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

Author:
Samantha Hale
Partner, Education & Community Care Solicitor
Date:
25/09/2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of the legal requirements regarding EHCPs and the processes around them have been weakened since 1 May 2020. The Government has stated that these will not continue from 25 September 2020 and so the legal requirements on Local Authorities are back to what they were before the pandemic.

Our Education Law Solicitors understand that the deadlines around EHCPs can get confusing, especially with changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. So we have outlined below a reminder of the deadlines around getting an EHCP.

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Your Local Authority has 20 weeks from the day you requested an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA).

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 or not 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 or not to issue an EHCP. If they decide not to issue an EHCP they must tell you their decision 16 weeks after your request for an EHCNA.

If they agree to issue an EHCP, the Local Authority will then 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. It’s important that if you’re not happy with your child’s EHCP that you make this clear so that the right support can be put in place.

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

We can help you if you’re concerned that your child’s EHCP isn’t being handled correctly, or if the Local Authority isn’t sticking to the deadlines. Your Local Authority has a legal duty to make sure that the right EHCP is in place for your child.

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

Can I Appeal an EHCP?

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.

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 a sufficient amount of evidence so that the appeal can be registered. We can help you with all of the legal documents which can become quite complicated as the appeal goes on.

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.

For legal advice call our Education Solicitors

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