The EHC Plan Process
An EHC plan is a legal document that describes a child or young person's special educational, health and social care needs. It explains the extra help that will be given to meet those needs and how that help will support the child or young person to achieve what they want to in their life. The plan is drawn up by the Local Authority after an EHC needs assessment.
An EHC plan can be issued to a child or young person between the ages of 0 and 25 years.
Conducting an EHC needs assessment
Local authorities need to make sure that you and your child or young person are fully involved in the EHC needs assessment. They need to provide you with impartial information, advice and support to help you understand the process and make sure you are properly involved in decisions that affect your child or young person.
The assessment includes talking to you and your child or young person and finding out from you what support you think your child or young person’s needs, and what aspirations you and your child and young person have for his or her future. The assessment also includes seeking information and views from people who work with your child or young person, such as class teachers, doctors, social care staff and educational psychologists.
How is the decision to assess made?
When the team around the child makes the decision to request the statutory assessment they will gather information and submit it to a multi agency panel.
The multi-agency decision making panel meets regularly to discuss requests and makes decision on whether to proceed to a statutory assessment. The panel makes their decision based on the legal test as outline in the Code of Practice.
Parents and the referrer will be informed of the outcome by letter.
If a decision to assess is made we will gather information from relevant professionals including an educational psychologist about the child or young person's education, health and care needs, desired outcomes and special educational health and care provision that maybe required to meet identified needs and achieve desired outcomes. You will also be allocated an education health care co-ordinator who can support you throughout the whole process including the completion of section A which takes into account your views, wishes and aspirations of those of your child and young person's. The co-ordinator will be a point of contact for the school or setting and will also chair/attend the family meeting and subsequent reviews as required.
After your local authority has made its assessment, having involved you and your child or young person fully in the process, it will then decide whether or not an EHC plan is necessary. If they decide that an EHC plan is not needed, they must tell you within 16 weeks of the date they received a request for an assessment.
Preparing an EHC plan
If your local authority decides to proceed with an EHC plan, they should work closely with you and your child and young person to make sure the plan takes full account of your views, wishes and feelings. Once the draft plan has been written, a family meeting will be held to discuss the draft and this is where you can put forward your views. This is also the point where you can identify where your child or young person would like to go to school. This could be a mainstream school or special school. The draft will then be sent to you and you will be given 15 days to comment and you can ask for a further meeting to discuss it if needed. Your local authority has 20 weeks from the request for the EHC needs assessment to issue the final plan to you.
Once an EHC plan has been finalised, your local authority has to ensure that the special educational support in section F of the plan is provided, and the health service has to ensure the health support in section G is provided. This should help to enable your child or young person to meet the outcomes that you have jointly identified and agreed. Your local authority has to review your child’s EHC plan at least every 12 months. That review has to include working with you and your child and asking you what you think and what you want to happen, and a meeting which you must be invited to. These are routinely organised by the school or setting.
What does a plan look like?
The plan has 11 sections labelled alphabetically:
|A:||The views, interests and aspiration of your child|
|B:||Special educational needs (SEN)|
|C:||Health needs related to SEN|
|D:||Social care needs related to SEN|
|E:||Outcomes - how the extra help will benefit your child|
|F:||Special educational provision (support)|
|H:||Social care provision|
|I:||Placement - type and name of school or other institution|
|J:||Personal budget arrangements|
|K:||Advice and information - a list of the information gathered during the EHC needs assessment|
The plan should be written so that everyone can understand it. It should be clear and detailed about the amount and type of support your child will get and how the support will help your child.
You can also download our quick guide and guidance on completing Section A: