Education, health and care (EHC) plans

Education, health and care (EHC) plans are gradually replacing statements of special educational needs and learning disability assessments (LDAs).

Your child has to have a formal EHC assessment before we decide whether they need a plan.

Find out more about assessments, including how to request one.

EHC plans look 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.

Children, young people and families at the centre of the assessment and planning process. Sixteen to 25 year olds should be especially involved in the planning.

We will make sure you have time to prepare for meetings and share your views. You can come to any tests or assessments your child needs.

We are responsible for making sure all the services are brought together and that the plan is well co-ordinated.

We decide whether to give your child an education, health and care (EHC) plan after a formal assessment of their needs.

We will complete the assessment and planning within 20 weeks.

If we decide not to make an education, health and care plan

We'll tell you within 16 weeks of starting the education, health and care assessment if we decide not to make a plan for your child. We'll invite you to a meeting to discuss things.

Appealing: you have 2 months to appeal to a tribunal if we decide not to make an EHC plan. We will tell you how to appeal.

Even if we don't give your child a plan we may still offer them support.

If we decide to make an education, health and care plan

We'll write an EHC plan for your child if we decide your child's needs can not be met by their current school or nursery's arrangements.

The plan will set out the long term outcomes and the help that will be provided.  We will explain the help that is available and involve you in decisions about how any funding is used. In some cases you may be able to receive a personal budget.  We'll talk to you about your options.

You and your child should be central to developing the plans and involved at every stage. We'll meet with you to discuss the plan. We may also invite your child and any professionals who were involved in the assessment.

You'll be able to comment on the draft plan before we issue the final one.

Appealing: if you disagree with the final plan you can make an appeal. We will tell you how to appeal.

Reviewing the EHC plan

We review your child's plan every year in a meeting which you and your child can come to. In the meeting we:

  • check the support your child has received over the past year has helped them to make progress
  • see if your child's needs have changed in any way
  • plan for the next year
  • see if the plan is still suitable or needs changing.

Your child's headteacher will send us a report on the meeting. We'll use this to review the plan. You will get a copy of the report.

Changes to the EHC plan

We will always ask for your views before changing your child's plan. You can appeal to the special educational needs and disability tribunal if you disagree with our changes.

If your child is due to start or change school in September you must tell us which school you'd like your child to go to within 15 days of receiving the draft EHC plan.

We will always do our best to give your child the school you want. If we can, we'll name your chosen school in the plan.

If you don't choose a school, we will name the state school closest to your child's home that can meet his or her needs. We have to take the school's views into account before we name them.

We have to name a secondary school by 15 February in the year your child starts secondary school.

How to choose and apply for a school

If you need help choosing

Your named SEN officer or SEND area team can help you choose a school and will give you information about help with transport.

We will convert all statements of special educational needs and learning difficulty assessments (LDA) to education, health and care (EHC) plans unless they're no longer needed.

We have to convert all statements by 1 April 2018.

When it will happen

Year 9: meetings need to take place by December 2016 for children moving into year 10 in Sept 2017.

All other year groups: if your child's statement has not been converted to an EHC plan yet, please speak to your SENCO.

What happens

Your child's headteacher or head of department will send you a letter inviting you, your child and everyone who supports them to a formal transfer review meeting.

They will use a document which looks like an EHC plan to write a report about barriers to your child's learning, the help they're receiving and long term goals (outcomes). They will send this to us.

We will carry out an EHC assessment. Your views on your child's needs are important to ensure that the new EHC plan is focussed on the outcomes for his or her future, and you can contribute them in writing or in person before and during the transfer review meetings. We will also use the assessment information within the existing statement and any other updates which are being provided for the review. We will only seek more advice if there are concerns that the advice previously provided is no longer relevant.

After the review meeting we will write to you again with our completed assessment set out in a draft EHC plan and invite you to meet with us and comment before we issue it in its final format. We will aim to complete the plan within 20 weeks.

Independent Support Kent is a government funded service offering free, independent support through the transfer process. We will ask them to contact you to offer their services. You can of course continue your own arrangements.

The EHC plan won't formally replace the existing statement or LDA until we issue it as a final document after the 15 day period has passed and we've made any changes.

Transition documents

Download the Kent revised plan for transfer (DOCX, 31.2 KB).

Download the Kent initial plan for transferring statements and LDAs (PDF, 20.4 KB).

If you are unhappy with the assessment process or the final EHC plan you have the right to appeal to the special educational needs and disability tribunal.

Mediation

Before you can make an appeal you must contact Global Mediation on 0800 064 4488. They provide a free, independent and confidential advice service. You do not need to contact Global Mediation if your appeal is only about placement, the health and social care elements of your EHC plan or a disability discrimination claim.

An adviser will provide you with factual information about mediation. Mediation aims to help resolve disagreements that it has not been possible to resolve though the normal routes, such as a school or college complaints process or by speaking to us. An informal meeting will take place where a neutral third party, a mediator, will help you reach a resolution.

It is up to you to decide whether you want to go to mediation before you decide to make an appeal.

If you do want to try mediation, your SEN Case Manager will make all the arrangements for you.

Appeal

If you decide not to try mediation, the mediation adviser will issue you with a certificate so that you can register your appeal with the special educational needs and disability tribunal.

Your right to appeal is not affected if you do not have mediation first.