What is an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?
An EHCP is for those parents that have now recieved a confirmed diagnosis of autism or other learning disability and are looking into the next steps for your child's education. An EHCP is a document that replaces the previous Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulties Assessments for children and young people with special educational needs. The EHCP needs assessment must be done by the Local Authority (LA), who will deem whether the child or young person requires more support than their school or other setting currently gives them.
How to arrange support from your LA
Receiving a diagnosis for Aspergers, Autism or a learning disability can always be a very daunting situation and you may be doing a lot of research unsure on what you need to do next. Therefore, it is important for you to now look into any external support you can get for your child from the LA and at nursery or school.
Stated under part 3 Children and Families Act 2014, your LA will need to assess the special educational needs (SEN) and support your child will require, so that they can receive the best education and reach their full potential at school. It is a legal requirement that they disclose any information they provide to parents at all stages and also take on the views and feelings of both the parents and the child involved.
LAs have a legal duty of care to carry out an EHC needs assessment and issue an EHCP.
EHC Plan Checklist
For the EHCP, the LA must adhere to the guidelines set out under part 3 of the Children & Families Act 2014 (section 37) and the SEN Code of Practice (click here for the latest version). The EHCP is only legally fully compliant when all the sections have been completed and include details of the child or young person and their parents details e.g. name, date of birth, address etc.
The four main rules for EHC Planning are:
• the views, wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parent, or the young person;
• the importance of the child and his or her parent, or the young person, participating as fully as possible in decisions relating to the exercise of the function concerned
• the importance of the child and his or her parent, or the young person, being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions
• the need to support the child and his or her parent, or the young person, in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help him or her achieve the best possible education
After you have been through the assessment process, the LA then makes the decision as to whether an EHCP will be issued or not. If the LA refuses to issue an EHCP, the parents and young person must be informed of the reasons as to their application being rejected. Families also have the right to appeal their EHCP application to the Special Educational Need and Disability Tribunal.
Nevertheless if the LA agree to issue an EHCP, they must first provide a draft plan for the parents and young person to review. The LA will also publish a Local Offer (LO) containing information about all the services and support expected to be available for the child they are responsible for.
The Local Offer provisions parents can expect to be available for their child include:
• support they will receive in school from the funding they receive for the SEN
• educational, health and care provision
• training provision
• transport arrangements between home and school (children aged 5 to 16)
• services for those preparing for adulthood including living independently, money advice/ benefits and finding a job
A LA must consult the parents and child and ensure that they have sought their views and preferences.
After reviewing, the parents and young person will be asked which type of school/college they prefer e.g. mainstream or specialist school and the chosen school/college they choose to have included in the EHCP. The LA will then contact the requested school/college and discuss the EHCP further.
Annual Review of the EHCP
When the EHCP has been put in place for a child or young person, it must be reviewed annually by the LA. The first review of the ECHP must be done within the first year of the plan being finalised and put into place. Subsequent reviews need to be help within 12 months of the previous review.
The review focuses on the child or young person's progress towards acheiving the outcomes and goals set out in the their original EHCP and whether the current support they are receiving is sufficient, or new measures need to be considered. Schools must co-operate with the LA in the review process and, as part of the review, the LA can require schools to convene and hold annual review meetings on its behalf.
The process that the LA must follow when it comes to reviewing an EHCP has been detailed in the SEND Code of Practice 2015.
• the LA will contact the parents and school (if one is being attended) about the EHCP
• an annual review meeting will be held to discuss the EHCP and the LA will give parents, schools and other professionals at least two weeks notice to gather information ahead of the meeting
• during the meeting everyone will discuss the child's progress in achieving their education goals and whether changes need to applied. Children and parents will be supported to fully engage in the review meeting
• the school will then be prepare and send a report of all the items discussed in the meeting and circulate to everybody who attended within two weeks. The report will include recommendations or amendments required to the existing EHCP
• the LA will then review the EHCP and will inform the parents of their decision within four weeks of the meeting
In the event that the LA chooses to terminate the plan, they must notify the parents of their right to appeal and the time limits of doing so.
The Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document that replaced the Statement of Special Education Needs (SEN), as of March 2018.
For more information or advice, contact us here, or call 0800 138 1184.