associated person is a person who is connected to a perpetrator of domestic violence and can apply for a Non Molestation or Occupation Order. An associated person could include a civil partner, a wife or a husband, the father or mother of the child, a family relation or a long-term partner
  • Barrister
    Barristers are legal professionals who specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings, and giving expert legal opinions
  • Bigamy
    The offence committed by any person who marries another person while still being legally married to somebody else.
  • Brief
    A summary of facts and instructions given to barristers prior to a hearing.
  • Bundle
    An information pack containing all of the relevant information and evidence to the case which is referred to during proceedings. It includes documents from both parties including position statements, exhibits and reports.
  • CAFCASS
    CAFCASS is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. They are an organisation who provide specialist social workers who are experienced at dealing with family problems. They carry out safeguarding checks and can prepare a report dealing with the best interests of the child(ren) involved in court proceedings.
  • Care Order
    Where a child is at risk of significant harm and a parent cannot meet the child's needs, the Local Authority can apply for a Care Order to acquire Parental Responsibility for the child. An interim Care Order can be made to place the child in Local Authority care whilst other investigations are made.
  • Catchment area
    A geographical area, from which children may be afforded priority for admission to a particular school. A catchment area is part of a school’s Admission Arrangements and must therefore be consulted upon, determined and published in the same way as other Admission Arrangements.
  • Child Arrangements Order
    An order governing:a) Whom a child is to live with, andb) Whom the child should have contact with and when this should occur.This replaces orders previously known as 'Contact' and 'Residence' orders.
  • Child Arrangements Order Allowance
    A person who is named in a Child Arrangements Order can ask the Local Authority to provide financial support through a Child Arrangements Order allowance. You should check your Local Authority policy on Child Arrangements Order allowances for further details.
  • Child in need
     Under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, Local Authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area if they are in need. A child is in need when they are disabled or they are unlikely to achieve a reasonable standard of health or development or if a child's health or development is likely to be significantly impaired if services are not offered to him or her.
  • Child maintenance
    Financial support provided by the non-resident parent to the other parent for a child/children.
  • Child Protection
     The actions and measures taken to protect a child from abuse or ill-treatment.
  • Child Protection Case Conference
    A conference used to establish whether the child should be referred to as a ‘child subject to a child protection plan’ and to decide whether future action is required to safeguard and promote the child's welfare. It should include relevant family members, the child (where appropriate) and supporters, advocates and relevant professionals.
  • Child Protection Plan
    For all those children who have been identified at a Child Protection Conference as being at a continuing risk of significant harm, a Child Protection Plan will be created. This is a plan setting out what steps and provisions are needed to safeguard a child’s welfare and minimize all risks of harm to a child.
  • Child Protection Register
    In April 2008, the Child Protection Register (CPR) ceased to exist. The term now used is ‘children subject to a Child Protection Plan’.
  • Child Witnesses
    A child who has received a witness summons to appear in court as a witness.
  • Children's Services
    The body responsible for carrying out the child protection functions of the Local Authority, used to be known as Social Services.
  • Circuit Judge
    These Judges hear cases which are more complex than those heard by District Judges, they also hear appeals of decisions made by District Judges. You should address them as 'Your Honour'.
  • City Academy
    City Academies are intended to provide free secondary education to children of all abilities. These are funded by the Department for Education, but are established in partnership with sponsors who may be private companies or voluntary organisations.
  • Civil Partnership
    A legally recognised union between same sex couples. It provides many of the same legal rights and duties as marriage and is terminated by a similar process to divorce, called dissolution.
  • Clare's Law
    Also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. An individual has a right to ask the police whether a current partner represents a risk of violence.
  • Clean Break
    A court order which formally dismisses any future financial claims by one spouse against the other after divorce.
  • Co-ordination
    The process by which local authorities co-ordinate the distribution of offers of places for schools in their area. All Local Authorities are required to co-ordinate the normal admissions round for primary and secondary schools in their area. Schools can take in-year applications directly from parents, provided they notify their local authority of each application and its outcome.
  • Common Application Form
    The form parents complete, listing their preferred choices of schools, and then submit to local authorities when applying for a school place for their child as part of the local co-ordination scheme, during the normal admissions round. Parents must be allowed to express a preference for a minimum of three schools on the relevant common application form as determined by their local authority. Local Authorities may allow parents to express a higher number of preferences if they wish.
