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SEND: Education health and care plan

What is an Education Health and Care Plan?

For some children with complex needs even the wide range of services available in nurseries and schools is not enough to help them achieve their full potential. If your child is still not making progress, even with support from school, you can ask us to assess him or her for an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

An EHCP is a legal document which describes your child’s needs. It sets out the education, health and care services needed to meet those needs and the type of educational place that would best suit your child. Your child could have a plan from birth to 25 if he or she stays in education, and the plan will change and develop as your child gets older. The EHCP replaces the statement of SEN or, in college or further education, a learning disabilities assessment (LDA). By the end of March 2018 we will have moved all children and young people across to the EHCP.

What an EHCP will mean for your child?

The plan brings together in one place all the information we need to help us support your child. There can be a lot of organisation needed and the plan is a single clear guide to providing services to meet your child’s individual needs.

If your child already has a statement or a learning difficulties assessment, then he or she will may get an EHCP to replace it. We will make the change at an appropriate time, for example when your child reaches Year 5 and is looking for a secondary school place. We will contact you when it is time to move to an EHCP. In the meantime nothing will change for your child.

Any young person, parent or professional working with a child, young person or family can make a referral for an Educational, Heath and Care Plan Statutory Assessment, however it is usually expected that the following will apply:

  • The child or young person has severe and/or complex long term needs that affect everyday life and functioning
  • The child or young person requires provision and resources that are not normally available
  • Intensive help and support is required from outside agencies
  • There is evidence of a graduated response (Assess, Plan, Do, Review) from the school and other agencies involved in supporting the child or young person
  • Despite high levels of support, the child or young person is making limited or no progress.

If all other levels of support have been accessed by partners but the child or young person’s education is still being affected, then a referral for a statutory EHCP Assessment can be made by contacting:

Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Team


Telephone: 01472 323166.

What happens after the request is made?

When your child you or your son or daughter’s educational setting ask us for an assessment for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) , we will need to decide whether or not your child needs one. A panel of education, health and care professionals makes this decision. This is called the Special Educational Needs Advisory Group (SENAG).

You will be introduced to an EHCP co-ordinator, who will collect all the information the panel needs to make a decision. The co-ordinator will ask for information from you, your child, his or her school or college and from any other professional connected with your child.

The panel makes its decision based on:

  • How complex your child’s needs are
  • The level of support your child has already received
  • Whether or not your child can be given support in his or her current setting, school or nursery.

Once we decide, we must tell you of our decision within six weeks of receiving the request.

What happens next?

This stage of the pathway involves collecting views, information and advice which will help identify what planning and support is needed as part of the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

A crucial part of the process involves enabling the child or young person and their family to tell their story. The school SENCo or the Local Authority officer identified as your EHCP co-ordinator can help support you and your family to do this, if you wish. This information will form an “All About Me” document. This sets out the child/young person’s strengths and needs; their current levels of support; what is working well and what is not working so well; what is important to them; as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future.

The “All About Me” document is to represent the views of the child or young person and/or parents rather than professionals points of view.

The EHCP co-ordinator will have all the information that was collected for the panel. He or she may meet you and your child to explain about EHC plans and how they are made, and will want to talk to you both to find out about your child’s background, progress and whether other support might be needed. Other support could come from:

  • Education, health and care professionals
  • Any other relevant person.

The EHCP co-ordinator will then ask these professionals for any information he or she needs.

During the assessment, you can expect that:

  • You and your child will be fully involved
  • We will collect all information efficiently so that we do not have to ask you for it twice
  • You will get information, advice and support to help you make the right choices for you and your child
  • If your son or daughter is over 16, he or she will get information, advice and support in his or her own right if he or she has capacity.

Once all the information is ready, the co-ordinator will arrange a meeting of the panel to make a decision about whether your child needs a plan.

When the panel is deciding whether to give your child an EHC plan it will look at the information we collected during the assessment to see whether:

  • It shows that the special education your child currently gets meets his or her needs
  • If your child is not making good progress, he or she can get specialist services in mainstream education or whether your child needs to go to a special school.

We will write to you to tell you about our decision. We have to do this within 16 weeks of you asking for an assessment.

If we think your child does not need an assessment, his or her teacher (with other professionals if necessary) can work with you to develop a support plan or improve your child’s current plan. Find out more about support plans on our page on support plans.

