Keysoe International


WHAT does EHCP stand for?

EHCP stands for Education, Health and Care plan. It is a plan for children and young adults who need more support than the initial internal school provision. An EHCP lasts until they are 25 years old. Young people can apply for an assessment themselves if they are between the ages of 16 and 25 years.


What’s in an EHCP?

This is a legally binding document that outlines the child or teenager’s educational, health and social care needs. The document must provide the provision that meets each of the child’s needs. The provision must be detailed, specific and achievable. The plan will name the school/setting that will provide the provision, and this is legally enforceable.  The Local Education Authority (LEA) will look at the needs of your family and they do not necessarily need a diagnosis to agree to an EHCP.


Who Qualifies for an EHCP?

By law all mainstream nurseries and schools must provide some support for special educational needs. For your child to get an EHCP you must show that:

  • Their additional needs are holding them back in their educational setting;
  • And that the educational setting is unable to provide enough support to meet those needs without additional help.

A school will not always need an EHCP plan to give your child the support they need. If your child’s needs are met with an internal Individual Education Plan, you may not need an EHCP.


What is the Process for getting an EHCP?

Any parent can request an EHC assessment, but this can also be requested by a Doctor, Health Visitor, or a school staff member. It is better if you can work as a team as you will be able to collate more evidence. Here are some useful steps:

  • Evidence – dig out any reports and tests your child has done over the years; some examples are School Reports, Test results, and any referrals to Pediatricians, Educational Psychologists, or Speech and Language therapists etc. Build up a file with all your evidence in chronological order. You will need to prove that your child needs the help you say they do.
  • Research – know your schools and Local Education Authority’s SEND policies. Read the SEN Code of Practice. Make sure your school has tried everything internally before you apply for an EHC assessment (as this can be used as further evidence that current provisions are not working.)
  • Professional Support – Do you need to hire a specialist such as an independent Educational Psychologist or a SEND lawyer?
  • Diagnosis – A proper diagnosis will help convince your LEA. Especially if it is an unseen condition such as Dyslexia, Autism or Dyscalculia. You need to be able to prove that this is not just your opinion, so take your child to a GP and ask for a referral to a pediatrician. A firm medical diagnosis is hard to ignore.
  • EHC Needs Assessment Application – once you have all the information you need, complete your application, and send your submission to your LEA. Write as much as you can that is relevant to your case. Often if you are working in conjunction with your child’s school, they will support you by filling in the relevant documentation and attaching all the necessary evidence. Make sure you have contacted your school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and ask for their guidance and support.


What happens after I’ve applied for an EHC Assessment?

1-6 Weeks

The LEA will process your application. You will receive a letter from the LEA with a decision about your request. If they decline, they will explain why. You can then either accept the decision or appeal it. You can also request a meeting with an LEA officer. Find out here what to do if you want to appeal against their decision.

6-12 Weeks

If the submission is approved, you have 6 weeks to provide any further evidence or information that the LEA requests. This time scale is a legal requirement. If the information is received, the LEA must reach a decision by Week 12.

13 – 16 Weeks

By week 12 the LEA has decided to issue an EHCP.  The draft version must be issued by Week 14. A copy will be sent to you and any other professionals involved. Once the draft has been issued the parents and school have 15 days in which to respond, and to name the setting which will be meeting the needs set out in the EHCP draft. By Week 12, if the decision was not to issue a draft EHCP then the parents must be informed and given the right to appeal by week 16.

17- 20 Weeks

Between Week 17 and 20, the LEA should issue the final EHCP. The 20-week deadline is a legal deadline and any extension beyond this deadline is limited to specific exceptions.