  • Common Assessment Framework
    This is a standardised framework for practitioners to use to assess a child's needs to determine if any additional support should be put in place to meet these needs. Parental involvement is encouraged and parent's consent should be obtained before an assessment is carried out.
  • Community School
    Community schools are wholly owned and maintained by local authorities. They are likely to have a strong link with the local community providing services such as childcare. The local authority will be the admission authority for these schools.
  • Composite prospectus
    The prospectus which a local authority is required to publish by 12 September in the offer year. This prospectus must include detailed admission arrangements of all maintained schools in the area (including admission numbers and catchment areas).
  • Consent Order
    An agreement by parties as to arrangements for children which is formally approved by the Family Court.
  • Contact Activity Condition
    In any case considering contact between a party and a child the court may impose or an order can be varied to impose a condition that a party to proceedings take part in an activity that promotes contact with the child.
  • Contact Activity Direction
    In any case considering contact between a party and a child the court can direct that a party to proceedings take part in an activity that promotes contact with the child e.g. programmes, classes, counselling or guidance sessions.
  • Contact book
    A book passed between persons who have contact with and care of a  child. It is used to record any matters of concern or importance so that the other parent/person is aware.
  • Contact centre
    A child contact centre is a safe environment where children of separated families can spend time with one or both parents and sometimes other family members. If there are concerns about the non-resident parent having unsupervised contact with a child, contact centres can be used for supported contact, supervised contact, escorted contact and in some circumstances handover.
  • Contact order
    A legally binding order requiring the resident party/parent to make the child available for contact with the person named in the order.
  • Contempt of court
    The offence of (1) disobeying a court order, (2) abusing a judge during a hearing, or (3) interfering in the administration of justice.
  • Court Lists
    The boards usually found in the waiting room which will tell you which court / Judge has been allocated to your case.
  • Cross examination
    Questioning of a witness by the opposing party.
  • decree absolute
    A final court order dissolving a marriage which enables either party to re-marry.
  • decree nisi
    A provisional court order confirming that the the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This order does not end the marriage.
  • Deed Poll
    Deed of change of name; a legal document that formally changes a name.
  • Departmental advice
    Departmental advice helps schools and local authorities understand how to comply with the law. There is no legal requirement for schools and local authorities to follow the advice, but it explains what government policies mean in practice.
  • Determination year
    The academic year immediately preceeding the offer year. This is the academic year in which Admission Authorities determine their Admission Arrangements.
  • Direct Payments
    Direct payments are monetary payments made by the local authority to anyone who is caring for a child or a young person. Direct payments can relate to a child's educational needs, social care needs or health needs.
  • Directions Order
    An order by the court setting out instructions for the parties as to the next steps in a case.
  • Disability Discrimination
    It is unlawful for an education provider to discriminate between pupils on grounds of disability. There is a duty on schools to make 'reasonable adjustments'.
  • Discharge
    Discharge (of an order): A person can apply to have an order discharged so that it is no longer in force.
  • Disclosure of the child’s whereabouts
    A person can make an application to ask the court to take steps to locate a child’s whereabouts. The court will contact Police and Children’s Services to take steps to trace the child and this will be disclosed to the applicant if in the child’s best interests. The application is made using form C4.
  • District Judge
    District Judges and Deputy District Judges hear the majority of Family cases. You should address them as 'Sir' or 'Madam'.
  • Divorce
    The legal dissolution of a marriage.
  • Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme
    A programme aimed to help people who have been abusive to their current or ex-partners to change their behaviour and develop respectful relationships.The court can order that a party attend this course as part of an Activity Direction in a private law case about contact and residence arrangements. In this situation there is no cost and the service is provided through CAFCASS.
  • Domestic Violence Protection Notice
    The police can issue this notice to protect a person from immediate violence or threatened violence.
  • Domestic Violence Protection Order
    The Magistrates Court can turn a Domestic Violence Protection Notice into an order lasting between 14-28 days.
  • Early years pupil premium
    The early years pupil premium is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds.Early years providers are any organisation offering education for children aged under 5, including nurseries and childminders.
  • Education Health and Care Needs Assessment
    This is an assessment carried out by a Local Authority to determine whether an Education, Health and Care Plan is necessary in order to meet the child's needs to ensure additional support is put in place for them to benefit fully from their education. This can be requested by a child's school, a parent or a young person aged 16-25.
