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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.