What is an EHC Plan?

West Sussex

EHC Plan

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

The SEND Code of Practice 9.2 states-“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.

To achieve this, local authorities use the information from the assessment to:

  • establish and record the views, interests and aspirations of the parents and child or young person
  • provide a full description of the child or young person’s special educational needs and any health and social care needs
  • establish outcomes across education, health and social care based on the child or young person’s needs and aspirations
  • specify the provision required and how education, health and care services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes”.

Who is an EHC Plan for?

It is for children and young people aged up to 25 whose Special Educational Needs (SEN) cannot be reasonably met through their normally resourced local mainstream provision. (To see what this means in detail please look at our SEN Support page)

The special educational provision described in an EHC plan must be provided by the child or young person’s local authority . This means an EHC plan can give a child or young person extra educational support. It can also give parents and young people more choice about which school or other setting they can attend.

What should an EHC Plan contain?

The way an EHCP is set out will differ between local authorities but they all have to contain the following 11 sections.

  • Section A – views, interests and aspirations
  • Section B – special educational needs
  • Section C – health needs relating to SEN
  • Section D – social care needs relating to SEN
  • Section E – outcomes
  • Section F – special educational provision
  • Section G – health provision
  • Section H1 – social care provision (specific)
  • Section H2 – social care provision
  • Section I – placement
  • Section J – personal budget
  • Section K – advice and information

Sections B,E & F will also contain 4 categories of need:

  • Communication & Interaction;
  • Cognition & Learning; Social,
  • Emotional & Mental Health; and
  • Sensory &/or Physical.

Please see our guide for more detailed information about each section.

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), who should be doing what, when it has to happen and how often it should be reviewed. It should therefore be clear, concise, understandable and accessible and should have an accurate and detailed description of the child/young person’s educational needs included in it.

Who do you mean when you say LA?

In West Sussex, it is the Special Educational Needs Assessment Team (“SENAT”) who represent the Local Authority in EHC Plan related issues (this includes the EHC Needs Assessment). Planning coordinators are the people within SENAT who will work with you with regards to your EHC Plan.

How does my child or young person get an EHC Plan?

Before an EHC Plan can be agreed and issued, an EHC Needs Assessment must first take place. The time from the initial request for assessment to the final EHC Plan being issued can take up to 20 weeks so it is not a quick process and there are several decisions made by the LA at distinct stages. For more information on when and how to request an Education, Health & Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) please check our EHCNA page.

Is there anything I can do if I disagree with what has been written?

Yes! As soon as the LA decide to issue you an EHC Plan you should receive a draft EHC Plan. The LA should give you at least 15 days to make any comments on the draft (including requests for amendments). You can also request to meet with your planning coordinator within this time, to discuss any changes you would like made. This is also the time to state your preference of setting and request a personal budget should you want one (these are left blank at the draft stage). For more information on checking the draft please see our Draft EHCP page.

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 to issue a Final EHC Plan without these being resolved. If this happens, you have the right to go to formal mediation or appeal. 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 more understanding. These will also be important should you choose to go to appeal as they will form part of your case.

If you think you will struggle with any of this your own then please do contact us by email: send.ias@westsussex.gov.uk or call us on: 0330 222 8555 to discuss how we may be able to support you.