Education, health and care (EHC) plans
An EHC plan may be needed where the special educational provision required to meet your child’s needs cannot reasonably be provided by mainstream early years providers, schools and post 16 institutions.
An EHC plan is for children and young people who can be described as having needs that are severe, significant, profound, complex and/or long-term. This will apply to a small percentage of children and young people, many of whom may need specialist educational intervention, care and, often, settings. The threshold for statutory assessment gives an overview of when an education, health and care plan may be required.
In the past there were several ways of assessing a child’s needs including statements, learning difficulty assessments (LDAs) and physical disability assessments. These are now being replaced with a single, simpler assessment process, which may result in an EHC plan.
Support for Schools – forms, policies and guidance for schools and educational settings.
Assessments, Plans and Reviews leaflet
- Requesting an assessment
- Disagreeing with a decision
- Transfer of a statement to an EHC plan
- Review and re-assessment
- Requesting an assessmentDisagreeing with a decision
How do I request an assessment?
If you think your child has special educational needs or disabilities and needs additional support speak to their teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They can talk to you about beginning the support, which will set out areas of need and the targeted support required to meet these and achieve the best outcomes.
If your child fails to make good progress in their mainstream school, even with additional support, a statutory assessment may be necessary.
A parent or a young person aged 16-25 can ask us to carry out a statutory assessment along with:
- a child’s school
- a doctor or health visitor
- a nursery worker.
You can request a statutory assessment by completing a request form. If you need help with this, you can contact Devon Information, Advice and Support Service for SEND (DIAS) – 01392 383080
- Request form for parents
- Request form for young people (16-25)
- Professionals’ Request for Statutory Needs Assessment
Send this form by email or by post.
Email the SEN 0-25 Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to: SEN 0-25 Team, Room L102, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 4QD
or phone: 01392 383000 and say “nought to twenty-five team”
What about my views?
You can send us your views as a parent carer using the All About my Child form.
Young people can send in their views using the This is Me form.
What happens next?
After a request is made, we normally have 6 weeks to decide whether or not to carry out an EHC needs assessment.
If we agree to carry out an EHC needs assessment we will gather evidence and information from the people who work closely with your child. We will also get your views and the views of your child.
If the EHC needs assessment results in an EHC plan then this will be produced within 16 weeks of the initial request. To create a plan, professionals from education, health and care will work with the parents/carers and the child to consider what outcomes are desired and what is needed to achieve them. A draft copy of the plan will be sent to you and your to check and suggest changes. You will have 15 days in which to request changes.
The school or setting named on the EHC plan will also be informed and also has 15 days to respond.
The whole process from the EHC needs assessment request to agreement of an EHC plan should normally take no more than 20 weeks.
Plans have the same protection in law as the previous Statements of SEN. If your child has one of these plans you will also have the right to ask for a personal budget for their support.
- You can see a blank format for an EHC plan here
- EHC needs assessment process (until 20 February 2017)
- New EHC needs assessment process (from February 2017)
If your request for an assessment is refused
If after a needs assessment request we decide not to complete a needs assessment, we must inform you within 6 weeks of the request.
If we decide, following a needs assessment, not to issue an EHC plan, we must inform you within 16 weeks of the request for an assessment.
If you are not happy with either of these decisions then you will have 2 months to make an appeal to a tribunal. See Disagreeing with a decision for more information.
Children without an EHC plan will typically be educated in a mainstream nursery, school or college. The educational setting may have funding allocated to them in order to support children and young people with SEND.Transfer of a statement to an EHC plan
Most disagreements about special educational provision can be sorted out by talking with the education setting, professionals who work with the child or the Local Authority. If you need help with this you can contact the Devon Information, Advice & Support for SEND service which offers impartial information and advice to parents/carers and young people.
It can sometimes be difficult to reach agreement so local authorities must make arrangements for both disagreement resolution and mediation services. These services are available to children with SEND and their parents or carers. The services are free and confidential and are independent of the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.
Review and re-assessment
- Disagreement resolution
Disagreement resolution aims to resolve disagreements in a quick and informal way, using a trained and independent mediator to help find a solution. The use of this service is voluntary and has to be agreed by everyone involved. This service is available to help resolve disagreements about:
- how the early years setting, school, college or Local Authority is carrying out its education, health and care duties for children and young people with special educational needs. This can include any of the SEN duties – not just those concerning EHC needs assessments or EHC plans
- the provision that the early years setting, school, or college is making. This applies to children and young people with any kind of SEN, not just those going through an EHC needs assessment or with an EHC plan
- the health or social care provision during an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being drawn up or reviewed, while awaiting an appeal or when children or young people are being reassessed. In these cases the disagreement will be with the Local Authority or Clinical Commissioning Group, rather than the early years setting, school, or college.
Mediation is a voluntary process for parents/carers and young people, which can be used if agreement cannot be reached about matters related to EHC plans. It is provided by a trained and accredited mediator who is independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.
Mediation is available if there is a disagreement about the Local Authority’s decision:
- not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
- not to draw up an EHC plan after an EHC needs assessment has been done
- not to amend an EHC plan after an annual review or re-assessment
- to cease to maintain an EHC plan.
