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Education, Health and Care plans

Most children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met in local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. Our 'What to expect from education' page has more information about this. 

Some children and young people may need more support and may need to have an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment so that the local authority can decide whether it is necessary for it to provide support by using an EHC plan.

An EHC plan sets out your child's needs and how services will work together to meet them, helping prepare them for adult life. Plans are focussed on the outcomes an individual child is expected to achieve. Targets are developed with the parent or carer and the child, and set out what support is needed to achieve these outcomes.

You can find out more in the Guidance for Education Health and Care Needs Assessment Process, which includes information about how long things will take and the process you have to follow.

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments have replaced Statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA).

A statutory assessment for an EHC plan should not be the first step in the process for helping meet the needs of a child or young person. It should be built on co-ordinated work that is already happening between families, educational settings and any other health or social care services involved.  

Not every EHC assessment will lead to an EHC plan. The information gathered during the assessment may show that the needs, outcomes and provision required to meet the child's needs can be met with universal support available to all children without an EHC plan.

This decision is made by the SEND Panel, which is made up of headteachers, educational psychologists, SENCO and Learning Support representatives, the Designated Medical Officer, and social care representatives.

Your SEND Casework Officer will let you know what the panel has decided and why.

The overall provision should describe the whole package of support, which should range from

  • universal support available to all children
  • targeted support available to some children
  • specialist specific support available to a few children

If a plan is agreed, it will be reviewed every year, although parts of the plan can be reviewed more often.

The plan will stay in place until it is not needed. Some children may move between SEND support and an EHC plan during their education. It can stay in place until the young person is 25, as young people with EHC plans may need longer in education or training to achieve their outcomes and make an effective transition into adult life. But, this does not mean that there is an automatic entitlement to continued support at the age of 19. And it does not mean that young people with an EHC plan are expected to all stay in education until they are 25.