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Education, Health and Care plans

Children or young people identified with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) can receive help in education, also known as SEND support or the graduated approach.

Find out more on the Help for your child or young person in education page.

Or you may have been offered an Early Help Assessment.

The Early Help Assessment is designed to make sure that children, young people and their families receive the right support at an early stage, before their needs escalate, and that services are delivered in a more co-ordinated way. 

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

Sometimes, if there is an educational need, education health and care come together to build a plan. When there are complex needs, all of the things you have tried so far will be discussed to make sure you can move forward in the best way possible. It is important the aims and goals of the child or young person comes first, and information built up over time helps to make sure ambitions and outcomes are helped to be reached.

You will need to go through a process called an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and may be given an EHC Plan.

If your child has been receiving help in education on the graduated approach or SEND support and isn't making enough progress, the local authority can be asked to carry out a statutory EHC needs assessment.

Parents, and children if they are 16 or over, can request a statutory EHC needs assessment if they wish. If they do, it is very important to have all records and information to hand. Lots of information is needed for this assessment, so it is best if a professional helps. There is a set timescale and process to follow.

The forms you need to apply

A school or college can request a statutory EHC needs assessment

A local authority then considers whether your child needs an EHC assessment. If appropriate, they will go ahead, involving you, your child and a range of professionals.

On the basis of the EHC needs assessment the local authority decides whether your child needs an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).

Some children may move between SEND support and an EHC plan during their education.

For those children and young people who already have a Statement of Special Educational Needs there is a process for transferring to an Education Health and Care Plan by April 2018. This will start with a letter from the Local Authority stating that the existing statement will convert to a plan in the following academic year. This letter will explain the process and the timelines involved. Statements of Special Educational Needs continue to be valid documents until such time as they convert to an EHC plan. Please go to Transferring from a Statement to an EHC Plan for more information, including the document "Specific Information on 2016 transfers"

EHC plan content

EHC plans must be clear, and accessible to all who contributed to writing the plan; especially parents and carers and children and young people and to providers in different settings.

The content of the plan is based on evidence and it should be clear how the child or young person has contributed to the plan and how their views are reflected in it.

The process of writing the plan allows parents and carers and children and young people to focus on outcomes. The overall provision should describe the whole package of support ranging from:

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

The provision and support written in the EHC plan should promote inclusion, independence and participation. 

Find out more about personal budgets and direct payments.

Film about EHC plans 

This short EHC film explains what an Education, Health and Care plan is and who can have one. The young people taking part in this film have been working with the Department for Education and local authorities to make sure Education, Health and Care plans focus on children and young people's aspirations and what they want to achieve. 

EHC plan - does my child need an EHC plan? 

There isn't an easy 'yes' or 'no' answer to this question for parents and carers. This is because this is something usually decided through the graduated approach and EHC needs assessment. 

More about EHC plans in Somerset 

You can see a sample of how a EHC plan looks in Somerset here 

For more information on EHC plan contents see EHC Plan Guidance 

You can find more information on how an EHC plan is assessed using the links below. 

Timescales and process chart for education, health and care needs assessment and plan developments