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What is an Education Health and Care Plan?

An Education Health & Care plan (EHCP) is a legal document that sets out the education, health and social care needs of a child or young person (0-25 years) and the support that is necessary to help them make progress and achieve their identified outcomes 

They are for children and young people who have complex additional or special educational needs (SEND) and need more help in an educational setting than most children or young people. 

Most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are supported successfully by the school (under SEN Support) without the need for additional support. However, for some children and young people more support is needed, and this is where an EHCP comes in. 

  • Identifies educational, health and social needs. It sets out the additional support to meet those needs for a child or young person to achieve their best possible outcomes. 
  • Is based on a child or young person’s needs and aspirations 
  • Specifies how services will work together to meet a child or young person’s needs and achieve agreed outcomes 
  • Is a legal document 
  • Can start from a child’s birth (if appropriate) and can remain in place until a young person is 25 
  • Is used to secure the provision which is assessed as being necessary and is above that provided at SEN support. 

When these needs cannot be met in this way, or the child/young person is not making expected progress despite the support offered at school, it may be necessary to have an EHC needs assessment. 

The purpose of an EHC needs assessment is to look if additional special educational provision is required to meet the needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes and to prepare them for adulthood as they get older. 

The Local Authority will carry out an EHC assessment and use the information to: 

  • Record the views and aspirations of the child/young person and their family;
  • provide a description of the special educational need;
  • establish appropriate outcomes based on the needs and aspirations of the child/young person; and
  • specify the provision needed across education, health and social care to meet needs and support the identified outcomes.

You should: 

  1. Check that the child or young person is receiving SEN Support and the school, college or early years setting is using the graduated approach to SEN support, also known as ‘assess, plan, do, review’ 
  2. If you do not agree or are not happy with the existing SEN Support that the school, college or early years setting have in place you should consider resolving this through disagreement resolution  

Generally speaking, a request for an EHC assessment will come to the Local Authority from the child/young person’s educational setting, although parents and young people (16-25) may also make a request. In all cases, a conversation should be had between the school or settings’ SENCo and the parents/young person about any referrals for EHC assessments. 

Educational settings are responsible for providing support for children with SEND, if the educational setting has gradually increased the amount of support being put in place and carrying out regular reviews to see if progress is being made and can demonstrate that further support is needed, they can apply for an EHCP. 

The short animations below were developed by the Council for Disabled Children, to help explain the EHCP process and its important relationship with the Person - Centred Connection.

Last updated: 2/15/2023