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Steps to an EHCP

What is the process of putting together an EHC Plan?

An EHC plan can only be issued after a child has gone through the process of EHC needs assessment. At the end of that process, the Local Authority (also referred as LA or the Bi-Borough SEN Service), has to make a decision, either to issue an EHC Plan or not.

Not every child with special educational needs or disability will need or will eventually get an EHC Plan. They are intended for children and young people from birth and up to the age of 25 who need more support than what the educational setting can provide from the SEN Support resources.

EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

Once the LA has assessed the child, they will decide whether an EHC Plan is or not required; however, if the LA refuses to issue an EHC plan, the parent/carer must be informed of the reasons and that they have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.

If an EHC plan is approved, the LA must first issue a draft EHC plan for the parents/carers to consider. Only at this stage will parents/carers be asked to name the type of setting they want (e.g. mainstream or special school) and the individual setting they want to have named in the EHC plan.

The LA will then consult with that setting about being named in the EHC plan.

As well as the special educational needs and special educational provision of the child, the draft EHC plan should also detail:

  • Health care provision that has been assessed as reasonably required;

  • Social care provision which is being made for the child under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 and any other social care provision that has been assessed as reasonably required.

The child’s parent/s or carer/s has 15 days from the date stated on the later to request any amendments to the draft plan to the LA. 

The LA will then finalise the EHC plan or, review it should the parent/carer request any amendments to it (please see additional information about the “draft plan” further below).

The LA will then have the legal duty to arrange the educational provision specified in the EHC plan, that is, to ensure that the provision is delivered.

The local health care provider will have the legal duty to “arrange” the health care provision specified in the EHC plan, that is, to ensure that the provision is delivered.

If the EHC plan specifies social care provision provided under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, the LA will have a legal duty to make that social care provision under that Act (but not any other social care provision in the EHC Plan not resulting from that legislation).


What is the EHCP timeline

Please access here the EHC Plan Flowchart


Draft EHC plans

The test which the LA must apply when the EHC needs assessment is based on the evidence gathered and according to the current law (the Children and Families Act 2014 section 37 (1)).

Where the LA is going to issue an EHC plan, the first step is for the LA to send the parent/carer a draft EHC plan. This will allow the parent or young person to consider the contents of the EHC plan. This will include the child’s SEN, health and care needs, the provision to meet each of those needs and the outcomes that should be achieved. It will also record the parent/carer's aspirations, views and feelings.

What the draft EHC plan must not include is the name of a particular setting or educational placement or the type of placement i.e. special or mainstream school. This is because the EHC plan must reflect the individual’s needs and the provision to meet those needs and not the resources that the LA has available or which can be offered in a particular placement or type of placement. Special Educational Needs law does not allow an LA to restrict what provision a child receives based on resources – financial or services available. This means that the name of the setting or the type of placement will appear only in the final plan, not the draft plan.

Along with the draft EHC plan an LA must give notice to the parent/carer that they have 15 days in which to make comments, request any amendments about the EHC Plan, request a meeting with the LA to discuss the draft and their right to request that a particular school or other institution is named in the plan.


Provision (Section F of EHC Plan):

All special educational needs, outcomes and provision must be specified in an EHC plan. This means that it should be clear, to parents/carers, educational setting and LAs, who has to do what, when and how often that should be reviewed. The use of wooly or weasel words should be avoided such as “regular”, “access to” or “opportunities for”.

For example this is not helpful or legally correct:

“regular speech and language therapy input as required”

Instead see this example of the correct legal approach:

“One hour direct individual speech and language therapy session per week with a speech and language therapist with knowledge and experience of the communication profile of children with autism spectrum disorder”

Once the parents/carers receive a copy of the draft plan, they normally have 15 days to request any alterations to the Local Authority.


The four underpinning principles on an EHC Plan.

The preparation process and the contents of the EHC plan must reflect the four key statutory principles which require LAs to have regard to:

  1. the views, wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parents/carers;

  2. the importance of the child and his or her parents/carers, participating as fully as possible in decisions relating to the exercise of the function concerned;

  3. the importance of the child and his or her parents/carers, being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions;

  4. the need to support the child and his or her parents/carers, in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help him or her achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes.

(Children and Families Act, section 19)


Outcomes:

All special educational needs, outcomes and provision must be specified in an EHC plan. This means that it should be clear, to parents/carers, the educational setting and LAs, who has to do what, when and how often that should be reviewed. The use of wooly or weasel words should be avoided such as “regular”, “access to” or “opportunities for”.

For example this is not helpful or legally correct:

“regular speech and language therapy input as required”

Instead see this example of the correct legal approach:

“One hour direct individual speech and language therapy session per week with a speech and language therapist with knowledge and experience of the communication profile of children with autism spectrum disorder”

Once the parents/carers receive a copy of your draft plan, they do normally have 15 days to request any alterations to the Local Authority.


How to write a good EHC Plan.

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have developed a resource to help practitioners write good quality EHC plans that meet both the letter and the spirit of the Children and Families Act 2014. For further details, please have a look at the following link. The first part includes excerpts from real EHC plans, the second part has two EHC plans which draw on real examples (although the plans themselves relate to fictional children):

In addition, you can access the IPSEA EHC Plan check list here:


Contact the Bi-Borough Childcare and Early Education Advisory Team


Last Updated 13/08/2020

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