What is an EHC plan?


What is an EHC plan and what are the responsibilities for different school staff? GOV.UK explains that an education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. 

It is a legal document which identifies educational, health and social needs and sets out the additional support to meet those needs. You will be able to discuss with the SENCO at your school if a pupil in your class has a plan. We have published another article which outlines the role of SENCOs in schools.

In this article, we outline how parents can request an EHC plan, what it is meant to do, link to exemplar templates and further information to support.

Parents requesting an EHC plan

Parents can ask their local authority to carry out an assessment if they think their child needs an EHC plan.

A young person can request an assessment themselves if they’re aged 16 to 25.

A request can also be made by anyone else who thinks an assessment may be necessary, including doctors, health visitors, teachers, parents and family friends.

If they decide to carry out an assessment parents may be asked for:

  • Any reports from your child’s school, nursery or childminder
  • Doctors’ assessments of your child
  • A letter from you about your child’s needs

The local authority will tell parents within 16 weeks whether a plan is going to be made for their child.

Creating an EHC plan

  • The local authority will create a draft plan and send parents a copy
  • Parents have 15 days to comment, including if they want to ask that their child goes to a specialist needs school or specialist college
  • The local authority has 20 weeks from the date they receive the request for the assessment to give parents the final EHC plan

What is an EHC plan meant to do?

Dorset Council explains an EHC plan is for children and young people who can’t have all their special educational needs met by the help available at their school or setting and need extra support through a person-centred plan.

An EHC plan describes the child’s or young person’s special educational, health and care needs. It sets outcomes that will help the child learn and prepare for the next stage of their education and adulthood, such as:

  • Skills and abilities you’d like the child or young person to have
  • Employment or higher education
  • Independent living
  • Good health
  • Joining in with the community

They are reviewed every year so that they can adapt to the child’s needs as they develop.

The EHC plan describes the extra support the child needs to achieve their outcomes. 

In a mainstream school or educational setting this could mean things like:

  • Equipment or resources
  • Extra training for staff
  • Accessing specialist services and advice
  • Accessing particular activities
  • A level of teaching assistant support
  • A combination of different options

Example templates

Islington Council has published an example of an EHC plan which can be adapted. It includes:

  • A one page profile of the young person
  • How the learner communicates and makes decisions
  • The people important to them
  • Their story so far

The Council for Disabled Children has published a guide of good practice for all those involved in the production of EHC plans. It explains that the first part of this document includes excerpts from real EHC plans.

The two EHC plans that follow draw on real examples but the plans themselves relate to fictional children, Jay, page 17; Jessica, page 28. The Council expects these examples to be useful to those contributing to EHC needs assessments and to those writing plans as well as to parents, children and young people and those supporting them.

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