EHCPs and Annual Review Meetings

What is an EHCP?

EHCP stands for ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’

An Education, Health and Care Plan (“EHCP” or “EHC plan”) is a legal document which identifies educational, health and social care needs and sets out the additional support (“provision”) required to meet those needs. It is written and maintained by your local council, known as the local authority (“LA”).

What is an EHCP for?

The SEND Code of Practice (2015) states in section 9.2 –“The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.

How do I know if I need an EHCP?

Most young people with SEN who need support at school or college can receive this through ‘SEN Support’. This means that the setting makes additional or different provision to meet
their needs. Our page “How To Get Help At School Or College”, tells you what to do if you need SEN Support (this might be extra help with your learning, or with something else, e.g. emotional wellbeing support).

When your school or college has put SEN Support in place for you, they will keep a record of the support provided and there will be regular reviews to check that you are making expected progress.

If the support your college is providing is not enough for you to make expected progress, the college, you and/or your parent/carer could consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment (known as an EHCNA – see below to find out more).

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNAs)

What is an EHCNA?

If the local authority (LA) agree that you need to be assessed for an EHCP, it will do what is known as an EHCNA. This stands for ‘Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment’.

How do I request an EHCNA?

The Local authority (LA) is responsible for carrying out EHC needs assessments under the Children and Families Act 2014. In West Sussex, the SEN and Assessment Team (SENAT) is the LA department who does this.

Usually the school or college will ask the LA to do an EHCNA. However, parent carers and young people themselves may make the request instead. It is recommended that
you talk to your school or college first. For more information on how to make a request please see our factsheet called ‘Requesting an EHCNA’

What happens after I request an EHCNA?

As soon as the LA gets a request for an EHC needs assessment they must contact you.
The local authority has up to 6 weeks to decide whether they are going to do a needs assessment. During this time, it will ask you, your school or college and other professionals for information. It must then tell you whether it has decided to start the EHC needs assessment OR that an EHC needs assessment is not necessary.

What can I do if the LA refuse to carry out an EHCNA?

If the LA decides that an EHCNA is not needed, then it must tell you why. It must also tell you about:

  • your right of appeal
  • independent disagreement resolution and mediation
  • how to get further information, advice or support

What happens if the EHC Needs Assessment goes ahead?

Your views are really important. The local authority will continue to gather information about you from a number of other people. This is called ‘advice’ and it should include information about:

  • your special educational needs (known as SEN)
  • your views, hopes and wishes
  • the special educational, health and care provision that might be required to meet your needs and achieve your aims.
  • The views of your parent/carer (f you consent to this)

You (and your parent/carer, if you consent to this) will have the chance to talk to everyone involved in the needs assessment and you will receive a copy of all the reports when the needs assessment is finished.

How long does the EHCNA process take?*

Start date – LA receives an EHCNA request

By week 6 of the start date – the LA decides whether an EHCNA is needed or not. EHCNA takes place OR if not, you are given the right to appeal against a Refusal to Assess (RTA)

By week 16 of the start date – LA decides to issue a Draft EHC Plan or not. You either receive the draft OR are given the right to appeal against a refusal to issue an EHCP.

If draft is received – you have at least 15 days to respond with any changes wanted and to submit placement preference and request for personal budget. LA then consults with setting(s) who have 15 days to respond.

Within 20 weeks of the start date – LA must issue a Final EHC plan. If you do not agree with the contents of the final EHC Plan, you will be given the right to appeal.

*The timescale may differ in exceptional circumstances (SEND CoP 9

What happens when I receive the Final EHC plan?

The final EHC plan must be issued within 20 weeks of the initial request for an EHC needs assessment (except for exceptional circumstances). If it is possible, SENAT will work with you to resolve any disagreements there may be about the contents and /or the placement being named but SENAT may decide (and are allowed) to issue a final EHC plan without these being resolved.

If this happens, you have the right to go to formal mediation or appeal to the SEND Tribunal. It is important that you understand the reasons why your requests about contents and/or placement are not being considered so do keep talking with your Planning Coordinator to gain a clearer understanding. These considerations will also be important should you choose to go to appeal as they will form part of your case.

What if I disagree with a Local Authority Decision?

At any stage you can ask to talk to your Planning Co-ordinator in SENAT. You also have a right in most circumstances to consider mediation or go to appeal. You may also want to read our factsheet on ‘Lodging an Appeal with the SEN & Disability Tribunal’

What does an EHC plan include?

An EHC Plan should be written in a way that makes it clear, to anyone who needs to read it (parents, young people, education settings, practitioners, as well as the local authority). It should be clear, concise, understandable and accessible and should have an accurate and detailed description of the educational needs included in it.

Every EHC plan must include at least 12 sections, but each local authority can decide how to set these out. The sections are:
A: Your views, interests and aspirations.
B: Your special educational needs.
C: Health needs related to your SEN or to your disability.
D: Social care needs related to your SEN or to your disability.
E: Planned outcomes: this section talks about what the EHCP will help you to achieve.
F: The special educational provision required for each and every need shown in section B.
G: Any health provision required that is related to your SEN or to your disability.
H(1) Any social care provision that your require if you are under 18
H(2) Any other social care provision required that is related to your SEN or to your disability.
(I) The name or type of the school, maintained nursery school, post- 16 institution or other institution to be attended.
(J) Details of how any personal budget will support particular outcomes and the provision it will be used for.
(K) The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment.

Other important points:

  • The EHC plan must also include the provision you require to help you prepare for adulthood and independent living.
  • Most sections should reflect and link to other sections.
  • For example, provision (section F) should link with needs (section B), whilst outcomes (section E) link to aspirations (section A) and so on.

Annual Reviews?

Below, you will find a summary about annual reviews.

What is an Annual Review?

By law Send Code of Practice (2015), all children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan must have an annual (or yearly) review meeting. This means that the EHCP must:

  • be reviewed by the local authority as a minimum every 12 months.
  • focus on the young person’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan.
  • also consider whether these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.

What does an Annual Review involve?

The Annual Review itself is a process, (not just a meeting) and this process is not completed until the following steps have all been done.

  1. Information must be gathered from young people (and their parent/carer if the young person consents to this) and from professionals about the EHC plan and then circulated two weeks before the meeting.
  2. An annual review meeting must take place to discuss the EHC plan.
  3. After the meeting a report of what happened must be prepared and circulated to everyone who attended or submitted information to be discussed.
  4. After the meeting the LA reviews the EHC Plan
  5. The LA must then notify the parent of the child or young person of their decision within four weeks of the meeting (for an explanation of the types of decision the LA can make, read the next section, “What happens after an Annual Review?”)

What happens after an Annual Review?

After the meeting the LA reviews the EHC Plan. The LA must then notify the parent of the child or young person of their decision within four weeks of the meeting.

There are only 3 decisions the LA can make:

  1. To maintain (keep) the EHC plan in its current format (not make any changes);
  2. To amend the EHC plan (including change of named school in Section I)
  3. To cease the EHC plan if they think it is no longer necessary for it to be in place
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