  • Education Health and Care Plan
    These plans replace the previous Statements of Special Educational Needs. This is a legally binding document which details a child's Special Educational Needs and outlines what provision should be put in place relating to a child's educational, health and care needs.
  • Educational Record
    This relates to your child's school records where all information relating to your child is recorded. If your child attends a Local Authority maintained school, then a parent has a right to request a copy of this under the Data Protection Act 1998. This must be provided to you within 15 school days.
  • Emergency Protection Order
    A short term order to remove a child from immediate risk of harm and allow the Local Authority to investigate. It lasts 8 days and can be extended for a further 7 days. The holder of this order would temporarily get Parental Responsibility for the child.
  • Enforcement Order
    An order of the court finding beyond reasonable doubt that a person has failed to keep to a Child Arrangements Order. It can require that a person does between 40 to 200 hours unpaid work.
  • Ex parte application
    An application made without informing the other party.
  • Ex parte hearing
    A hearing without one of the parties present.
  • Exclusion
    A form of lawful punishment a school can give to a child. Students can be excluded from school on either a fixed-term or permanent basis. A fixed-term exclusion is for a specific, limited period of time. A pupil can be excluded on a fixed-term basis for a maximum of 45 days in any school year. Lunch time exclusions count for a half day in England. A fixed-term exclusion should be for the shortest possible time, and children should not be excluded for an unspecified period of time. A permanent exclusion involves the child being removed from the school roll (but this should only happen once there has been an unsuccessful appeal against the exclusion or once the time period in which an appeal must be lodged has passed).
  • Exclusion order
    An order Children's Services can apply to the courts for, to have a person removed from the family home for a child's safety if there is an interim Care Order or Emergency Protection Order.
  • Expert witness
    An impartial professional witness who can give evidence to the court on their specialist subject.
  • Family Assistance order
    An order to provide assistance to parents following separation or divorce. A family assistance order will make a Cafcass officer available or will request a Local Authority to make one of its officers available in order to assist, advise and (where appropriate) befriend any person named in the order (Children Act 1989, s. 16(1).)
  • Family Court
    Created on 22.04.14 the Courts which will make descisions on all applications involving children and divorce.
  • Family Court Adviser
    A member of CAFCASS who works directly with vulnerable children and families and duty is to advise the family courts on the best course of action for the child.
  • Family Mediation
    An alternative way to try to resolve a dispute. Parties would meet and talk through their issues in the presence of an independent third party. Parties are required by law to attempt mediation before any application can be made to the court for any private family law applications.
  • Filing
    Lodging documents with the court.
  • Final Hearing
    The Final Hearing is the last hearing in your case. If an agreement cannot be reached, a Judge may need to make a decision in your case. This will involve hearing evidence from the parties and sometimes the Cafcass officer, the Judge will then make a decision based on what they consider to be in the child(ren)'s best interests.
  • First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment
    The first court hearing after an application has been made to the court in private family law cases. It is used to assist the court in identifying issues between the parties at an early stage and to see if it is possible for the parties to reach an agreement. Directions are likely to be given to inform the parties what next steps should be taken before the final hearing.
  • First Tier Tribunal
    The First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) can hear appeals about Statements of Special Educational Needs, Education Health and Care Plans and Disability Discrimination.
  • Forced Marriage
    When a person is made to marry against their will. The victim does not consent freely, but instead enters the marriage under duress. This term is not to be confused with arranged marriages, in which both parties consent to the union. The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 allows courts to order civil measures to be taken to prevent forced marriages.The Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes it a criminal offence to force somebody to marry.
  • Forced Marriage Protection Orders
    This order allows police and councils to intervene to prevent a forced marriage from occurring or to help the victim of a forced marriage. They can request that the victims passport is handed over to stop someone from being taken abroad to be married and can force relatives to disclose the whereabouts of a person at risk of being forced to marry.
  • Forced Marriage Unit
    In 2005, the Government launched the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) to help those at risk of forced marriage. The unit provides confidential advice, information and assistance to those who are concerned that they are going to be or have been victims of forced marriage and also gives advice to third parties to the forced marriage.
  • Fostering
    A form of care provided to a child who is not related to the carer legally or by blood.
