Education, health and care (EHC) plan

An EHC plan identifies a child's special educational needs, and where relevant, brings together education, health and care services to achieve agreed outcomes. An EHC plan will only be written for an eligible child on the completion of a SEND needs assessment.

Children, young people and families are at the centre of the assessment and planning process and this should be reflected in the EHC plan. The focus is very much on what is important for the child or young person – what they want to achieve now and in the future.​

The local authority is responsible for making sure the plan is well co-ordinated.

Education, health and care plan

The EHC plan includes the aspirations of and outcomes for the child or young person as well as a description of their needs, barriers to learning and provision required to overcome these.

The plan may cover health and social care services alongside education if appropriate for the individual child or young person.

The required sections of a plan are described in the following code of practice:

The guides below can support parents, carers and young people with completing the All About Me section of the EHC plan.

​Education, health and care (EHC) plans should be used to actively monitor children's and young people's progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations.

They must be reviewed by the local authority a minimum of every twelve months. These reviews must focus on the child and young person's progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in their plan. The review must also consider whether these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.

The review process

There are 3 stages to the review process (stages 1 and 2 are normally carried by the educational establishment on behalf of the local authority).

  1. Gathering of information
    • Review must be undertaken in partnership with the child and their parent or the young person and must take account of their views, wishes and feelings.
    • Review of the special educational provision made and the impact this has had on access to teaching and learning and progress. This could include the need to obtain additional professional advice or reports.
    • Review of the health and social care provision made and its effectiveness to ensuring good progress towards outcomes. This could include the need to obtain additional professional advice or report.
  1. Annual review meeting
  2. The meeting convener must give at least two weeks' notice of the meeting to relevant attendees. These should include:

    • the child's parents or the young person
    • a representative of the school or institution attended
    • a local authority SEN officer
    • a health service representative 
    • a local authority social care representative
      and any other individuals relevant to the review

Information gathered in anticipation of the annual review should be issued to all invitees. If professionals are unable to attend the meeting they should have submitted a report. 

    The meeting must:

    • Focus on the child or young person's progress to achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan, and on what changes might be needed to the support provided to help them achieve those outcomes or whether changes are needed to the outcomes themselves.
    • Involve the child and their parent or the young person and any relevant professional as agreed. Children and parents should be supported to fully engage in the review meeting.
    • Consider the continuing appropriateness of the EHC plan in the light of the child or young person's progress during the previous year or changed circumstances.
    • Consider whether changes are required, including any changes to outcomes, enhanced provision, change of educational establishment or whether the EHC plan should be discontinued.
    • Set new interim targets for the coming year.
    • Where appropriate agree new outcomes.

A full report from the annual review meeting should be sent to the parent or young person and local authority within 2 weeks of the date of the meeting and must set out recommendations on any amendments required to the EHC plan. Following an annual review parents may request a personal budget to meet specific outcomes form the plan.

  1. Local authority review and decisions
  2. Within 4 weeks of the review meeting the local authority must decide whether it proposes to keep the plan as it is, amend the plan or cease to maintain the plan and notify the child's parent or the young person and the educational establishment.

    If it is agreed that the plan needs to be amended,  the local authority will start this process without delay. If the local authority decides not to make the recommended amendments to the plan or decides to cease the plan, the child's parent or the young person will be given information on their right to appeal and the time limits for doing so and the requirements to consider mediation intervention.

    In Northamptonshire, educational establishments convene and hold the review meetings on behalf of the local authority (as listed in section 9.78 of the Code of Practice 2014):

    • maintained schools
    • maintained nursery schools
    • academy schools
    • alternative provision academies
    • pupil referral units
    • non-maintained special schools
    • independent educational institutions approved under section 41 of the children and families act.

For other educational establishments not included above, the local authority works with the establishment to ensure that the review process is completed. This would normally be held by the educational institution.

Reviews where a child or young person does not attend a school or educational institution

Annual reviews for these children and young people are convened and held by a local authority representative. The meetings themselves will be held at a venue agreed with the parent or the young person and the local authority. The process is as described above.

Transfer between phases of education

An EHC plan must be reviewed and amended in sufficient time prior to a child or young person moving between key phases of education to allow for planning for and where necessary commissioning of support and provision at the new institution.

Key transfers to be completed by 15 February of the calendar year of the transfer are:

  • early years provider to school
  • infant school to junior school
  • primary school to middle school
  • primary school to secondary school
  • middle school to secondary school

For young people moving from secondary school to a post-16 institution or apprenticeship the review and any amendments to the EHC plan must be completed by 31 March in the calendar year of the transfer.

Preparing for adulthood reviews

All reviews taking place from year 9 at the latest and onwards must include a focus on preparing for adulthood including employment, independent living and participation in society. This transition planning must be built into the EHC plan and where relevant should include effective planning for young people moving from children to adult health and care services. It is particularly important in these reviews to seek and record the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person.

The review meeting organiser should invite representatives of post 16 institutions particularly where the young person has expressed a desire to attend a specific institution. Review meetings taking place in year 9 should focus on considering options and choices for the next phase of education.

As the young person is nearing the end of their time in formal education, and the plan is likely to be ceased within the next 12 months, the annual review should consider good exit planning. Support, provision and outcomes should be agreed that will ensure the smooth transition to whatever they will be doing next, for example moving to higher education, employment, independent living or adult care.

If the request for placement is as described in section 9.78 of the Code of Practice July 2014, at a:

  • maintained school
  • maintained nursery school
  • academy school
  • alternative provision academy
  • pupil referral unit
  • non-maintained special school
  • independent educational institution approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act

Then the local authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:

  • It would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person.
  • The attendance of the child or young person there causes disruption to the efficient education of others or the efficient use of resources.

In determining these two points, the local authority may also consult for a place at another school that it considers to be suitable according to the child's special educational needs. The local authority does not need parental agreement to do this.

The local authority must consult the governing body, principal, or proprietor of the school or college concerned and consider their comments very carefully before deciding whether to name it in the child or young person's EHC plan. A copy of the draft plan will be sent to the school or college to inform the consultation. If another local authority maintains the school concerned they too must be consulted.

The nursery, school or college and, where relevant, the other local authority, should respond within 15 days.

Parents and young people may make a representation for a place at a non-maintained early years provision, independent schools, specialist colleges or other post-16 providers that are not on the section 9.74 list. The local authority must consider this request, but are not under the same conditional duty to name the provider. 

Where a nursery school, school or college identified in section 9.78 of the code of practice is named on an EHC plan they must admit the child or young person.

Where a parent or young person does not make a request for a particular nursery, school or college or does so and their request is not met, the local authority must specify mainstream provision in the EHC plan unless is would be:

  • against the wishes of the parent or young person
  • incompatible with the efficient education of others

When the placement has been agreed, section I of the EHC plan will be completed and the final plan will be sent to parents, the young person, professionals involved in the assessment and the named education establishment.

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.

Any requests for a personal budget must be discussed with the SEN officer at the draft stage of the process.

Information on personal budgets can be found in the Local Offer. Personal budgets are optional.

Request a personal budget

You can request a personal budget by downloading the form below:

Useful information

What if I am unhappy with my child's EHC plan?

Opportunities to amend the EHC plans are made available to parents, carers or young people at the draft stage. We would hope that any disagreements can be resolved at this stage by liaison with the allocated case worker and SEN Officer.

However, parents, young people and carers have the legal right to appeal under specific circumstances.

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