What will you learn?
In this short guide, you’ll learn about what an EHC plan is, how to apply and what that means for your child and their education.
- An EHC Plan is designed to support students who need additional support.
- EHC Plans were formerly known as a 'statement of special educational needs'.
- There are five stages to the application process for an EHC Plan.
- You can appeal the final outcome of the needs assessment.
- Assistive Technology can be included as a provision to help students EHC Plans learn independently.
What is an Education Health and Care plan (EHC Plan)?
Education Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) identifies educational, health, and social needs for children and young people up to the age of 25. They are designed to support students who need more support than what is available through special educational needs provision in mainstream education. EHC Plans were formerly known as a 'statement of special educational needs'.
Many students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)will receive support in their school without an EHC Plan. This support comes from within the school and is called SEND Support. Some students’ needs may be significant or complex and require an EHC assessment by your local authority. The outcome of this assessment is an Education Health and Care Plan, or EHC Plan.
Why some EHC needs assessments are rejected and how to appeal
If you disagree with the local authority’s decision on a young person’s EHC Plan, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
The decision letter from the local authority will explain your right to mediation and appeal.
It’s important to fully understand why the local authority reached this decision. Continue talking to the local authority about your concerns, or any questions you have about the reasons they gave in reaching their decision. Further information will help you decide whether to appeal and should you decide to, will be key when building your case.
You can appeal if you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the EHC process or if the local authority:
- refuse to carry out an EHC assessment or reassessment
- refuse to create an EHC plan after carrying out an assessment or reassessment
- refuse to change the sections of an existing EHC plan which are about education (sections B, F and I)
- decide you or your child does not need an EHC plan any more.
- The process varies slightly depending on which region of the UK you live in, so for the most up to date information and advice visit gov.uk.
What does an EHC plan look like?
Although there’s no national standard for an EHC plan, and each local authority may present their plans in different ways they all must include the following 11 sections:
A: The views, interests and aspirations of you and your child.
B: Special educational needs (SEN).
C: Health needs related to SEN.
D: Social care needs related to SEN.
E: Outcomes – how the extra help will benefit your child
F: Special educational provision (support).
G: Health provision.
H: Social care provision.
I: Placement – type and name of school or other institution (blank in the draft plan (link to info about draft plan))
J: Personal budget arrangements.
K: Advice and information – a list of the information gathered during the EHC needs assessment.
This might seem like an overwhelming amount of information. It can help to understand that there are three sections on needs (your child’s challenges) that are matched by corresponding provision (the help your child will get) to meet those needs. In the list above that would mean that:
- “Section B: Special educational needs” are met by “Section F: special educational provision”.
- “Section C: Health care needs” are met by “Section G: health care provision”.
- “Section D: Social care needs” are met by “Section H: social care provision”.
Where does assistive technology fit into an EHC Plan?
The provisions laid out in an EHC plan may include some forms of assistive technology (AT). It’s important to keep in mind that AT’s role is to assist a student’s learning. It doesn’t replace good teaching, but it can be used in addition to well-designed instruction. AT has been proven to help students with their self-confidence, and independent study. It’s also been shown to help students to:
- Work more quickly and more accurately
- Navigate classroom routines
- Organize their timetables
- Work on areas of weakness. For example, a student has reading issues but has good listening skills, text-to-speech tools might be useful.