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.

Overall, the main point of an Education, Health and Care Plan is to lay out exactly what Special Educational Needs and Disabilities a child or young person has and specify the provision required to meet those needs.

In addition, an EHCP also outlines the identified outcomes of putting this plan in place. These outcomes should be personalised to the child or young person.  

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:

Section A

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

Section B

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

Section C

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

Section D

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

Section E

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

Section F

The special educational provision required to meet their SEN

Section G

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

Section H1 and H2

The social care provision which your child reasonably requires

Section I

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

Section J

Details of any personal budget which you may be entitled to

Section K

The advice and information used to draft the EHCP.

For more information see What a Good EHCP Should Look Like.

How We Can Help

The EHCP should be reviewed annually to make sure it 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.

Get in Touch

At Simpson Millar, we understand how important an EHCP can be for both you and your child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Just like any other parent, you want your child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to do as well as they can in their life.

Our team of specialist solicitors understand this area of the law, and we know all about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and EHCPs. We  appreciate how you may be feeling about getting your child an EHCP, and how important it is for you and your child.

That’s why we can help you by providing any legal advice you may need about how to get an EHCP and how the whole system works. In addition, you may feel like the EHCP you get doesn’t reflect your child’s needs properly, or you may not get an EHCP at all. In these situations, we can help you appeal if needed. We can guide you through this process, helping to make it all feel a little less daunting.

Whatever legal help and advice you may need with getting your child an EHCP, we’re here to answer any questions you may have, and we can guide you through the whole process.


Department for Education (2020b) SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25.

King’s Printer of Acts of Parliament (no date b) Children and Families Act 2014. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/contents/enacted.

Sarah Woosey Profile Picture

Sarah Woosey

Interim Head of Education Law

Areas of Expertise:
Education Law

Sarah re-joined Simpson Millar in 2018 having previously trained at the firm before spending a number of years working for a different national firm. She has a number of years’ experience in a range of Education Law and Social Care issues and has focused particularly on getting suitable education and/or services for children and young adults with a wide range of Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.

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