If we decide that your child needs an assessment, the EHCP co-ordinator will contact you to explain what happens next and to fix a date for a meeting.

If you are not happy about any decision made about your child’s EHCP assessment or the outcome of this, you can talk to us about why you are unhappy. Details on who to talk to will be included in any information sent to you.

You will meet the EHCP co-ordinator or a facilitator who will work with you to put together the plan, using the information collected during the assessment.

When we write to you to tell you about our decision we will explain why we think your child does not need a plan.

We will also tell you about your right to appeal this decision and the time limit for doing so. We will give you information about mediation and the other services that you need to consider before you make an appeal, along with other information, advice and support available.

We will also give you and your child’s school the information we collected during the assessment. You and the school can use this to help build or change a support plan. Your child’s teacher, and workers from other organisations will be involved in this.

If we decide that your child needs an education, health and care plan (EHCP), we will work with you and your child to put it together.

The plan must include:

  • Your child’s views and hopes as well as your views
  • Your child’s special educational needs and the special educational services to meet those needs
  • The name or type of early education, school or college needed
  • Your child’s health needs and the health services to meet those needs
  • Your child’s care needs and the care services to meet those needs outcomes (or goals).

If you choose to have a personal budget, the plan must include clear information on:

  • Personal budgets, including direct payments
  • Support available to help manage personal budgets.

It must also include:

  • All the information collected during the assessment
  • Information about how to appeal.

How we put an EHCP together

The EHCP co-ordinator will pull together all the reports on your child’s education, health and care needs. He or she may meet you and your child or talk to you over the phone about what your child wants to achieve.

The time between you asking us for an assessment and us finishing the plan should be no more than 20 weeks.

The Special Educational Needs Advisory Group (SENAG) panel looks at the information gathered by the co-ordinator in a draft plan. It then agrees or amends the information which will become the plan. We will send you a copy of the plan along with a letter explaining what it means and your right to appeal.

Changing school

When your child is in Year 5 and Year 9, there will be a review meeting to plan the change of school. If your child changes school, we will send you a new copy of the EHCP.

Will my child always need a plan?

Some children only need an EHCP for a short time. An annual review may suggest that the EHCP ends. If we plan to end a EHCP, we will talk to you about it. If you are not happy with our decision you can appeal against it. We tell you how to do this in the letters we send to you.

A personal budget is an amount of money identified to deliver parts of the provision set out to meet the special educational needs of your child or a young person in an Education, Health and Care Plan. A personal budget can be made up of resources from education, health and social care budgets.

Requesting a Personal Budget

There are several different types of assessment carried out by education, health and social care services that can lead to a personal budget. For example, a personal budget may be available for short breaks where a child or young person has an Early Help Assessment or a Child and Family Assessment.

The information provided here is about asking for a personal budget when an education, health and care plan is being considered.

Parents, carers or young people (aged 16 and over) have the right to request a personal budget during the assessment and planning process when an education, health and care plan is being drawn up or when an existing plan is being reviewed.

Developing Personal Budgets

A personal budget has to be specifically related to the outcomes identified in the plan to support your child or a young person’s special educational and related needs.

The local authority will work on this collaboratively with families, children and young people as well as other key stakeholders.

Schools, academies and post-16 providers are currently required to provide appropriate support for children with SEN and disabilities through the funding that is made available by both local and central government. Schools, academies, post-16 providers and special schools already have funding to meet a wide range of learning support needs.

The Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Team (SENART) are also able to provide further information on what specific personal budget arrangements might be available when an assessment for an Education, Health & Social Care Plan has been agreed.

Our Personal Budgets Statement document is currently being reviewed. If you require any further information right now then please contact the SENART who will be able to help you.

For information about our direct payments service go to the Direct payments webpage.

At least once a year there will be a meeting to talk about your child’s progress and his or her EHCP. This is called a review.

At the meeting, we will:

  • Check that your child is making progress
  • Set targets for the coming year
  • Check to see if he or she still needs the same plan or whether it should be changed.

Your child’s school or setting will arrange the meeting.

Who goes to the review meeting?

Your child’s headteacher will invite:

  • You (you can also bring along a friend or relative)
  • Your child (who can also bring along a friend)
  • A teacher who knows your child well
  • Your ECHP coordinator (if needed)
  • Any other professional who is involved with your child.

What happens at the review meeting?

