Step one: your Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP)

What is an EHCP?

An Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) is for children and young people aged from 0 to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. An EHCP identifies educational, health and social needs and sets out the additional support to meet those needs. It can also give young people or their parents more choice about which school or other setting you’d prefer to attend.

How do I request an EHCP?

If you don’t have an EHCP and would like to find out whether you should have one, contact your local authority and ask for an Education and Health Care assessment of your needs.

  • You can request one if you are aged between 16 and 25.
  • Or your parent/carer can if you are under 16.
  • Requests can also be made by any other key individual who supports you and believes you need an assessment. For example, doctors, health visitors, teachers, and family friends.
  • In most cases, your EHCP is guided by your previous/current educational provider.

What is an Education and Health Care assessment?

Your local authority is responsible for carrying out the assessment, and you are entitled to one if you meet the following criteria:

  • whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs (SEN); and
  • whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHCP.

The assessment will identify your needs and will determine whether or not you are entitled to a plan.

Your local authority may need some supportive documentation to help your application such as:

  • Reports from your school
  • A doctors’ assessment of your condition
  • A supportive letter from a parent/carer about your needs

You should then be notified within 16 weeks as to the outcome of the assessment.

What happens if I do get an EHCP?

Once this has been agreed by your local authority, then the following 3-step process should begin:

  • A draft EHCP will be created by your local authority with a copy sent to you for review.
  • You will then have 15 days to either go over the EHCP yourself or your parent/carer so any other comments can be made regarding additional support that may be needed such as a requirement to attend a specialist college instead of taking a mainstream route.
  • From this, your local authority will have 20 weeks from the date received to respond with a final EHCP decision.

Helpful tips

No guarantees. An EHCP does not always guarantee a place at a school or college, nor does it mean that you must go to a special school or college.

 Get it arranged early. An EHCP can take a considerable amount of time to complete so be sure to get the application going as soon as you can by speaking with your parents, previous/current educational provider, and/or your doctor(s) and health visitor(s).

Your EHCP will highlight multiple support options that may be required such as support staff which is explained in more detail in Step three: getting the right support in place, Step four: funding and Step five: technology.

 Consider challenging. You can challenge any decisions that are made. This may be anything from your local authority choosing not to carry out an assessment or create a plan in the first place, or decisions further down the line surrounding the designated support recommended and provided.

Unfortunately, it may be the case where you have not been able to come to a suitable plan. Unresolved problems with your local authority can then be advanced for appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.

 Annual review. The EHCP is reviewed annually by your local authority where changes may be made if your condition has improved/declined or it may stay the same. The review should have your involvement as you help to determine the support you receive, especially if your needs change. It’s recommended to keep notes or a helpful list of how you feel you can benefit most from the review to your EHCP. 

There are lots of helpful resources available

The Special Needs Jungle has useful resources outlining the processes taken when conducting an Education Health Care assessment.

IPSEA has extensive resources taking you through the whole process from applying for an assessment to using your EHCP through to appealing against any decisions.

Check out the other steps...

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