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What is an EHCP?

by Charlie Blackman-Doyle, Head of School (Cambridge)

EHCP stands for Education Health Care Plan. This is a legal document that sets out: the needs of a child or young person; target outcomes for them to achieve; and the support that they will receive to do this. An EHCP can be in place throughout education up to the age of 25 - this does not however mean that an EHCP will always be in place until 25. Once an EHCP is in place the Local Authority (LA) are legally obliged to ensure that the provision that is set out in the plan is provided. This therefore often opens up avenues to further support and choice in the education setting that the child or young person attends.  


Who can have an EHCP? 


To gain an EHCP, the Local Authority must agree that the child or young person has Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND), and that their needs cannot be met through standard Special Needs Support strategies. Children and young people with SEND needs are not automatically entitled to an EHCP, and many complete their education without one. However if their needs are not being met with standard strategies, an EHCP needs assessment can be applied for.    


The needs that can lead to the applying for an EHCP vary significantly and there is not a definitive list of what these. EHCPs are likely to be granted where there is evidence that there is a special educational need, in combination with a slower rate of academic progress.  


Who can request an assessment? 


Any professional involved in a young person’s education can apply for an EHC assessment, not just the school as is often thought. 

Parents and / or carers, young people over the age of 16, early years settings, schools, and colleges, can all also make the request.  


How do I get an EHCP? 


While all of the above can make the request for an EHC assessment, where possible it is preferable for it to come directly from an education placement. As a first step it would be advisable for you to approach the education establishment you or your child attends and ask to speak to the SENDCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). You will then be able to discuss your concerns and request an EHC needs assessment directly from the school/ college/ other educational placement.  


If the educational placement does not offer support with EHC needs assessments, you or another professional (as above) can make this request directly.  


To find your local authority page to do this you can use the government guide on EHC plans 


To complete the assessment, you are likely to be asked for any school reports you have, doctor assessments of needs, and a letter from you (over 16) or a parent / carer about you or your child’s needs.  


The final decision on whether a child or young person will be granted an EHCP rests with the Local Authority; they should tell you within 16 weeks of submission if an EHCP will be created. They have 20 total weeks from the date of submission to provide the final EHCP.  


I am getting an EHCP - what happens next? 


Following a needs assessment .the LA will begin to create a draft EHCP. This will contain information on the child or young person’s needs, their voice, parents’ voice, agreed progress goals, and the provision that will be put in place to help make them happen.  


One this draft EHCP is created, it will be shared with you. Once shared you have 15 days in which to respond - this also includes if you wish to request a special needs school or college placement. In Toto Ed, as an alternative provision, is the kind of placement that can be requested.  


What will change with an EHCP? 


An EHCP can open many doors to support for children and young people. It can be to allow them to move to a specialist education placement, or to gain funding within their current placements for intervention and /or further support. These are known as the provisions to meet need. These are different for each plan and are bespoke to the child or young person dependent on their needs and agreed outcomes from the plan.  


One change that is the same for anyone who has an EHCP, is that this is reviewed annually. This meeting is known as the Annual Review and is most often led by the education placement. Other professionals may also attend such as social workers, case workers and pathway advisors.  


What is a Case Worker or Pathway Advisor?  


When an EHCP is issued, a Case Worker is automatically assigned to the child or young person. This is the member of the local authority who is charged with managing the EHCP. Your Case Worker is responsible for issuing updated EHCP plans following each Annual Review, and plays a critical role in ensuring that the child or young person receives the appropriate support to meet their needs. This includes finding an appropriate education setting for the child or young person.  


Finding a new school/ college with an EHCP 


There is a process set up for finding a new education setting upon gaining an EHCP. The Case Worker assigned to the child or young person will consult with placements, and it is often required that case workers consult first with the local offer. You may also ask for other placements, such as In Toto Ed, to be consulted.  


Your EHCP and any other relevant information is sent to the education establishment, who then has 15 working days to review that information and issue a reply as to whether they believe that they: 

 1. Can meet the needs set out in the EHCP 

 2. Have space for the child or young person to join 


Once the consultations have been collected, this then informs the decision on which school or college can be joined.  


How can In Toto Ed help? 


For current students already at In Toto Ed, all senior staff can assist in completing the EHC needs assessment paperwork, including a statement supporting the application.  


As mentioned previously, In Toto Ed is also the type of education setting that can be consulted on the placement of a new student upon gaining an EHCP.  


Are all EHCPs the same? 


Not only is the content of each EHCP different, but the paperwork itself changes from county to county. There is not currently a national standard for EHC plans, and therefore each county has designed and implemented its own. If you move county, a new Case Worker from that county will be assigned to you, and they will be responsible for transferring your EHCP onto their format.  


What is in each section of an EHCP? 


The EHCP is made up of several sections each with a different focus these generally are: 

(In order of appearance on EHCP)  


Section I: The named education placement  


Section A: All about me – Personal details, child/ young person’s views and parent views.  


Section B: Special Educational needs – The needs of the student explained under the sections Summary, Cognition and Learning, Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties, Sensory and/or Physical needs and Communication and Interaction.  


Section C: Health needs -any on-going diagnosed needs and medication


Section D: Social care needs – details of any social care involvement  


Sections E & F: The agreed outcomes (Targets) for the child/ young person and the provision that will be put in place to support reaching these.  


Section G: The health provision for the child/ young person  


Section H: The social care provision for the child/ young person 


Section J: The EHCP resource sheet (for personal budgets)  


Section K: Advice and Information Gathered – This is a list of the professionals and reports that have contributed to the EHCP 


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