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What is an Education, Health and Care Plan?

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are used to support students with special educational needs. They are personalised to meet the needs of a person aged 0–25 years and every plan is unique to the individual.

Plans are provided by the Local Authority and delivered by an individual service such as school or college. Reviews take place annually. This is managed by an EHCP Coordinator at Local Authority level and the educational setting’s SENDCo (Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator).

In 2019, 14.9% of all students in education have a special educational need. 3.1% of all students have an EHCP¹.

An EHCP will run until the age of 25, unless:

  • The individual goes to university, or gets a job
  • You tell the Local Authority you no longer need one
  • The Local Authority thinks you no longer need it. For example, an individual achieved their outcomes and no longer needs additional help
  • The SEN support setting meet an individual’s needs

Requesting an EHC assessment

Requests are made by a parent or carer, the individual themselves (if aged between 16–25) or anyone who thinks it is necessary. For instance friends, doctors or Teachers.

If a care needs assessment is carried out, Local Authorities may request:

  • Reports from the current school or service provider
  • A doctor’s assessment
  • A letter from the person who requested the assessment

The Local Authority then has 16 weeks to state if they intend to issue a plan.

Creating an EHCP

The Local Authority drafts a plan based on the assessment to share with the individual or parent/carer. Following this, there is an opportunity to respond to the draft or request a specialist school or college. For information about the professionals involved and how they help click here.

A Local Authority has 20 weeks from the date they received the assessment request to issue the final EHCP. Then, if you are unhappy with the decision, there are four areas to challenge:

  • Their decision to not carry out an assessment
  • Their decision to not create an EHCP
  • The special educational support in the EHCP
  • The school or service named in the EHCP

If disputes cannot be resolved directly, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. More information about tribunals can be found here.

Different sections of the EHCP

All EHCPs have the same format and sections. Click here for more detail on each section.

Section Description
A The views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or of the young person
B The child or young person’s special educational needs (SEND)
C The child or young person’s health needs which relate to their SEND
D The child or young person’s social care needs which relate to their SEND
E The outcomes sought for the child or the young person
F The special educational provision required by the child or the young person
G Any health care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEND
H Any social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEND
I The name of the school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person, and the type of that institution (or just the type if no specific institution is named)
J Details of any direct payment which will be made
K The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment

Annual review

EHCP reviews take place at least once a year. There are three outcomes that come from these reviews:

  1. No changes made and the plan continues as before
  2. Amends made to the plan
  3. End the plan

As with setting up the plan, the review process will include the parent/carer, the Local Authority and the educational setting. Reviews look at whether the plan is still suitable for the child or young adult as well as whether alterations could be made to provide better support.

1. Department for Education, 2019

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