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 will support the child or young person to achieve what they want in their life.
What is an Education, Health and Social Care (EHC) plan?
Who needs an EHC plan?
EHC plans are for children and young people whose special educational needs require more help than would normally be provided in a mainstream education setting (college, school, nursery).
Although the plan can include health or social care needs, your child will not get a plan if they only have health or social care needs, that do not affect their education.
An EHC plan can be issued to a child or young person between the ages of 0 and 25 years.
How do I get an EHC plan?
EHC plans are drawn up by the Local Authority after an EHC Needs Assessment. A child’s education setting, parent or carer, or your child, if over 16, can ask your Local Authority to carry out an assessment.
What does an EHC plan/draft EHC plan look like?
There is no national standard format for the EHC plan. However it must have certain sections that are clearly labelled.
The sections are:
A: The views, interests and aspirations of you and your child.
B: Special educational needs (SEN).
C: Health needs related to SEN.
D: Social care needs related to SEN.
E: Outcomes – how the extra help will benefit your child
F: Special educational provision (support).
G: Health provision.
H: Social care provision.
I: Placement – type and name of school or other institution (blank in the draft plan)
J: Personal budget arrangements.
K: Advice and information – a list of the information gathered during the EHC Needs Assessment.
The different sections, may at first seem like a confusing alphabet soup. It can help to understand that there are three sections on needs (i.e. your child’s difficulties) that are matched by corresponding provision (the help your child will get) to meet those needs:
- “Section B: Special Educational Needs” are met by “Section F: Special Educational Provision”.
- “Section C: Health care needs” are met by “Section G: Health care Provision”.
- “Section D: Social care needs” are met by “Section H: Social care Provision”.
Here’s a bit more information
Section A can be useful in providing a quick summary of your child. It should be based on information given by you and your child or young person. Section A is not legally binding, so the main detail of the plan should not be in here.
Section B describes 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 contains any health care needs relating to your child’s condition or SEN. This can be physical or mental health difficulties, for example difficulties with eating, severe anxiety, or a medical condition such as Epilepsy.
Section D contains any social care needs relating to your child’s special educational needs or disability. For example, support to join in with activities outside home and school.
Section E contains the outcomes anticipated for your child. The outcomes describe what your child will be able to do as a result of getting the extra help in the EHC plan. Outcomes can be about reaching a particular educational level, or they can be things that are important to your child, such as being able to take part in an out of school activity.
Section F contains details of the help your child will get in school. This section must be specific and quantified. It should be very clear how much help, how often, and who will give it. Therapies such as speech and language must normally be in section F.
Section G is the healthcare provision required. For example, medication, equipment (such as a wheelchair), nursing support, monitoring seizures etc.
Section H is social care provision. This might be short breaks, out of school activities or support for the family at home.
Section I names the school or other institutions your child attends. In a draft EHC plan, this must always be left blank, because this is when you can tell your Local Authority what school you want your child to go to.
If you have requested a personal budget, Section J will contain information about this. A personal budget is not extra money, but a more flexible way of using the funding allocated to your child. See our separate information on personal budgets.
Section K contains all the reports gathered as part of the assessment process.
How long does the plan last?
The plan will remain in place until your child leaves education or the Local Authority decides that your child no longer needs the plan to help them in their education. If you move to another Local Authority, the plan will be transferred. See more about a change in circumstances.
Annual review of the plan
If a child or young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) the Local Authority (LA) must review the EHCP at least once a year.
The Review must focus on progress towards achieving the outcomes or goals set out in their EHCP and:
- From year 9, focus on preparing for adulthood
- For children under 5, the review should take place every 3-6 months
Reviews must take into account the views, wishes and feelings of children, young people and parents. If there’s any concern about progress, the review may be brought forward.
What is an Annual Review of an Education, Health and Social Care (EHC) plan?
Below are some FAQ’s that explain further about the Annual Review of an ECHP. Alternatively, you can contact the service directly to ask questions or seek support at a meeting.
Why does there need to be an Annual Review?
An Annual Review is held to consider if the outcomes or targets have been achieved. New outcomes and provision can be set if needed, and aspirations changed.
The purpose of the meeting is to review the EHCP by:
• Bringing together all those involved in helping achieve the outcomes set out in the plan
• Gathering and considering information so that it can be used to support future progress
• Reviewing the effectiveness of any special educational, health or social care provision made for a child/YP
• Considering whether any changes need to be made to the EHCP including medium and long term outcomes
• Considering whether an EHCP should continue
Who may attend?
The Head Teacher must invite:
• Parent/carers or the young person
• A relevant teacher, who may be the class teacher or form/year tutor, the SENCO, or some other person responsible for the provision of their education
• A representative from the Local Authority. Your SENAT Officer will be invited, however, they will not be able to attend every review. If you have any concerns, make sure that you contact them to let them know you would like them to be at the meeting
• A Health Service representative and a Local Authority Social Care representative if required
• Anyone else the Head Teacher/Principal considers appropriate. It is unlikely that everyone invited will be able to attend the review meeting. The Head Teacher/Principal should try to ensure that the date of the meeting is convenient for you and for those people who it is important to have there.
What happens before the meeting?
The Head Teacher/Principal must ask for written reports from:
• You (the school/college may give you a form to use if you wish)
• Teachers or tutors
• Other people invited to the review meeting
The Head Teacher/Principal must then:
• Send copies of the written reports to all those invited to the review meeting at least two weeks before it takes place
• Invite further views, including comments from those who are unable to attend the meeting
What should I include in my report?
