Education Heath and Care Plan
What is an EHC Plan?
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.
Where, in the light of an EHC needs assessment, it is necessary for special educational provision to be made in accordance with an EHC plan, the local authority must prepare a plan.
Who needs an EHC Plan?
EHC plans are for children and young people aged 0 to 25, who have a Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities that cannot be met by the support that is usually available at a mainstream school or college. Most children and young people with special educational needs will be provided with the support they need without the need for an EHC plan. This is called SEN support. The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them.
Some children and young people may not make the progress expected of them even with this help. When this happens, the Local Authority should carry out an EHC needs assessment. A few children and young people have such significant difficulties that an EHC needs assessment should not be delayed.
You and/or your child’s school can ask the local authority to consider an EHC needs assessment. When this assessment is finished the local authority must decide whether to issue an EHC plan.
What should the plan contain?
The SEND Code of Practice, which provides guidance to the Children and Families Act 2014, sets out what must be included in the plan in each section. It reads as follows:
Section A: You and your child’s views, interests and aspirations.
Section B: Your child’s special educational needs.
i.e.. what your child has difficulty with. The SEND code of practice defines four broad areas of SEN.
Many local authorities structure the educational sections of the EHC plan in this way, but there is no obligation to do so. These areas are:
- Cognition and learning.
- Communication and interaction.
- Social emotional and mental health.
- Sensory and physical.
Section C: Your child’s health needs which are related to their SEN.
Section D: Your child’s social care needs which are related to their SEN.
Section E: The outcomes sought for your child, including outcomes for adult life. The plan should also identify arrangements for the setting of shorter-term targets by the early years provider, school college or other education/training provider.
Section F: The special educational provision for your child’s needs.
Section G: Any health provision reasonably required to help with the developmental and/or learning difficulty/disability which have resulted in your child having SEN. Where an Individual Health Care Plan exists, this must also be included.
Section H1: Any social care provision which must be made for your child in accordance with section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
Section H2: Any other social care provision reasonably required to help with the developmental and/or learning difficulty/disability which have resulted in your child having SEN. This will include any adult social care provision being provided to meet a young person’s eligible needs under the Care Act 2014 (through a statutory care and support plan).
Section I: The name and type of school, maintained nursery school, post-16 provision or other educational setting to be attended by your child or young person.
Section J: Where there is a Personal Budget, the details of how that will support particular outcomes and the provision it will be used for. This should include any flexibility in its usage and the arrangements for any direct payments for education, health and social care.
Section K: The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment must be attached (in appendices). There should also be a list of this advice and information.
Health care provision and social care provision
Health provision could include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy services, physiotherapy and mental health services.
Social care provision could include support for independent living.
Health or social care provision made wholly or mainly for the purposes of education or training must be treated as special educational provision. For example, it has been established that since communication is a necessary skill to enable learning, speech and language therapy is generally considered as education provision.
The draft plan
When the local authority writes a plan, they will first send you a copy of the ‘draft plan’ so that you have the chance to comment on it. Along with the draft plan, the local authority will send you copies of all the professional reports, which were prepared during the EHC needs assessment.
The local authority should send you a letter with the draft plan which tells you that you have 15 days to ‘make representations’, that is, to make comments, such as requesting amendments. If when you first receive the draft plan you either do nothing or write back accepting it, the local authority will send you a final plan.
At the same time, as issuing the draft plan, the LA must advise the parent or young person where they can find information about the schools and colleges that are available for the child or young person to attend. The parent or young person then has at least 15 calendar days after receipt of the draft plan in which to:
- Make representations to the LA about the contents of the draft EHC plan;
- Ask for a meeting with an LA officer to discuss the draft EHC plan;
- Tell the LA the type of school/college (mainstream or special) and the actual school/college they would like named in the final EHC plan. This maybe their current school.
How do I know if the EHC plan is right for my child?
The content of your child’s EHC plan is drawn from the reports listed under Section K. Read through the reports, highlight all the needs that have been identified and all the provisions professionals say is needed to support your child’s needs.
Then you need to consider;
- Does Section B provide a clear and full description of your child’s special educational needs? Is every need listed?
- Is it clear in Section F exactly what provision (in terms of support or specialist input) your child will be receiving, to meet the needs described in section B who will be providing the input and how often?
Further information on EHC Plans here: EHCP Checklist
Will the EHC Plan be reviewed?
Yes. The responsibility for carrying out annual reviews lies with the local authority, but in most cases the local authority delegates organisation of the review meeting to your child’s school/ college.
The local authority has a duty to review an EHC Plan within 12 months of when the EHCP was first issued, and thereafter within 12 months of the last review.
More information on this in our Annual Review Factsheet in this section.