What is an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC Plan)?
Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) is the result of an EHC needs assessment of a child or young person with SEN or disabilities, where it has been found necessary to provide special educational provision.
An EHC plan is a legally binding document.
The EHC plan sets out a child or young person’s SEN and any health and social care needs in detail.
The whole process of EHC needs assessment and EHC plan development, from the point when an assessment is requested until the final EHC plan is issued, must take no more than 20 weeks (subject to exemptions as set out in the Code of Practice ).
The time limits set out below are the maximum time allowed. Steps must be completed as soon as practicable and local authorities should ensure that they have planned sufficient time for each step, so that wherever possible, any issues or disagreements can be resolved within the statutory timescales. Where the child’s parent or young person agrees, it may be possible to carry out steps much more quickly and flexibly, however, under no circumstances should the child’s parent or young person be put under pressure to agree things more quickly than they feel comfortable with.
Local authorities must give their decision in response to a request to carry out an EHC needs assessment within a maximum of 6 weeks from when the request was received.
When local authorities request information as part of the EHC needs assessment process, those supplying the information must respond within a maximum of 6 weeks from the date of the request.
If a local authority decides, following an EHC needs assessment, not to issue an EHC plan, it must inform the child’s parent or young person within a maximum of 16 weeks from the request for an EHC needs assessment.
The local authority will decide, as a result of the advice and evidence supplied, what special educational provision is required and a draft EHC plan will be prepared. The local authority must send the draft EHC plan to the child’s parent or to the young person and give them at least 15 days to give views and make representations on the content.
The finalised EHC plan must be issued within the 20 week overall time limit.
Information sheets on all stages of the Education, Health and Care Plan assessment process: Information Sheets
Writing the EHC plan
The code of practice sets out some key requirements and principles which apply to local authorities and those contributing to the preparation of an EHC plan.
- Decisions about the content should be made openly and collaboratively with parents, children and young people
- EHC plans should positively describe achievements
- EHC plans should be clear, concise, understandable and accessible
- EHC plans must specify the outcomes sought for a child or young person
- EHC plans should show how education, health and care provision should be coordinated to best achieve agreed outcomes
- EHC plans should consider how best to achieve outcomes and account must be taken of any innovative or alternative ways to receive support sought by the young person or parent
- EHC plans should describe how family and community support can help in achieving agreed outcomes
- EHC plans should be forward looking and anticipate and plan for important transition points in a child or young person’s life, including transition into adult life.
- EHC plans should have a review date
Content of EHC plans
The EHC plan sets out a child or young person’s SEN and any health and social care needs and provision.
The format of an EHC plan will be agreed locally, however, as a statutory minimum, EHC plans must include the following sections, which must be separately labelled from each other using the letters below.
|Section||Information to include|
|(A) describes the views interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or of the young person||
|(B) gives a description of the child or young person’s special educational needs (SEN)||
|(C) gives a description of the child or young person’s health needs related to their SEN||
|(D) gives a description of the child or young person’s social care needs related to their SEN||
|(E) describes the outcomes sought for the child or young person||
An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention.
When agreeing outcomes, it is important to consider both what is important to the child or young person – what they themselves want to be able to achieve – and what is important for them as judged by others with the child or young person’s best interests at heart
An outcome should be personal and something that those involved have control and influence over.
An outcome should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART).
|(F) describes special educational help or provision required to address the child or young person’s needs||
|(G) describes the health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN||
|(H1) describes the special social care services that must be provided as a result of section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970||
These services include practical assistance and adaptations in the home, any special equipment necessary, assistance in obtaining and traveling to recreational and educational facilities. It also includes facilitating the taking of holidays and non-residential short breaks(included in Section H1 on the basis that the child as well as his or her parent will benefit from the short break).
|(H2) describes any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN||
|(I) Placement: gives the name and type of school that the child should go to||
Details of individual Portsmouth schools, maintained nursery schools and post-16 institutions can be found under Education at:Portsmouth Local Offer
|(J) describes how a personal budget (if any) will be used||
Portsmouth City Council Personal Budget Policy can be found at:PCC Policy
|(K) supplementary information gathered during the needs assessment||
Finalising the EHC Plan
When changes are suggested to the draft EHC plan by the child’s parent or the young person and agreed by the local authority, the draft plan should be amended and issued as the final EHC plan as quickly as possible.
The final EHC plan can differ from the draft EHC plan only as a result of any representations made by the child’s parent or the young person and decisions made about the school or other institution to be named in the EHC plan.
IPSEA EHC Plan Checklist may be useful when reviewing the draft plan before signing.
The local authority must not make any other changes – if the local authority wishes to make other changes it must re-issue the draft EHC plan to the child’s parent or the young person.
The final EHC plan should be signed and dated by the local authority officer responsible for signing off the final plan.
Where changes suggested by the child’s parent or the young person are not agreed, the local authority may still proceed to issue the final EHC plan.
The local authority must notify the child’s parent or the young person of their right to appeal to the Tribunal and the time limit for doing so, of the requirement for them to consider mediation should they wish to appeal, and the availability of information, advice and support and disagreement resolution services.
The local authority should also notify the child’s parent or the young person how they can appeal the health and social care provision in the EHC plan.
As well as the child’s parent or the young person, the final EHC plan must also be issued to the governing body, proprietor or principal of any school, college or other institution named in the EHC plan, and to the relevant CCG (or where relevant, NHS England).
Where a nursery, school or college is named in an EHC plan, they must admit the child or young person.
The headteacher or principal of the school, college or other institution named in the EHC plan should ensure that those teaching or working with the child or young person are aware of their needs and have arrangements in place to meet them. Institutions should also ensure that teachers and lecturers monitor and review the child or young person’s progress during the course of a year.
Maintaining special educational provision in EHC plans
When an EHC plan is maintained for a child or young person the local authority must secure the special educational provision specified in the plan. If a local authority names an independent school or college in the plan it must also meet the costs of the fees, including any boarding and lodging where relevant.
Maintaining social care provision in EHC plans
For social care provision specified in the plan, existing duties on social care services to assess and provide for the needs of disabled children and young people under the Children Act 1989 continue to apply.
Where the local authority decides it is necessary to make provision for a disabled child or young person under 18 pursuant to Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person Act (CSDPA) 1970, it must secure that provision.
Where the young person is over 18, the care element of the EHC plan will usually be provided by adult services.
Maintaining health provision in EHC plans
For health care provision specified in the EHC plan, the CCG (or where relevant NHS England) must ensure that it is made available to the child or young person.
Reviewing an EHC plan
Formal reviews by the local authority of the EHC plan must take place, as a minimum, every 12 months. Reviews must focus on the child or young person’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan and consider whether these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate. EHC plans should be used to actively monitor children and young people’s progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations.
If a child or young person’s SEN change, the local authority should hold a review as soon as possible to ensure that provision specified in the EHC plan is appropriate.
SEN Code of Practice: 0-25 years 2014. Chapter 9 - covers all the key stages in statutory assessment and planning and preparing the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, and guidance on related topics.
An example of a Portsmouth City Council EHC Plan can be found at:
Portsmouth SEND IASS can support families through this process.
Tel: 0300 303 2000