  • Foundation school
    Foundation schools are funded by the local authority, but are run by the school governing body.
  • Governing body
    In England, all maintained schools and nursery schools have a governing body which has responsibility for setting the overall direction of the school.
  • Grammar school
    Grammar schools are similar to foundation schools but are still permitted to select pupils by ability. They are funded by the local authority, but run by the governing body, which acts as the admission authority.
  • Guardian
    A Guardian can be appointed in court proceedings to act on behalf of the child who is the subject of the proceedings. A Guardian is usually a Cafcass officer who is appointed to ascertain the child's views and to conduct proceedings on the child's behalf. The court will only appoint a Guardian in particular circumstances, for example, when parents cannot represent the child's wishes, a report is insufficient or a child opposes a proposed course of action. A Guardian may also be appointed if there are serious allegations of harm.
  • Hague Convention
    The aims of the Hague Convention are:- To secure the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed to or retained in a contracting state - i.e. to return the abducted child back to his or her place of residence.- To ensure that rights of residence or contact under the law of one contracting state are effectively respected in other contracting states - i.e. to ensure contact and residence rights issued in one country are implemented and respected in another.- To rely on the Hague Convention, the child must be under-16 and have been habitually resident in one contracting state and taken to another.
  • High Court Judges
    High Court Judges and Deputy High Court Judges hear the most complex cases in the Family Court, they also hear appeals of decisions made by Circuit Judges. You should address them as 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'.
  • Independent Review Panel
    An independent review panel which can review an exclusion. The panel can uphold an exclusion, recommend that it is looked at again or quash the decision and direct that it is reconsidered. It cannot force a pupil to be reinstated.
  • Independent Reviewing Officer
    A person employed by children's services who chairs reviews for children living in care and duty is to ensure that the care plan meets the child's needs.
  • Individual Healthcare Plan
    A plan agreed with the school setting out how a child's health needs will be met, including when and by whom.
  • Infant class size limit
    Section 1 of the SSFA 1998 limits the size of an infant class (i.e. reception, year 1 and year 2) to 30 pupils per school teacher.
  • Injunction
    A court order which forbids or requires a specified person to do something.
  • Interim contact
    Temporary arrangements for contact issued during proceedings before a final decision is made.
  • Judgment
    Decision issued by a court in legal proceedings.
  • Judicial review
    An application to the High Court to review the legality and validity of a decision by a public body. All other remedies must have been exhausted. The court will not look at the merits of the decision but will decide whether the body acted illegally, irrationally or improperly.
  • Judicial separation
    A judicial separation order recognises that you are legally separated from your partner. It allows you to live apart from your spouse or civil partner, without divorcing or ending a civil partnership.
  • Kinship care
    Kinship care is an arrangement where a child who cannot be cared for by their parents goes to live with a relative or a family friend.
  • LADO
    Local Authority Designated Officer who investigates allegations against staff members of the local authority.
  • Legal Aid
    A form of funding from the government for legal representation. This is means tested in most areas, with the exception of when a child is subject to care proceedings, where legal aid is available to a parent regardless of a person's income.
  • Liberty to return
    Sometimes the court will leave a case open for a number of months following a final order, this allows either party to return to court without having to make a new application.
  • Litigant in person
    An individual who represents himself in court without legal representation.
  • Litigation friend
    A person appointed by the court to make decisions about a court case on behalf of somebody who lacks capacity. This may be for an adult who lacks litigation capacity or for a child. If a litigation friend is appointed the party will be considered to be a protected party.Where a child is party to proceedings but not the subject of proceedings, they must have a litigation friend to conduct proceedings on their behalf. The litigation friend must not have their own interest in the proceedings and must always act in the child's best interests.If no person is suitable to act as a litigation friend the court can invite the Official Solicitor to act as a litigation friend.
  • Local Authority
    Overall Administrative Body for your geographic area.
  • Local Offer
    From 1 September 2014 Local Authorities must publish a Local Offer. This sets out the provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have Special Educational Needs or are disabled.
  • Looked after children
    Children in Local Authority care who are provided with somewhere to live by Children's Services. Parents can either agree to this, or a court can order children to be 'looked after'.
  • Maintained schools
    A maintained school is owned and funded by the Local Authority. A maintained school follows the national curriculum and can be subcategorised as either a community, foundation and trust, voluntary aided or a voluntary controlled school. 