We will ask everyone to prepare a report, including you. When you write your report, you need to include:

  • What progress you think your child has made in the past year
  • Whether there are any major changes that may or have affected your child’s progress
  • What you hope your child will achieve in the coming year.

What happens after the review?

The school writes a report and sends it to us. The school will suggest:

  • Any targets for the next year
  • Any changes to the statement
  • Whether the EHCP should continue.

If we think your child’s EHCP needs to change, we will write to you and your child’s school about what we think ought to be included.

Get ready for your annual review

  • Prepare – Ask someone to help you write down your views before the meeting
  • Be Comfortable – Tell school/college what will help you feel comfortable in the meeting
  • Know who is coming – Ask who has been invited to the meeting. If you need someone there, make sure they have been invited

At the Annual Review

  • Make notes – Ask someone to help make notes in the meeting
  • Ask what happens next – What are the plans for the future? How will you know you are doing well? Who will help you reach your goals?

If you would like some help call us on 01472 355365, email us or visit the Barnados website.

If your child has a statement of SEN or a learning disability assessment (LDA), he or she, where necessary, will be moved across to an education, health and care plan (EHCP) by the end of March 2018.

To do this we will need to assess your child’s needs. This is called a transfer review.

Your child’s transfer review

If your child has a statement of SEN we will write to you when it is your child’s turn to have a transfer review. We will give you at least two week’s notice.

If your child has a LDA you will need to ask us for a transfer review.

Your child’s statement of SEN or LDA will continue until he or she has a transfer review.

What happens at the transfer review?

We will assess your child to see if they need an EHCP.

If your child is still at school we may go to your child’s regular review meeting with the school.

We will talk about:

  • Your child’s progress
  • What your child wants to achieve
  • The support your child needs to get there.

This will help us to bring together the information we need for your child’s needs assessment, and if needed, the EHCP.

If your child does not need an EHCP we will tell you as soon as possible after the transfer review.

If your child needs an EHCP, the plan will be written within 14 weeks of the review. The plan may take longer over the summer holiday period when schools and colleges are closed.

EHC Hub: Education, Health and Care Plans

The EHC Hub is a new digital approach for assessing needs and creating and reviewing EHC plans. It puts families, professionals and young people at the heart of the process and enables true collaboration and transparency between all the groups involved.

The EHC Hub is planned to go live for new requests in October 2020.

What the EHC Hub do

Providing a secure, digital touchpoint for everyone involved in the 20-week EHC process, the Hub transforms how requests are managed, monitored and shared, and encourages collaboration by improving communication at every stage.

What they offer

  • Young people / families a voice so they can input and be updated
  • Local authorities a single, secure platform to coordinate planning and collaboration
  • Healthcare professionals a simple way to contribute digitally
  • Education settings a seamless EHC referral method direct to local authorities

By working closely with stakeholders, Open Objects has developed a product that digitises what is typically an extremely complex, paper-heavy and demanding process for all involved. The Hub ensures coordination and allows the stakeholder network to work collaboratively.

How to access the hub

Accessible via mobile, tablet and PC, the Hub greatly improves tracking capabilities, noting the date an assessment request is made and the commencement date of the EHC process. Once recorded, neither of these can be changed, ensuring transparency and ownership.

The Hub puts young people back at the heart of the EHC process, and ensures every voice is heard by enabling a wide-range of people to submit their contributions to the same digital platform from multiple locations. Young people and parents can even upload photos and videos in support of the ‘All about me’ section. Being able to deliver cohesion at every point in the EHC journey is a fundamental step forward for the sector.

Find out more about the EHC Hub on the Open Objects website or by calling 01223 422200.

“Ensuring a transparent and a truly family-centred approach should be at the heart of any EHC process and being able to offer a dedicated online hub for families to access and actively contribute information is key in achieving this.”

Marj Povey Lead for SEND Services City of Stoke on Trent

Related content

Review meeting info sheet (PDF) – Young people’s information sheet

Review meeting form (Word document) – Young person’s views for their annual review

Review meeting presentation (PowerPoint) – Barnados support for young people with Education Health and Care Plans

EHC Hub FAQs for Schools (Word)

EHC Hub FAQs for Professionals (Word)

EHC Hub FAQs for Parents and Carers (Word)

Contact details

Special Educational Need Assessment and Review Team (SENART)


Telephone: 01472 326292 option 6

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm and Friday 8:30 am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays