How Long Does an EHCP Take for a Child with SEND?

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Daniel Rosenberg Profile Picture
Dan Rosenberg

Partner, Education & Public Law Solicitor

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When it comes to EHCPs, it’s important for everyone involved in the case to know and understand the EHCP deadlines, so that you are able to follow the process and so you can get things in place for your child or children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The process is stressful enough without it dragging on indefinitely.

Our Education Law Solicitors understand that the deadlines around EHCPs can get confusing, can be easily missed and difficult to deal with when local authorities do not engage or comply. We have outlined below a reminder of the deadlines around getting an EHCP.

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The EHCP Timeline: From Request to Resolution

The starting point is that your Local Authority has 20 weeks from the day you requested an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) to issue a final EHCP.

Either you or your child’s school/college can request an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for your child with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). After you first request an EHCNA, the Local Authority have 6 weeks to decide whether to carry out an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.

This assessment, if agreed, will allow the Local Authority to understand what your child’s needs are and see what kind of support your child needs so they can make a decision about whether to issue an EHCP. If they decide not to issue an EHCP they must tell you their decision no later than 16 weeks after your request for an EHCNA.

If they agree to issue an EHCP, the Local Authority should send you a draft EHCP and you will have 15 days to comment on it and to tell the Local Authority what school you’d like your child to attend. .

Your Local Authority must issue a final Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) no later than 20 weeks after your request for an EHCNA.

There can be several exceptions to these timeframes. The first is if the request is made during the summer holidays then the clock does not start running until the beginning of the new term.

Another significant reason why decisions are delayed is because a refusal or a need to appeal a decision not to assess and/or not to issue an EHCP effectively negates the legal timeframes. As many parents are required to appeal one or both of these decisions, it means that many people wait a lot longer than 20 weeks to secure an EHCP for their child.

For legal advice get in touch with one of our Education Law Solicitors.


Can I Appeal an EHCP?

If you do secure an EHCP, the next step is ensuring that the contents are suitable and that it is fit for purpose. If you are not happy with the contents of the final EHCP when issued, or if the Local Authority refuses to carry out an EHCNA or issue an EHCP, you will be given a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

The appeal process has specific deadlines, too, which you need to be aware of. If you get in touch with our team of Education Solicitors, we can guide you through the process so that you know exactly when each step will happen. This way, you can be prepared for the appeal, and you won’t miss any deadlines.

You must lodge your appeal either within 2 months of the date of the Local Authority’s decision, which triggers your right to appeal, or within 1 month from when you received the mediation certificate, whichever of these gives you the latest date.

Making an appeal with the SEND Tribunal can be time-consuming and complex.



Our Education Lawyers can help you draft a detailed application to appeal to the SEND Tribunal that provides enough evidence so that the appeal can be registered. We can help you with all the legal documents which can become quite complicated as the appeal goes on.

We will thoroughly listen to you and your child’s story and situation, so that we can understand your case fully. We will use this information to aid you in preparing every bit of evidence to contribute to and support your appeal going forward.

We understand how important it is for your child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to get the right EHCP, which is why we’ll keep you updated on your case at all times so that you know what’s going on with your case. This way, we’ll take some of the the stress out of the whole process and make everything run a lot smoother, so you don’t have to be left in the dark, confused and alone, trying to figure out what’s happening with your appeal.

In addition, we’ll keep on top of deadlines . We understand how important this situation is,. This is why we’re here to help at every stage of the process.

Our Education Solicitors and SEND Lawyers know how concerning it can be when your child doesn’t get the EHCP they need straight away. Our dedicated team of Education Law specialists can help you to get your child the provision they need for their education as soon as possible.

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Daniel Rosenberg Profile Picture

Dan Rosenberg

Partner, Education & Public Law Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Education Law

Dan has been with Simpson Millar since 2010, and became a Partner in 2014. 

As a leading member of our Public Law department, he works across a wide range of areas in Education Law and Community Care, with a particular interest in work for children and young people.


UK Government. (n.d.). Extra SEN help. Retrieved from

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