• Progress over the last year
• What has pleased you, and also any concerns
• What needs to be considered in school/college for the coming year
• What you think you and the school/college can do to help meet those needs
• The child /YP’s views about school/college
How children and young people are involved:
• Pupils should be encouraged to give their views in the review process, as they must be taken into account at the review
• Wherever possible, they should attend all or part of the annual review meeting, especially from year 9
• As a parent, you may wish to talk to the school about your child/YP’s involvement in the review process
What happens at the review meeting?
The review meeting must focus on progress made towards achieving the outcomes set out in the EHCP. The EHCP must be looked at to see if it still meets the needs. The meeting will usually include the following:
• The extent to which the outcomes (goals) in the EHCP, or those agreed at the previous annual review, have been met
• Medium and long term outcomes for the next year
• Planning the support from school/college and other people to help achieve these objectives
• Any further action required, and who will be responsible for this
• Whether the EHCP needs amending or is no longer required
• If you do not agree with what is being suggested at the meeting, try to make that clear and write to your SENAT Officer at the LA
• Review or request a personal budget
• For young people over 18, the Local Authority must consider if the training or educational outcomes have been achieved
• From year 9 onwards, there must be a focus on preparing for Adulthood
What happens next?
Within two weeks, the school must prepare a report of the meeting and send it to everyone invited. The report must set out recommendations on any amendments or changes required to the EHCP, and should refer to any differences between the school’s recommendations and those of others attending the meeting.
Within four weeks of the meeting, the Local Authority must let you know their decision and decide whether to:
• Keep the EHCP as it is
• Amend or change it
• Cease to maintain it, and to let you know of their decision
Their letter must also tell you about:
• Your right to appeal that decision and the time limits for doing so
• The requirement for you to consider mediation should you wish to appeal
• Contact information for disagreement resolution, and advice and support from us at Luton SENDIAS Service
This is the end of the annual review process.
What happens when the Local Authority propose to amend the EHCP?
The Local Authority must send you a copy of your child’s existing EHCP saying what they are going to change. They must also send you any supporting evidence or information these changes come from.
• You have 15 days to consider and make comments on these changes. You can ask for a meeting with your SENAT Officer to discuss it if you are not happy – they may be able to make changes. You can ask that a particular school be named in the EHCP
• If the Local Authority decides to go ahead with making amendments. they must issue an amended EHCP within 8 weeks of the original notice. This should clearly show which parts have been amended, include the minutes of the Annual Review meeting and any relevant reports should be attached
• If the Local Authority decides not to make the changes or amendments, they must inform you, giving reasons, within 8 weeks
• The Local Authority must tell you about your right to appeal
What happens when the Local Authority propose to cease the EHCP?
• You must be informed and consulted
• Support should not be withdrawn before the end of the current academic year
• Again, you have the right of appeal
• If you do register an appeal, the EHCP must be maintained until the appeal has been decided
If you disagree with the decision made by the Local Authority:
• You should discuss this with your SENAT Officer
• You have the right to use the mediation service. This will involve the help of an independent mediator who can help people try to reach an agreement.
• You can also appeal to the First Tier Tribunal, two months from the date on the decision letter or one month from the mediation certificate, whichever is the later
• Ring us at Luton SENDIAS Service or look on our website for more information
What is a Transition Plan?
Annual Reviews from Year 9 (Age 14) onwards
From Year 9 onwards, Annual Reviews must include a focus on preparing for adulthood including employment, independent living and participation in society.
When a child is in Year 9, a transition plan will be drawn up as part of the Annual Review.
The plan helps children and YP think about their future including GCSE options or alternatives and what they would like to do once they are 16 and beyond. This transition plan also looks at the child’s/YP’s aspirations and needs as adult life approaches, and must be built into the EHCP. The transition plan is updated at each annual review meeting until they are 25 (if they still have an EHCP).
The review must include:
• Higher education and/or employment – exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies
• Independent living – young people having choice, freedom and control over their lives, their support, and their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
• Participating in society – having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in and contributing to the local community
• Being as healthy as possible in adult life
• The school who will provide information about the learning programme of support. Schools also have a duty to provide independent and impartial careers guidance for children and young people.
• Children and YP will be able to say what they feel their needs are and what they would like to do after leaving school. Their views, wishes and feelings should be recorded.
• Parents and family will be able to give their views on what they would like for the child/YP after they leave school. They can also discuss what practical help may be needed, and how they can support them in developing their personal and social skills needed in adult life, including the possibility of a personal budget.
• Social Care, so that arrangements can be made for any assessment under the Disabled Persons Act 1986 and/or the Care Act 2014.
• Health Service, who will provide advice on the services that are likely to be required.
• A Post-16 institution representative should be invited, especially if your child/YP has expressed a desire to attend a particular college.
Who will be involved?
All 16-19 year old YP will be expected, but not required, to be in some form of education or training, full or part time. This can continue until the age of 25 for those with an EHCP and should continue to address their needs and aspirations.
This does not mean YP have to stay at school. They could:
• Attend full or part time education at college
• Take up an apprenticeship
• Take a Traineeship or Supported Internship, which involves work experience and study
• Go to work (The ECHP will then cease)
There are helpful booklets and information about preparing for adult life on the SENDIAS website and also on the SEND Luton local Offer website: https://directory.luton.gov.uk/kb5/luton/directory/localoffer.page
What is an Annual Review of an Education, Health and Social Care (EHC) plan?