In this section you will find out about EHC plans.
If you feel that your child may have special educational needs and might need extra support, it can seem really daunting. The first step is to talk to your child’s class teacher, if you have worries about school. If it’s a health worry then talk to your GP or other health care professional who is helping your child.
Often your child’s school or setting will be able to meet their special needs. They’ll offer your child special educational provision (SEN support). This can be additional support, small group sessions, extra resources or learning in different ways to other children of their age.
The setting will always ask you for your views when they’re planning, monitoring and reviewing your child’s educational needs.
Take a look at the flowchart in the downloads section. It shows how the process in school is likely to work.
Sometines a child or young person with special educational needs (SEN) will be getting SEN Support from their school or setting. Sometimes, reviews may show they need more support.
If this is the case, you or the setting can ask for an Assessment. There is a form in the dowmload box for this. Parents/carers and the child/young person must fill this in and submit this with the application. There is no limit to how much parents and carers can add.
You will need to work with the school or setting to complete some paperwork that tells people a bit about you and your child and also shows how the school or setting has been supporting your child already. Once this is done it is sent to the Local Authority. A panel of people will look at the information and decide on any extra support that might be needed.
From the point of assessment, the process should take no longer than 20 weeks.
For a more details of what you and the school need to do and the times things take, look at the other sections below..
In the case of very young children who aren't yet in an educational setting, early support will usually have been provided by a range of agencies working closely with the family.
Getting an EHC plan follows 5 steps.
Step One - Identifying
This is when it is known or suspected that a child or young person has special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND). Also, SEN support hasn't helped enough.
Step Two - Assessing
An EHC Needs Assessment finds information about a child/young person's education, health and care needs. They ask parents, the child and key professionals for their opinions. From the evidence collected the Local Authority then decide if they will issue an EHC Plan.
Step Three - Planning
When it is agreed that more support is needed, the local authority will make a plan that will explain what sorts of extra support is needed.
Step Four - Actioning
This step is when the plan starts and the support is given.
Step Five - Reviewing
Every year the progress in the EHCP is looked at. Any changes needed are agreed with parents, the young person and professionals.
This process has to be completed within 20 weeks.
There is a separate form provided for parents and their child to complete. This form is sent in with the main assessment to support the application. There is no limit to how much parents can submit. A copy is available in the downloads section of this page,
You can get support with completing the form from your childs school or from SENDIASS, who are an independent advice service which is set up to support children with SEND and their parents/carers,
SENCOs should ensure a detailed application. This must highlight a child or young person’s needs. It should include provision and impact against progress. More information submitted at this stage will mean a robust decision can be made.
EHC applications should include
- Detailed Needs Analysis and how the parents’ views informed the setting’s understanding of the child’s needs
- Historical information about child’s developmental milestones and rate of progress.
- Current information about the nature, extent and context of the child’s SEN.
- Action being taken by the setting to meet each of the child’s SEN.
- Where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of extra support above what is usually provided.
- Details of child’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs.
- Impact of evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and actions to meet recommendations
- How QFT has been embedded. As well as details of modified activities and routines and any reasonable adjustments which have been made.
- All professional reports from within the last 12 months where advice is still active and ongoing.
Applications need detailed evidence to support the request. If too little evidence is presented, the decision groups may defer. This means school will need to submit additional information. Parents must be shown the completed application and evidence being used. The parents must sign to say they have seen the application and its contents.
How to Apply for an EHC Needs Assessment – Information for Parents
There is a separate form provided for this. Parents and child must complete and submit this with the application. There is no limit to how much parents can submit.
Including a Young Person’s Views
In the application there should be a recorded discussion of the child or young person’s needs. It should include any help and support and what more they need. The EHC team have made a template but schools can present this in a format that fits the child/young person’s age, stage of development and preferred communication method. Submit all as attachments with the application.
The whole process will take a maximum of 20 weeks. There are legal requirements to complete certain parts of the process within that time.
The application is received by the EHC Assistant Coordinators. They will review the information received and may ask for further evidence.
The EHC Portal Group meets and decides whether to agree to carry out the Needs Assessment.
Following the decision to carry out a Needs Assessment, an EHC Coordinator will be allocated to the family. They will contact the family/ young person to introduce themselves. They will explain the process and discuss suitable methods of contact.
The Needs Assessment will be carried out. The coordinator gathers the information provided from all professionals. Next, the parents/carers/ young person will be given the chance to meet with the EHC Coordinator to discuss the information received. This information will form the content of the EHC plan. This can be with the child/young person’s setting or in a separate meeting.
The case is sent to the Outcomes and Resources Group (ORG) by the coordinator from the EHC Team. The group examine and discuss the information presented. They will decide whether an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is appropriate or not at this time. Parents/carers/young person and setting are informed of the outcome of the meeting. The EHC Coordinator will explain the next steps in the process.
The EHC coordinator will put all the information into an EHC plan. They will issue a Draft version of the EHC plan to parent/carers/young person and settings. They have 15 days to respond with any thoughts or views. Once the content of the Draft is decided, the EHC Coordinator will begin discussions with settings. Settings have 15 days to agree if they can meet the needs of the child/young person outlined in the EHC Plan. The Local Authority will consider the parent/carers/young person’s preference for setting, along with local qualifying settings. They will consider representations made by the settings before naming them in the EHC Plan.
The final plan is issued and sent out to parents/carers/young person and settings. The plan will be reviewed within 12 months of the issue date. If parents/carers/young person do not agree to the plan, they have the right to mediation and tribunal. The EHC Coordinator can explain this process and what to do next.
