What is an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?
An EHCP is a document that describes a child or young person’s special educational, health and social needs, the support they need and the outcomes they would like to achieve.
An EHCP can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. An EHCP must be reviewed every 12 months, or every 6 months if the child is under 5.
Not all children with special educational needs (SEN) will need an EHCP; lots of most children will be supported by schools at SEN Support. At SEN Support, the school and any services involved should be taking a graduated approach to meeting a child’s special educational needs. Other services may include the Learning Support Service (LSS), Educational Psychology Service (EPS) or Speech and Language Therapy (SALT).
EHCPs are for children and young people whose SEN need more help than would normally be provided in their school or setting. At this point an education, health and care needs assessment can be requested.
Although the Plan can include Heath and Social Care needs, a child may not require an EHCP if they only have health or social care needs that do not affect their education.
The majority of children and young people with SEN can have their needs met through the resources normally available in their education setting and / or community.
The local offer will enable families and practitioners to find out what is available locally and further afield and should help everyone to make the most of many services and opportunities that are available without the need to have an EHCP.
Where provision cannot be reasonably provided through services and resources that are normally available, it may be necessary to request and EHC needs assessment.
It is helpful to speak to the school or setting, or a professional working with the child, before making a request. These people will know the child well, and whether or not their needs can be met through normally available resources, and will be able to help the family decide if a request for an assessment is needed.
Sometimes families may find it helpful to talk to the Salford Independent Advice and Support Service (SIASS) or other voluntary support services when a request for an EHC needs assessment is being considered.
Families can apply for an EHC needs assessment. Young people over 16 can make the request themselves or it can be made on their behalf with consent. Schools and settings (early years and post-16) and other professionals can also request an assessment, but they can only do this with the knowledge and consent of the parent(s)/carers or young person.
It is always advisable to speak to the school or setting before making a request for an EHC needs assessment, as they can request an assessment or provide information to support a request made by a parent or young person. It really helps the decision-making process to know why people think an assessment is needed. This should include clear information about the journey of the child so far, how they are currently supported and the things that are helping them to make progress.
The Children and Families Act (2014) states that ‘A child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.’ (section 20)
‘The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection 7, the authority is of the opinion that— (a) the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and (b) it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan’ (section 36(8))
To help us make a decision there is a multi-disciplinary panel of professionals who consider requests for EHC needs assessments. They apply the law from the relevant legislation and take into account:
- evidence of academic attainment and progress,
- the nature and extend of a child / young person’s SEN,
- evidence of what the school / setting has already put in place to support the child / young person,
- evidence that if progress has been made it is only due to the intervention and support that has been put in place
- evidence from other professionals (Doctors, Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists)
Should you disagree with the Local Authority’s decision you can contact your caseworker. They can arrange a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your concerns. If you still have concerns, you may wish to contact the Salford Information Advice and Support Service (SIASS), which provides advice and information to parents whose children have SEN or children who have SEN. SIASS can be contacted via email or via the Local Offer.
You are entitled to request a meeting via the SEND Mediation & Disagreement Resolution Services. You also have the right to submit an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability First Tier Tribunal Service.
Further information will be included in the decision letter sent to you.
The whole process should be completed within 20 weeks from the date of the application for a needs assessment. This visual can be downloaded from the downloads tab on the right.
An Education Health and Care Plan is split into 11 sections as detailed below:
Section A: The views, interests and aspirations of the child and his or her parents/carer or the young person.
Section B: The child or young person’s special educational needs.
Section C: The child or young person’s health needs which are related to their SEN.
Section D: The child or young person’s social care needs which are related to their SEN or to a disability.
Section E: The outcomes sought for the child or the young person. This should include outcomes for adult life. The EHC plan should also identify the arrangements for the setting of shorter-term targets by the early years provider, school, college or other education or training provider.
Section F: The special educational provision required by the child or the young person.
Section G: Any health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN.
Section H1 and H2: Any social care provision.
Section I: The name and type of school/nursery or post 16 institution to be attended by the child or the young person.
Section J: This section will provide details of any Personal Budget if relevant.
Section K: The advice and information gathered during the assessment.
A draft EHCP will not name a setting in Section I, this is completed when the final plan is issued.
If a plan is issued, it must be reviewed every 6 months for a child aged under 5, or once a year for those above 5. This is done through the Annual Review process.
You can talk to the SENCO in your child’s school or setting and they will be able to talk to you about any SEN concerns you have.
You can also contact SIASS who can support you with the EHC needs assessment process.
Once a request has been made, you can also contact the SEN team who oversee the assessment and plan writing process. To contact them email or phone 0161 778 0410.