  • Managed move
    A pupil moving to another school for a fresh start with the knowledge and co-operation of all parties involved.
  • McKenzie Friend
    A person who can attend court proceedings with you to provide moral support, take notes, help with case papers and quietly advise on the conduct of the case but cannot speak to the Judge on your behalf.
  • Mediation
    A service which allows you to communicate with the other party/parties in the case through a neutral third party with the aim of coming to an agreement.
  • MIAM
    Prior to applying for some private family law orders from the court an applicant will be required by law to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with the respondent to see whether the matter can be resolved without going to court. A person can be exempt from attending this in some circumstances.
  • National Curriculum
    The National Curriculum is the agenda for teaching and learning in schools. It establishes the subjects taught and the knowledge, skills and understanding required for each subject. It also sets standards for each subject, outlining targets that children should be encouraged to achieve. Additionally, the National Curriculum determines the assessment methods that are used to measure children's progress.
  • National Offer Day
    The day each year on which Local Authorities are required to send the offer of a school place to all parents of secondary age pupils in their area. For secondary pupils, offers are sent out by the home Local Authority on 1 March. For primary pupils, this will be on the 16 April (from 2014 onwards).
  • Non-Molestation Order
    An order preventing a person from harming you or your child through violent, pestering, harassing or threatening behaviour. Breach of a Non-Molestation Order is an arrestable offence with a maximum 5 year prison sentence.
  • Normal Admissions Round
    The period during which parents are invited to express a minimum of three preferences for a place at any state-funded school, in rank order on the common application form provided by their home Local Authority. This period usually follows publication of the Local Authority composite prospectus on 12 September, with the deadlines for parental applications of 31 October (for secondary places) and 15 January (for primary places), and subsequent offers made to parents on National Offer Day.
  • Occupation Order
    An order for victims of domestic violence stating who can live in the family home and directing that another person leave the home.
  • Offer Year
    The academic year immediately preceding the academic year in which pupils are to be admitted to schools under the admission arrangements in question. This is the academic year in which the offers of school places are communicated.
  • Outcomes
    In the context of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), outcomes are the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of intervention. These will be listed in the EHCP and should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound in line with the SMART framework.Outcomes should be regularly reviewed and agreed. Outcomes cannot be challenged in the SEN Tribunal.Once an outcome is achieved, a local authority may cease to maintain the EHCP.
  • Oversubscription
    Where a school has a higher number of applicants than the school’s published admission number.
  • Oversubscription Criteria
    This refers to the published criteria that an admission authority applies when a school has more applications than places available in order to decide which children will be allocated a place. The School Admissions Code 2012 sets out which criteria are lawful.
  • Parental involvement
    From 22nd October 2014 there is a presumption by the courts that both parents should be involved in a child's life when parents separate. This can be removed when there are welfare concerns.
  • Parental Responsibility Agreement
    A Parental Responsibility Agreement is an agreement made between the mother and the unmarried father to allow him to have parental responsibility. It can also be entered into by a step-parent and by same-sex couples.
  • Parental Responsibility Order
    An Order granted by the Court which in effect gives a parent parental responsibility.
  • Parenting plan
    A written or online agreement between parents recording how you will share the care of your child now and in the future. It is not a legally binding agreement.
  • Placement Order
    The court can make an order under section 21 Adoption and Children Act 2002 authorising a local authority to place a looked after child for adoption with any prospective adopters chosen by the local authority.Parental responsibility is shared between the local authority and the birth parents and the prospective adopters if the child is living with them.
  • Private fostering
    Private fostering is an arrangement that is made privately, without the involvement of the Local Authority, when a child under the age of 16, (or 18 if the child has a disability) is placed for 28 days or more in the care of someone who is not the child's guardian, a close relative, or by private arrangement between parent and carer. The Local Authority will need to be made aware of the situation to check everything is satisfactory. It is a criminal offence if the local authority is not notified.
  • Prohibited Steps Order
    An Order to prevent a parent from carrying out a certain action, i.e. to prevent a parent from taking a child abroad or from removing a child from the care and control of one parent or a third party such as a school. 
  • Public Law Outline
    This sets out streamlined case management procedures for dealing with public law children's cases. It requires all care, supervision and other Part 4 proceedings to be completed within a maximum of 26 weeks.
