Education, Health and Care Plans
Most children and young people with special educational needs will have their needs met through extra support provided by the education setting. This is known as SEN Support and can include a wide range of provision and interventions.
Read more about SEN Support in our Education pages.
However, if the educational setting has exhausted all the possible support options and your child or young person is still not making expected progress, or where the setting is not sure how to support your child, it might be appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment (the first stage in getting an EHC plan).
EHC Needs Assessment
Requesting an EHC needs assessment
Talk to the SENCO in school (or to student/learning support for a college or the keyworker in a nursery) about the support in place, your child/young person’s rate of progress and what their plan for next steps might be.
When considering a request for an EHC needs assessment, the local authority will expect to see evidence of any progress that has been made, and that the setting has done everything they can to help your child or young person.
If your child is not yet attending or finding it difficult to attend nursery, school or college due to their special educational needs, requesting an EHC needs assessment may be an appropriate option.
Once the local authority receives a request, they will send to you a 'Views Form' for you to complete and return, including your child's views, within 15 calendar days.
The team will also be requesting information from your child's educational setting. You will be asked to sign the paperwork before the educational setting sends this to the local authority. You can take the paperwork away with you to give you time to read through prior to signing.
The local authority must decide whether to proceed with an assessment and let you know within six weeks of the initial request. They will always contact you as a parent or young person – even where the request was made by the school or college.
For more detailed information, please have a look at our information leaflet on EHC needs Assessment which covers:
- What is an EHC needs assessment?
- When is an EHC needs assessment necessary?
- Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment?
- What happens if the local authority decides that an EHC needs assessment is not necessary?
- What happens if the EHC needs assessment goes ahead?
- How long does it take?
- What to do if you do not agree with a decision
Waltham Forest have created an EHC needs assessment timeline which can be viewed here.
There is also some helpful information about Waltham Forest's EHCP Pathway which outlines the process.
Special Needs Jungle has also produced two useful flowcharts:
Every EHC plan must include at least 12 sections, but each local authority can decide how to set these out.
The sections are:
Once you receive the Draft Plan, you will have 15 calendar days to make any comments or recommendations that you wish to it.
For more information on what each section should contain, have a look through IPSEA's EHC Plan Checklist.
You can also view an example EHC plan here.
The purpose of an EHC plan Annual Review is to ensure that the contents of the EHC plan are still relevant and are helping your child to make progress towards their aspirations and the outcomes in their plan.
The Annual Review is an opportunity to look closely at the plan and make sure it is helping your child to achieve what they would like to be able to do as they get older.
You will be able to propose any changes you would like to see made to their plan, for example with the support that is provided or with the outcomes themselves.
The SEND Code of Practice says:
Mediation, Appeals and Tribunals
If you are not happy with the local authority’s decision during an Education, Health and Care needs assessment, you have the following options:
- Talk with your Local Authority Case Officer, who can explain the decision to you and could offer you a meeting to discuss ways forward to resolve disagreements informally.
- Mediation between you and the local authority in a neutral and independently facilitated meeting. Working together through the mediation process will help to clarify the issues and explore options to reach acceptable solutions. Any outcomes agreed are legally binding.
- Appeal to the Special, Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal who have the legal authority to challenge or uphold a local authority decision. This is a legal process that is set up for parents and young people to be able to present their own case without the need for legal representation.
To appeal the placement (Section I) only, you must submit your appeal paperwork to the SEND tribunal within 2 months of the date of the local authority decision letter.
To appeal Sections B and/or F only, or B, F and I of the Education, Health and Care plan, you must contact "KIDS" within two months of the date of the local authority decision letter to discuss whether you want to have a mediation meeting or go straight to appeal.
To contact Kids Mediation service:
If you chose to go straight to appeal, KIDS will issue a certificate to allow you to appeal.
If you have mediation, a certificate will be issued following the meeting, so that you can appeal if you are not happy with the outcome of the mediation meeting.
PLEASE NOTE: You must submit your appeal form, either within one month from the date on the Mediation Certificate or within two months of the date on the local authority decision letter, whichever is the latest date.
You can appeal the following:
- Not to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment
- Not to issue an Education, Health and Care plan
- The special educational needs and provision in the Education, Health and Care plan (sections B and F)
- The school named in the Education, Health and Care plan (section I)
- Not to maintain an Education, Health and Care plan
- Not to amend or replace an Education, Health and Care plan following a reassessment, or review
- You can also ask the tribunal to make a recommendation for Health or Social Care needs where you disagree with:
- The health needs and provision in the Education, Health and Care plan (Section C and G)
- The Social Care needs and provision in the Education, Health and Care plan (Section D and H1/H2)
For more infomation on the mediation process and the support which is available, visit the KIDS website.
Special Needs Jungle has a useful flowchart explaining the appeal process which is called "what to do if you disagree".
Visit the gov.uk website to find out the process of "how to appeal a SEN decision".
We have also developed a factsheet about "what if I do not agree" which gives more detailed information on the processes.