EHCP Process explained
What is an EHCP?
An EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) is a legally binding document that outlines a child’s/ young persons educational, social and health needs. This document must list all of the persons SEN needs, and is therefore quite detailed and specific. The plan is for those aged 0-25 with SEN needs that require the support beyond the means of an educational setting at SEN (Special Educational Needs) level. Some people may also have Social Care or Health Care needs too, which can be included on the plan, so long as they relate to education. It will last until the young person leaves education or at the age of 25, whichever is first. The EHCP will be reviewed annually at least.
Step 1: EHCP Application for assessment
Contrary to popular belief, this application can be made by parents. However, it can also be made by the following:
- An educational setting
- Social worker
A written request must be sent to the (LA) Local Authority – this will initiate the process. The LA then has 6 weeks from the date that the request was received to decide whether to assess a person or not. If the LA make a decision to not assess a person, you are able to lodge an appeal with the SENDIST (Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal) This is known as a Refusal to Assess Hearing.
Step 2: LA decision on issuing EHCP
After assessing a person, the LA must then decide whether it is beneficial to issue an EHCP or not. There is 2 directions this could go:
- The LA agrees to issue an EHCP – they will have up to 12 weeks from the assessment date to issue a draft EHCP, then a further 2 weeks to produce the final plan. This will total 20 weeks (including the decision to assess)
- The LA refuses to issue an EHCP – they must inform you of this within 10 weeks of the EHC assessment. In this case, you can appeal this decision.
Reasons for rejection
There can be many reasons for rejection:
- Lack of diagnosis on the person – no evidential support from a Paediatrician etc.
- No report from an Educational Psychologist
- The person is not deemed to be delayed enough in comparison to their peers.
Step 3: The Educational Health Care Plan
Parents/ Guardians will receive the draft version of an EHCP – they then have 15 days to comment and request additions and revisions. The draft EHCP will NOT name the Educational Setting. The letter accompanying the plan will usually name their suggested Educational Setting. Once any changes are made, the EHCP will be finalised and sent back to the parent/guardian.
What does an EHCP 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 (link to info about draft plan))
J: Personal budget arrangements.
K: Advice and information – a list of the information gathered during the EHC needs assessment.
You may be able to get a personal budget for your child if they have an EHC plan or have been told that they need one.
It allows you to have a say in how to spend the money on support for your child.
There are 3 ways you can use your personal budget. You can have:
direct payments made into your account – you buy and manage services yourself
an arrangement with your local authority or school where they hold the money for you but you still decide how to spend it (sometimes called ‘notional arrangements’)
third-party arrangements – you choose someone else to manage the money for you
You can have a combination of all 3 options.