Mediation must also be available if parents/carers or young people disagree with:
- the parts of the EHC plan that describe the child or young person’s special educational needs
- the special educational provision set out in the EHC plan
- the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.
A request for mediation must be made within 2 months of the date of the decision notice by the Local Authority.
If you decide to go to mediation, Global Mediation will make all the arrangements for you. The mediation will take place within 30 days and will be at a time and place that is convenient to you.
- Appeal to the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Tribunal
Parents or carers and young people can register an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Tribunal about concerns relating to SEND provision and decisions about EHC plans. This is an independent first-tier tribunal who hear and decide parents’/carers’ or young peoples’ appeals against the decisions of the local authority in relation to special educational needs.
To register an appeal you must first contact an independent mediation adviser and obtain a certificate to show that you have done so. The mediation adviser will provide you with information, explain what is involved and answer any questions you may have about mediation.
Once you have contacted the mediation adviser you can choose whether you wish to go to mediation or not. You will need a certificate from the mediation adviser before you can register your appeal with the SEND Tribunal. This will be issued within 3 days of you concluding mediation or telling the mediator you do not want to attend mediation.
You do not need to have a certificate from a mediation adviser before you register an appeal with the SEND Tribunal if the appeal is solely about the name of the school, college or other institution named on the EHC plan, the type of school, college or other institution specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named. In addition you do not need to seek mediation advice if the appeal is solely about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.
- The government information about appeals to the SEND Tribunal can be viewed here
- You can download the global mediation leaflet that will explain more about mediation and provide contact details
- To discuss or request mediation advice and meditation you can contact global mediation on 0800 064 4488 or email email@example.com. This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential
- The Devon Information, Advice and Support for SEND service can also give you more information and advice about what is involved and the options open to you.
- Making a complaint
In the first instance you should always try and solve any problems directly with the provider, whether this is a school, social care or health service, or private company. If you don’t feel confident doing this by yourself you can ask the Devon Independent Advice & Support for SEND for help and support. If it is not possible to solve the problem in this way you may need to submit an official complaint.
Early Years settings, schools and colleges will have complaints procedure available which should be available on the website or from the office. This will explain what you need to do and what the setting will do once you have made a complaint. The procedure will also tell you how to take your complaint further if necessary.
My child has a statement…
Children and young people who have a statement of special educational need will continue to be supported in this way. A programme for converting statements to EHC plans, the transfer plan, has started. When the time comes to consider a transfer to an EHC plan, the annual review will provide information for the transfer. Children who do not move schools in Year 6 and Year 11 do not have to be completed by the deadline.
The Annual Review Meeting
Key people who work with your child should be invited and the views of all concerned especially you and your child should be shared. If this meeting happens at a transition time, for example, when your child is about to change school, it will be important to invite additional personnel to these meetings, for example, the SENCo from the next school.
Devon Information, Advice & Support for SEND (DIAS) can provide support to parents, carers, children and young people during the transfer process. For some elements of support, such as meetings, gathering views and checking a draft EHC plan, it is recommended that you contact the service at the earliest opportunity to make sure you get the support you need within the deadline you may have been given.
Statements to EHCPs
We expect most statements to transfer to EHC plans but this may not be the case for all. The options for current Devon statements as a result of the transfer review are:
- transfer to an EHC plan
- cease to maintain the statement. Some statements are no longer required because appropriate progress has been made or there is no longer a requirement for a statutory plan.
Recommendations made at the transfer review will be sent to the Local Authority which will make a decision on the outcome of the review. If you do not agree with the decision made at the transfer review, see Disagreeing with a decision for more information.
Reviewing EHC plans
EHC plans must be reviewed annually at a meeting where you, your child and the professionals who work with them can discuss the year and plan for the future. At transition times, for example, when your child is about to change school, it will be important to invite additional personnel to these meetings, for example, the SENCo from the next school.
At an annual review there are several options for the recommendation that might be made after discussions:
- continue with the EHC plan
- continue with the EHC plan with some amendments to meet current needs
- cease to maintain the EHC plan. If those present at the review meeting feel that an EHC plan is no longer needed and the outcomes have been met, it can be ceased.
Recommendations made at the annual review will be sent to the Local Authority who will make a decision on the outcome of the review. We will notify you and your child of the decision within four weeks of the review meeting. For information about what to do if you don’t agree with a decision made at a review meeting see Disagreeing with a decision or contact the Devon Information, Advice & Support for SEND Service.
If we are considering changing the EHC plan, we will send a draft copy with changes to you and your child and you will have 15 days in which to register any comments. If after this, we decide not to make changes to the EHC plan then we have 8 weeks to inform the people concerned.
- Annual review form for statements (MS Word) Annual Review form for Statements (PDF)
- Annual review form for an EHC plan (MS Word) Annual Review form for an EHC Plan (PDF)
- Annual Review form for EHCP post-16 (MS Word) Annual Review form for EHCP post-16 (PDF)
Re-assessment of an EHC plan
We must consider a re-assessment of your child’s EHC plan where we are asked to do so by the responsible commissioning body for that child or young person. This may happen if the provision which was agreed in the EHC plan is no longer available or appropriate. We have 15 days in which to tell you and your child whether re-assessment is necessary. You may disagree with the decision. See Disagreeing with a decision for more information.