The Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan looks at all your child's needs and brings together education, health and care services to achieve agreed outcomes. The focus is very much on what is important for children and young people – what they and you want to achieve now and in the future. EHC plans are available from birth to 25 while the child or young person is receiving an education.
The EHC plan puts children, young people and families at the centre of the assessment and planning process. This is called person centred planning and is all about increasing your choice and control. Sixteen to twenty-five year olds should be especially involved in the planning.
The EHC plan includes the aspirations of and the outcomes to achieve as well as a description of your son or daughter's needs, their barriers to learning and the provision required to overcome these. The plan can cover health and social care services alongside education if appropriate for the individual.
The Local Authority is responsible for making sure all the services are brought together and that the plan is well co-ordinated.
The following people have a specific right to ask the local authority to conduct an EHC needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 - 25:
• The child's parent
• A young person over the age of 16, but under 25, on their own behalf
• A person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should be with the knowledge and agreement of the parents or young person where possible)
In addition anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the Local Authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary.
This could include
• foster carers,
• health and social care professionals,
• early years practitioners,
• youth offending teams.
This should be done with the knowledge and agreement of the parents or young person, where possible.
All requests for assessment are considered at the weekly multi-agency SEN panel, which informs the decision made by the Local Authority as to whether an EHC needs assessment is required.
If the Local Authority agree to an assessment the complete process takes a maximum of 20 weeks. A named case worker is allocated who will arrange a meeting with parents and the young person. They will also contact any professionals involved.
For more information on applying for an assessment for an EHC plan, please see our web pages.