  • Pupil premium
    The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools (maintained schools, academies, voluntary sector and special schools) in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.
  • Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
    A centre which provides education for children who are unable to attend school.
  • Recorder
    These Judges hear cases which are more complex than those heard by District Judges, they also hear appeals of decisions made by District Judges. You should address them as 'Your Honour'.
  • Removal from Jurisdiction Order
    An order from the court granting permission to remove a child to another jurisdiction permanently. 
  • Residence Order
    An order stating where and with whom a child shall live. Any order made after 22 April 2014 will be a Child Arrangements Order.
  • Respondent
    The respondent is the person who has to respond to an application being brought by the applicant. The respondent has to complete an acknowledgement of service when the applicant brings an application to the court. 
  • Sarah's Law
    A law giving an individual the right to ask the police to check whether a person having contact with children poses a risk to the children.
  • School Action
    This is the action that should be taken by a school if a child with Special Educational Needs is struggling to cope with their school work. The school should put a plan in place to detail what additional support is going to be in place and set targets for the child that should be reviewed. From 1st September 2014, this has been replaced with Additional Special Educational Needs Support.
  • School exclusion
    A form of lawful punishment a school can give to a child. Students can be excluded from school on either a fixed-term or permanent basis. A fixed-term exclusion is for a specific, limited period of time. A pupil can be excluded on a fixed-term basis for a maximum of 45 days in any school year. Lunch time exclusions count for a half day in England.A fixed-term exclusion should be for the shortest possible time, and children should not be excluded for an unspecified period of time. A permanent exclusion involves the child being removed from the school roll (but this should only happen once there has been an unsuccessful appeal against the exclusion or once the time period in which an appeal must be lodged has passed).
  • Schools Adjudicator
    A statutory office-holder who is appointed by the Secretary of State for Education, but is independent. The adjudicator decides on objections to published admission arrangements of all state-funded schools and variations of determined admission arrangements for maintained schools.
  • Section 37 Report
    In private family law proceedings a court can direct the Local Authority to investigate a child's circumstances where there are welfare concerns and a Care or Supervision Order may be appropriate.
  • Section 47 Enquiry
    A comprehensive child protection investigation carried out by Children’s Services. The assessment will look at the child's developmental needs, relevant family and environmental factors and the parenting capacity of the main carers for the child.
  • Section 7 Report
    In private family law proceedings a court can ask the Local Authority and/or a CAFCASS officer to produce a report on the child's welfare.
  • Section 8 Order
    Orders under section 8 of the Children Act 1989. These are: A Child Arrangements Order, A Specific Issue Order, A Prohibited Steps Order.
  • SEN Mediation
    In some situations there is a requirement to attempt mediation to resolve a dispute about the contents of an Education, Health and Care Plan before appealing to the First Tier Tribunal.
  • SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator)
    Every school must have a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. Their role is to ensure that all special needs provisions are met at the school and to ensure additional SEN support is provided to those who require extra support.
  • Separated Parents Information Programme
    A programme designed to help parents learn more about the challenges of post-separation parenting, including the effects on children of ongoing conflict.
  • Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)
    A programme designed to help parents learn more about the challenges of post-separation parenting, including the effects on children of ongoing conflict.
  • Service premium
    The service premium is extra funding for schools to support children and young people with parents in the armed forces.Pupils attract the premium if they meet the following criteria:one of their parents is serving in the regular armed forcesthey have been registered as a ‘service child’ in the school census at any point since 2011one of their parents died while serving in the armed forces and the pupil receives a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme  or the War Pensions SchemeIn the financial year 2015 to 2016, schools will receive £300 for each eligible pupil.
  • Set aside
    A court can cancel a judgment, order or step taken by a party in proceedings.
  • Shared Residence
    Where a child lives with more than one parent or carer. It does not need to be a 50/50 arrangement.
  • Smacking
    It is unlawful for a parent or carer to smack their child, except where this amounts to ‘reasonable punishment'. This defence is laid down in section 58 of the Children Act 1989, but it is not defined in this legislation. Whether a ‘smack' amounts to reasonable punishment will depend on the circumstances of each case taking into consideration factors like the age of the child and the nature of the smack.
  • Solicitor
    A lawyer who advises people on the law and can represent them in legal proceedings.
  • Special Educational Needs
    A term used to describe a child who has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him/her. 
  • Special Educational Needs Support
    This is the support a school should provide if a child is struggling with their school work and this is caused by a child's underlying Special Educational Needs. This should support the child to enable them to benefit fully from the education provided.
  • Special educational provision
    Educational support different from or additional to that normally available to pupils or students of the same age, which is designed to help children and young people with SEN or disabilities to access the National Curriculum at school or to study at college.
  • Special Guardianship
    Special Guardianship is a Court order that places a child or a young person to live with someone other than their parents. The Special Guardin will get higher parental responsibility than other persons with parental responsibility for the child.
  • Special Guardianship Allowance
    A special guardian may be entitled to a special guardianship allowance provided by the Local Authority to contribute towards special care or help with accommodation and maintenance costs. Where a special guardianship allowance is being agreed it is advisable to obtain legal advice from a solicitor and to consult the local authority policy. 
  • Special School
    A type of school with the facility to meet the needs of children who have special educational needs.
  • Specific Issue Order
    An order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen, or which may arise, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child. For example an order seeking permission to change a child's surname.
  • State school
    State school education is free and funded by the government. Contributions may be needed for some school activities. However, contributions are often voluntary, and children cannot be excluded from the activities if the voluntary contribution is not made.
  • Statement of Special Educational Needs
    A Statement of Special Educational Needs is a legally binding document that details a child's special educational needs and the help that they should be provided with. These have now been replaced with Education, Health and Care Plans since 1st September 2014.
  • Statutory Guidance
    Statutory guidance sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law. Schools should follow the guidance unless they have a very good reason not to.
  • Statutory SEN Assessment
    A statutory assessment is a detailed study undertaken by the Local Authority to determine what a child's special educational needs are and the extra help that they need in order to make progress at school.
  • Staying contact
    When the child stays overnight with the non-resident parent.
  • Step-parent
    The person married to the child's parent.
  • Striking out
    A court ordering that written material be deleted and no longer relied upon.
  • Supervised contact
    Contact that takes place between a parent and a child where another person is present to oversee this contact.
  • Supervision Order
    Where a child is at risk of significant harm, a Supervision Order can be made for the Local Authority to advise, assist and befriend the child. The Local Authority will not acquire Parental Responsibility for the child.
  • Testamentary Guardian
    This is the person a parent can name in their Will who they want to take care of their child/children if they were to pass away.
  • testator
    A person who has made a will.
  • Undertaking
    A formal and legally binding promise to the court to do or not do something e.g. not to visit or be within 100 metres of another person's house.
  • Usher
    Sometimes known as a 'list caller', you will need to introduce yourself to the Usher responsible for the court hearing your case so that they know you are there.
  • Vacated
    When a hearing is cancelled or not effective, this can be either by the consent of both of the parties or the court. In cases involving children, hearings are often vacated as the parties have been able to reach an agreement outside of court.
  • Variation
    A person can apply to have an order varied where the person wishes to change the contents of an order, for example, they may wish to vary a Child Arrangements Order so that contact is supervised instead of unsupervised or to change who is to be the resident parent.
  • Voluntary Aided School
    These are usually religious or faith schools, although anyone can apply for a place for their child. Both the local authority and the supporting body (e.g. the Roman Catholic church) will contribute to the funding of the school.
  • Voluntary Controlled School
    Voluntary controlled schools are similar to voluntary aided schools, although these schools are funded solely by the Local Authority. The admissions authority is the Local Authority.
  • Waiting Lists
    A list of children held and maintained by the Admission Authority when the school has allocated all of its places, on which children are ranked in priority order against the school’s published oversubscription criteria. A child's place on the waiting list can move both up and down the list.
  • Wardship
    The High Court has an inherent jurisdiction to make a child a ward of court where it believes the child is at risk and needs a level of protection not provided by those with parental responsibility. If a child is made a ward of the court the court will have responsibility over the child and no key decisions can be made without the court’s permission. The application is made using form C66.
  • Welfare Checklist
    A checklist all Judges must have regard to when deciding to make a Section 8 Order under the Children Act 1989:- the wishes and feelings of the child- the child's physical, emotional and educational needs- the likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances- the child's age, sex, background and any other of his or her characteristics which the court considers relevant- any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering- how capable each parent (and any other relevant person) is of meeting the child's needs. For further information see Children Act 1989