Annual reviews are carried out every year. They look at the child or young person’s progress in achieving the outcomes in the EHC Plan.
The review MUST also consider whether the outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.
• Gather and look at information. This is so it can be used by Early Years settings, schools, colleges or other providers to support the child/young person’s progress and their access to teaching and learning
• Look at the provision made for the child or young person. Then see if it ensures access to teaching, learning and good progress
• Look at the health and social care provision made for the child or young person. Then see if it ensures good progress towards the outcomes
• Consider the appropriateness of the EHC Plan. This is based on the child or young person’s progress during the previous year. It also considers changed circumstances. It will decide whether changes are required. These may include changes to outcomes, enhanced provision, changes of educational placement, or whether the EHC Plan should be stopped.
• Review any short-term steps to achieve targets set by the setting
• Set new steps to achieve and the provision required
It is the setting’s responsibility to organise the Annual Review. This is unless the child or young person is electively home educated and then the EHC Coordinator will facilitate the meeting. It is important that:
• Dates for reviews are planned well in advance. It is recommended that the process of gathering information should start at least 6 weeks before the date of the review.
• Sufficient time will be allowed to complete the review meeting
• The review meeting MUST be completed at least 4 weeks before the anniversary of the issue of a plan.
• If the child is under 5 years old, the reviews should be held every 6 months
Annual Review Paperwork
The EHC Team have listened to feedback regarding the existing Annual Review paperwork. They recognised that it was too dense and no longer fitted to the new, ‘white’ plans. They have worked with Inclusion SENCOs to redesign the paperwork. The new documents are the Annual Review Section 1 and Annual Review Section 2. Both of these are in the downloads section of this page.
A personal budget is an amount of money that will deliver some of the provision in an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
There are a number of ways a Personal Budget can be managed.
- By the child’s parents
- By the LA, school or college
- By a third party
- A combination of all the above
Please note that you do not have to have a personal budget. You or your child will not be worse off by not having one.
Personal budgets can be asked for when agreeing the EHC plan. They can also be asked for at EHC plan review meetings.
The level of the budget and what it will fund will be agreed with you. The outcomes of the Personal budget must support your child to achieve. These will also be agreed with you. You will be given an idea of the level of funding that is likely to be needed to meet the provision in the draft EHC plan.
A personal budget may be used for the following provision:-
Special Educational Provision. Please contact the SEN Team on 01226 773966 for further information.
Personal health budget - Continuing Health Care Criteria are applied to see if you can have a personalised health budget. The decision support tool (DST) will help with this. For more information please contact a health officer e.g. health visitor, school nurse, designated clinical officer etc.
Short Breaks – the criteria is based on short breaks eligibility criteria. Please contact your social worker or the Disabled Children’s Team on 01226 774050 for further information.
The final amount of funding and the provision to be funded will be made by one of our multi-agency Panels.
The members of the panel include education, health and social care representatives and one of our joint commissioners (who commissions services for children and young people with SEN and disabilities).
The criteria for agreeing the special educational provision element of Personal Budgets are being reviewed and will be published once the review is complete.
The EHC Team keeps children, young people and their families at the centre of what we do. We believe in a person-centred approach. This ensures that children, young people and parents are involved throughout the planning and decision making process. We treat everyone as individuals and listen to what’s important to them.
We understand the difficulty surrounding SEND and EHC. We believe in a ‘share it once’ policy. We aim to reduce bureaucracy and share information sensitively and effectively. We coordinate the important information from families and other professionals to support the child or young person.
Effective communication is crucial to us. We have changed our process so that schools, families and other service users understand the steps we are taking and why we are taking them. By being clear and fair, we aim that everyone involved with the EHC Service receives an equitable service. This is no matter where you are based or who you are dealing with. Our processes are redesigned to be robust. This means that everyone can understand the decision or outcomes and why it was made.
Who We Are
Every child or young person has a dedicated EHC Coordinator who will act as a guide through the EHC processes. They will support the family to achieve best outcomes. However, you can contact any member of the EHC Service for support.
The EHC Service works within two age phases. These are split across three geographical regions, based on a young person’s home postcode; not educational setting.
- Phase 1 supports children and their families from 0 to 14 years
- Phase 2 supports young people and their families from 14 to 25 years.
At the end of Year 9, the Phase 1 Coordinator will pass the case on to the Phase 2 Coordinator. They will introduce themselves to the family. This allows discussions on preparation for adulthood and long-term outcome planning.
If your child has an EHCP, the local authority has a particular responsibility to make sure the support set out in the plan is being provided. We will investigate your complaint and look at the provision and support in place for your child.
1: The first step is to talk to the setting’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and explain your concerns.
2: If you feel your concern or complaint has not been resolved then follow the setting’s formal complaints procedure. You will usually have to put your complaint in writing to the school. If you are not happy with how the headteacher or staff have dealt with your complaint then take your complaint to the governors of the school. If the school is an academy, take it to the trust of the school the steps of the complaints process for your child’s school will be set out in the school’s own complaints policy. You should be able to find this on the school website. All schools are required to have a complaints procedure.
For more detailed information 'Complaints about schools'. Click on the link below:
3: If you have followed the school’s complaints procedure and you are still concerned about the SEN support your child is getting, you should then complain to the local authority.
Click on the link below. The link will take you directly to the Compliments, Complaints and suggestions online form:
You can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal if you disagree with a decision your local authority has made about an Education, Health and Care Plan.
There is a set process to follow. You can find out about it by clicking here.
If you have more questions about the EHC process, contact the EHC team on 01226 773966.
Or look online at EHCP Journeys. This website shows families’ views of the EHC process.