What is an EHCP?
An EHCP is an Education Health and Care Plan. The EHCP is a legal document that is written by the local authority. It is a coordinated assessment and plan, to meet the special educational needs (SEN), health and social care needs of a child or young person. In the plan you will see your child’s needs listed and what provision is required for them to be met. This will include any health and care provisions that are required.
These official documents record your child’s special needs and notes:
- What reasonable adjustments schools or colleges need to make
- What extra support or therapy your child is entitled to
- What kind of school or college can meet their needs.
The Children and Families Act of September 2014 mandated that children and young people are now given EHCPs instead of Statements of SEN. Anyone with an existing Statement of SEN had to begin the ‘Transition’ to an EHCP and the duty was with the local authority to complete this process by 1st April 2018.
Who are they for?
EHC Plans are for Children and young people aged 0-25 with more complex needs, when SEN provision cannot be reasonably provided from the resources normally available to mainstream settings. EHCPs are often put into place when children and young people need additional support from school or their educational setting. However, the EHCP plan can begin from birth and continue right through to the age of 25 years old when they are in further education or training.
How do I apply for an EHCP?
To apply for an EHCP, the application can be made by someone’s school, their parents, or the young person him or herself if he/she is aged between 16 and 25. The 2014 SEND Code of Practice states that schools should start the EHCP process, and wherever possible do it with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person concerned.
Where a setting identifies a child as having SEN they must work in partnership with parents to establish the support the child needs. All settings should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review. Settings will want to have done several cycles of this before submitting an application for EHCP as they will need this evidence to show the interventions they have tried have had limited effect.
However, if you need to make a parental application, the first thing to do is write a letter to your local authority. IPSEA.org.uk have some model letters you may find useful.
There are statutory timescales for all local authorities. The process from requesting an assessment to issuing an EHC Plan can take up to 20 weeks.
What’s in an EHCP?
Format’s differ across different areas and local authorities, but included in your EHCP you will see the following sections:
Section A: You and/or your child/young persons interests, aspirations, and basic view of the situation.
Section B: Your son or daughter’s special educational needs (SEN).
Section C: Any health needs that are related to his or her SEN.
Section D: His or her social care needs.
Section E: What outcomes you’re hoping to achieve, including your long-term hopes for his or her adult life.
Section F: What special educational provision he or she requires.
Sections G & F: What provision you need health or social care services to make.
Section I: The name of your child or young person’s school or other placement, and what kind of institution it is.
Section J: This covers the Personal Budget. If you have one, Section J details how it will support particular outcomes, how it will be used, how flexible you can be in using it, and any arrangements made for direct payments for education, health and social care.
Section K: The advice and information that was gathered when the EHC needs were being assessed.
How does an EHCP help?
An EHCP is helpful to your child, you as a parent and teachers too, to support access to the required provision. For example if your child attends mainstream education but additional support is required then the school can use the EHCP funding to support your child. This can include extra equipment or visits from Speech and Language therapists for example.
If you think your child would be best suited to a special school or an autism resource based mainstream school then an EHCP will be able to support you in this placement request. You will also be able to pass the EHCP to new schools or colleges as and when your child moves onto new educational settings. This ensures they are aware of the needs of your child, as it is all written down and explained in full.
Help with an EHCP
EHCP’s are reviewed annually to ensure they are up to date, however if you are unhappy you can call an emergency review at any time. If the placement are not meeting the provision specified in the EHCP you will need to speak to the case worker or local authority as this is a legal document.
We offer support with completing the parent and ‘All about Me’ sections of the EHCP; support with writing and wording of the EHCP and ensuring you have the evidence required, particularly for parental requests; attend PCP (planning) meetings (as a treating professional); and are currently working on an EHCP workshop for parents and carers.
There are some free services offering support with the EHCP process, IPSEA have lots of useful information on their website. For local independent information, advice and support for the EHC assessment process you can contact SENDIASS. Contact (for families with disabled children) also have a national free phone number 0800 808 3555 for information and advice.
Applying for an EHCP and going through the process can be a very time-consuming and stressful process. If you would like our support in applying for an EHCP for your child, please do not hesitate to contact us.