Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)
An EHCP is a formal legal document, written by the Local Authority (LA), which is used for children and young people from 0-25 years, with high support needs.The plan describes a child or young person’s special educational needs and the provision they will get to meet those needs. It includes any health and social care provision that is required.
An EHCP can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an EHC needs assessment.
Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments
Some children need intensive and specialist help. If your child does not make progress, despite the SEN support which is put in place for them, an EHC needs assessment might be the next step. An EHC needs assessment is a detailed look at the special educational needs (SEN) of a child or young person and the support he or she may need in order to learn. It helps to determine if your child needs an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan).
The needs assessment brings together information about:
- what your child can and cannot do
- the special help they need
It includes information from a range of people including you, your child, the early years’ setting or school, health professionals who are involved, an Educational Psychologist and Children's Social Care. You can also request that advice and information is requested from other professionals who work with or support your child; the Local Authority will consider if this is reasonable.
Next steps towards an EHCP
Once the Local Authority (LA) has all the information and advice it must decide whether your child needs an Education, Health and Care plan. Sometimes the Local Authority will decide that your child has Special Educational needs that can be met through SEN support; if this is the case they must tell you of the decision within 16 weeks of receiving a request for assessment. They must also tell you about your right of appeal.
All decisions relating to EHC needs assessments are made by a multi-agency panel comprising of representatives from health, social care, mainstream and special schools, an educational psychologist, a 0-25 SEND Officer and the SEND Service Manager.
Annual Reviews of Education Health and Care Plans
EHC plans have to be reviewed at least once a year. It is the duty of the Local Authority to review EHC plans but in schools and colleges, the head teacher or SENCO will usually conduct the meeting. The main purpose of the review is to assess the child or young person’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan. There may or may not be an Local Authority officer present. For children under 5 years, EHC plans should be reviewed every 3 – 6 months. The child or young persons aspirations and outcomes and the provision to support them should be discussed and reviewed during the meeting and any progress recorded.
The Local Authority will review the EHC plan in light of the information received. The Local Authority must notify the parent or young person of their decision within four weeks of the meeting. With regard to:
- continuing to maintain the EHC plan
- amending the EHC plan
- ceasing the EHC plan
All of these steps, not just the meeting, must be followed in order for an annual review to be completed.
More information on EHCP's
- IPSEA are an Independent Provider of Special education Advice; there is information available on their website about Annual reviews, including a checklist, which you might find useful
- The Council for Disabled Children have EHCP guidance
- SEN Code of Practice: particularly section 6