Most young people will already receive a wide range of support for special educational needs, through their setting, school or college. An education, health and care (EHC) plan is a document which sets out any additional support identified to cater for special education needs identified through the EHC needs assessment.
Who is it for?
For children and young people with a special educational need or disability that can't be met with the usual support available in a school or college.
You can have a plan until the age of 25 while the young person remains in education. If it's agreed at an annual review, that a plan is no longer necessary, it can stop before 25.
How do I get a plan?
If you think your child has special educational needs or disabilities and needs extra support, speak to their teacher or Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
They can talk to you about beginning the support, which will set out areas of need and the support required. A request for an assessment can be made by a parent or the young person if aged 16-25.
When we consider whether an assessment is needed, your child or young person's needs will be assessed by education, health and social care professionals.
A request can be done together with your child’s school, a doctor, health visitor or nursery worker.
This flow chart shows the time scales on your journey to apply for an assessment.
What happens next?
After a request is made, we decide within 6 weeks whether or not to carry out the assessment. If the assessment shows a need for an EHC plan, this will be produced within 20 weeks of the request.
To create a plan, professionals from education, health and care will work with the parents and the child to consider what outcomes are desired and what is needed to achieve them. A draft copy of the plan will be sent to you to consider and suggest changes. You will have 15 days to request changes. The school or setting named on the EHC plan will also be consulted and has 15 days to respond.
EHC plans have the same legal protection as the previous Statements of SEN and you also have the right to ask for independent support during the process. It should be developed together with the family, parents/carers and all professionals involved with the child or young person.
What happens if my request is refused?
If we decide not to complete the assessment, we will inform you within 6 weeks.
If after the assessment, it is decided not to issue an EHC plan, we must inform you within 16 weeks of the first request.
If you are not happy with either of these decisions then you will have 2 months to consider mediation and make an appeal to a tribunal.
Young people without an EHC plan will still receive the support they need in their mainstream nursery, school or college where funding is allocated to the setting to support children and young people with SEND.