The fourth instalment of our Educational Jargon Series is here! We hope, so far, it has brought you much clarity and revelation. Now, let the Get My Grades GCSE Blog Team help you decipher these acronyms linked to educational needs; AEN, SEND and ECHP. If you’ve got a child with educational needs, you will almost certainly encounter these acronyms at some point and will need to know what they are and how they work. Even if your child doesn’t have these, it’s worth knowing what these are in case your children encounter these issues or you speak to other parents about them.


AEN = Additional Education Needs.

This relates to children or young people who face additional barriers to their learning which makes it difficult for them to achieve their full potential.

These needs range and can include:

  • Newcomers
  • School age mothers
  • Travellers
  • Looked after children
  • Children of service personnel
  • EAL – we will cover English as an Additional Language more in depth in future blogs.

SEND = Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

It is important to note that AEN is different to SEND; special educational needs and disabilities can affect a child’s behaviour, social skills, reading and writing as well as their concentration levels and their physical ability.

You may also see the acronym SEN (Special Educational Needs), which is more often used to talk about specific needs, whilst SEND is a more all-encompassing term. However, the two are sometimes used interchangeably.

The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice (2015) highlights four main areas of SEND:

  • communication and interaction needs
  • cognition and learning difficulties
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • sensory and/or physical needs

Some children may have needs in one or more of these area, it is important to recognise all of their needs in order to support them fully. Approximately 1 in 5 children experience some level

Approximately 1 in 5 children experiences some level of SEN at some point in their school career. It is important to recognise that this means some children have special educational needs which only last for part of their education, whilst others continue to have these needs throughout their schooling. To make sure we are aware of a child’s needs, ongoing regular assessments and evaluations help us to monitor and review needs, allowing us to make sure the child has their needs met.

Each school should have a SEN coordinator (SENCO). Should you have any concerns, you can request to meet with the SENCO, or your child’s teacher(s) at any time. They may also request to talk to you, should they have their own concerns. SENCOs will oversee the support your child receives in school, and can also help with further assessments should they be needed.

Schools and colleges have freedom in how they support children with SEND, guided by the SEND Code of Practice. SEND support can include: speech therapy, working in smaller groups, extra help from a teacher or assistant, specialised learning programme, support with physical difficulties and more.


EHCP = Education, Health and Care Plan

EHCPs are written for children and young people up to 25 who have SEND, but also those with additional needs outside of this definition. SEND support can be provided within a school without an EHCP, but when additional funding is required to cater to the child’s care, an EHCP is needed.

These plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs. As of January 2017, there were over 175,000 young people with an EHCP. Pupils who previously had Statements of need will be transferred to an EHCP, if they have not already.

Your local authority can carry out an assessment for a EHCP, or if the young person in question is between the ages of 16 and 25, they can request one themselves. As well as primary carers, doctors, teachers and even family friends can also make this request. Your child may get a personal budget if they have an EHCP, which allows you to have more of a say in how the money is spent to support them.

Parting thoughts

It is important to note that these measures do not only apply to primary and secondary school children, there is post-16 provision also. We would advise you to always contact the college before your child starts, to ensure they can meet your child’s needs. Colleges are also expected to keep a record of their SEND provision, expected outcomes, progress etc.

The key to navigating this talk of educational needs, policies, provision, funding etc. is to keep open communication with your child and the school. Be in the know, check in regularly and express any concerns and questions you have.

We hope you’ve found this Educational Jargon blog useful and look forward to seeing you next week when we discuss what teachers do on INSET days and what CPD is. See you then!

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