What is an EHCP?

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Sarah Woosey

Interim Head of Education Law

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An Education, Health and Care Plan, known as an EHCP, is a legal document which includes the details of a child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) and the support that they may need at school. An EHCP also includes information in relation to their social care and health needs.

Below we explain how to get an EHCP, what should be included in the plan, and provide advice on what a good EHCP should look like.

An EHCP is issued by your Local Authority. They have a legal duty to make sure that any provision specified in the plan is delivered to your child. For example, if 1 to 1 support or Speech and Language Therapy is specified within Section F of an EHCP, but isn’t being provided to your child, it may be possible to go to Court using a Judicial Review.

A Judicial Review, in relation to an EHCP, is an action in the High Court against your Local Authority. The Judicial Review can resolve a situation by ordering the Local Authority to arrange the provision listed in Section F of your child’s EHCP.

For legal advice call our Education Solicitors and SEN Lawyers.

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How to Get an EHCP

You can apply to your Local Authority for an EHC needs assessment as a parent, or your child’s school could make an EHC needs assessment application for you. You don’t need the agreement of your child’s school to ask for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment, but it’s helpful if they agree that an EHCP is needed.

If the Local Authority refuse to assess your child, or carry out an assessment but refuse to issue a plan, you can appeal that decision to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. For details see How to Appeal an EHCP.

What Should be Included in an EHCP?

Once an EHCP is issued, there are a number of sections that should be included. They are:

The views of yourself and your child, including their interests and aspirations

A description of your child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN)

A description of your child’s health needs which relate to their SEN

A description of your child’s social care needs relating to their SEN

The outcomes sought for your child’s education. This could include outcomes for adult life and arrangements for setting shorter term targets

The health care provision reasonably required by your child. This could include an individual health care plan

The social care provision which your child reasonably requires

The name and type of educational establishment that your child will attend

Details of any personal budget which you may be entitled to

The advice and information used to draft the EHCP

For more information see What a Good EHCP Should Look Like

The EHCP should be reviewed annually to make sure the EHCP is still appropriate. It will also consider if any changes need to be made and the progress being made by your child.

From Year 9 onwards, the annual review should include a focus on “preparing for adulthood”. This includes employment (if appropriate), higher education and independent living.

EHCPs can potentially continue until the young person reaches the age of 25, as long as the young person continues in education. An EHCP won’t continue if they study a higher education course, such as a University Degree or Higher National Diploma.

Unfortunately, it can be a fight to secure an EHCP. Even after you’ve secured a plan, you could still have a dispute about the content of your child’s plan. You could be concerned that the description of their needs in the plan is not accurate, is misleading or incomplete, or the provision required to meet your child’s needs are not properly specified or quantified.

If you have a dispute about certain sections of your child’s EHCP, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Similarly, if you are concerned that the school specified in the plan won’t meet your child’s needs, you can also appeal. The deadlines to make an appeal are short. They must be made within two months of a decision letter.

If you are at all worried or concerned about your child’s EHCP, our Education Solicitors and SEN Lawyers can help you.

We can:

  • Tell you if the contents of your child’s plan are lawful and fit for purpose
  • Discuss your prospects of a successful appeal
  • Securing a right to appeal and tell you how to lodge an appeal.

Call and speak to one of our Education Lawyers who can help you with your child’s EHCP.

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