Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP)

An Education, Health and Care plan (“EHC plan”) is a legal document which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve. 

The special educational provision described in an EHC plan must be provided by the child or young person’s local authority (“LA”). 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 the child or young person can attend.

An EHC plan can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.


After a child or young person’s education provider, parent/carer or young person themselves have requested a needs assessment the Local Authority must gather information and advice on a child or young person’s needs, the provision they require to meet those needs, and the outcomes expected for the child or young person to achieve. The advice must come from a range of different people including:

  • The child’s parent/carer or young person themselves
  • Educational advice
  • Medical advice and information from a health care professional
  • Psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist
  • Advice and information in relation to social care
  • Advice and information from any other person the LA deem appropriate
  • Where the child or young person is in year 9 and above, information and advice relating to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living and
  • Advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the Local Authority seeks advice from.

The LA must seek advice from a range of people. The list is set out in Regulation 6(1) of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 and is legally required to seek all of this information as a minimum.


A parent/carer or young person have the statutory right to apply for an EHC needs assessment. The timeframe and processes are no different to that of a school’s request. If you feel an EHCP is required, we advise you discuss this with the educational provision before making a needs assessment request.,can%20make%20the%20request%20themselves.


  • Full process of the EHCP is 20 weeks
  • Weeks 1-6 you should receive a decision letter from the Local Authority stating whether or not they will be carrying out an EHC Needs Assessment (should the LA decide not to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment you can appeal at this stage of the process and our team are available to offer ongoing support).:
  • Weeks 6-16 the EHC Needs Assessment will be carried out, evidence gathering, assessing and writing (should the LA decide not to continue to issue an EHC Plan you can appeal at this stage and again our team are happy to offer support)
  • Weeks 17-18 you should receive a copy of the draft plan, you will have a 15-day window to respond to the plan (comment/amend, agree/disagree, put forth parental preference for school choice) within this time frame you can also request to have a meeting with your SEN Caseworker from the LA
  • Weeks 19-20 the LA should consult with named provision/provisions and for the provision to agree/disagree
  • Week 20 you should have received your copy of the finalised plan (should you not agree with the finalised plan you have the right to appeal and again our team are happy to support)

Once you have received the decision from the Local Authority at week 6, if the decision is not to assess the LA will provide reasons as to why this decision has been made and you will have the right to appeal the decision.

If the Local Authority decide to proceed with the assessment at this time, they will agree the broad outcomes to be achieved throughout the assessment and advice should be sought from Education, Health and Care agencies.


Around week 14 to 16 the Local Authority will have made a decision on whether or not to issue an EHC Plan and must notify the young person, parents/carers of its decision. Should the LA have concluded not to issue a finalised plan at this time, the young person, parents/carers have the right to appeal this decision.

Should the LA decide to issue an EHCP, the young person, parents/carers are to receive a copy of a draft plan in which they have 15 days to respond.

The plan will include information on the child or young person’s SEND, health and care needs, the provision required to meet those needs, and the outcomes that should be achieved. Also recorded will be the child or young person’s aspirations, views and feelings.

The 15-day window is an opportunity for you to check whether the draft EHC Plan contains everything it should, we would advise looking over the EHC Plan Checklist (IPSEA) to see whether the draft EHC Plan complies with the law.

In line with the draft EHC Plan, the LA must give notice to the young person, parent/carer that they have 15 days in which to:

  1. Make comments (representations) about the draft EHC Plan
  2. Request a meeting with the LA to discuss the draft
  3. Request that a particular school or other institution is named in the finalised EHC Plan

*The Local Authority are legally required to do this under Section 38 of the Children and Families Act 2014

If a young person, parent or carer requests a meeting during this time to discuss concerns, the LA is legally required to agree to meet you. We would advise you take somebody along to the meeting with you for support and to write down the exact points in which you wish to discuss prior to your meeting.

During draft stage when you make a request for a particular school, college or other institution, the Local Authority must consult with that institution about whether it should be named in the final EHC Plan, unless your request is for a wholly independent school.


The young person, parent/carer has the right to request any of the following types of school or college when they receive a draft EHC Plan:

  • A maintained school or nursery (mainstream or special)
  • An academy (mainstream or special)
  • An institution in the Further Education sector
  • A non-maintained special school
  • A section 41 school

The only reason the local authority can refuse the request is if:

  • The setting is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs (“SEN”) of the child or young person; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources.

If the Local Authority has already finalised your EHC plan and named a different school, you can appeal. For more information, please see appeal/mediation and tribunal section of the website.


Once a provision has been named in an EHCP, that provision has a legal duty to admit the child or young person in section 43 of the Children and Family Act 2014

If an independent school is named in section I, then the LA must pay any fees payable in respect of education or training provided for the child or young person at that school, institution or place in accordance with the EHC plan (section 63 CAFA 2014).

The LA could simply name a type of school or college (rather than a particular school/college). This is lawful, but it means that there is no school/college with the duty to admit the child or young person. The LA will still be required to arrange the special educational provision in section F of the EHC plan and the responsible commissioning health body will still be required to arrange any health care provision in section G of the EHC plan.

If you receive an EHC plan which does not specify a particular school/college, then you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal and seek to have a particular school/college named in the EHC plan.

If you disagree with the choice of school named in the plan by the LA then you could challenge the decision at appeal as well.

For more information, see the section on Appeals/Mediation and Tribunals.


The LA has the right to cease to maintain an EHCP. The action normally happens following and annual review. You have the right to appeal this decision. For further information on annual reviews, please see this section on the website alternatively see below link.


An EHCP must be reviewed annually, within 12 months of the previous review taking place, unless the child or young person is within a phased transfer year. A review is a statutory process which looks at the needs, provision and outcomes specified with in the EHCP. Following the review meeting, which normally takes place at the educational provision. The LA then looks over the collated information and which is one of 3 decisions/

  • Maintain
  • Amend
  • Cease to maintain (take away)

The statutory timeframe of a review is as follows:

  • Information must be gathered from you as well as from professionals about the EHC plan, and then circulated two weeks before the meeting.
  • After the meeting a report of what happened must be written and sent to everyone who went to the meeting or provided information to be discussed.
  • After the meeting the LA reviews the EHC plan.
  • The LA must notify you of its decision within four weeks of the meeting

When an individual reaches year 9, the review process must incorporate preparation for adulthood i.e. what provision is required to help them to achieve their long-term aspirations. The legal duty can be found in regulation 20(6) and regulation 21(6) of The SEN and Disability Regulations 2014 (The SEND Regulations 2014).

For more information, please see the below link.


When your child moves to a new phase of education, their EHCP must be reviewed and amended to ensure that the support detailed in the plan is correct and suitable for that next stage.

The educational transfer phases are:

  • Early years education to school (Reception to Year 1);
  • Infant to Junior school; (Year 2 to Year 3)
  • Primary school to secondary school or (Year 6 to Year 7)
  • Secondary school to post-16 provision (Year 11 to Year 12)

*please note, all post -16 courses are subject to phase transfer reviews by 31st March unless that course is a 2 year continuous course, as post-16 courses usually require young people to re-enrol each new academic year.

There are deadlines in which the EHCP must be reviewed and amended before, according to which stage of education your child is in:

  • 31st March if your child is moving from secondary to post-16
  • 15th February for all other phases
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