What education, health and care plans are for
Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will be given additional support from their education setting to meet their needs.
If a child or young person has been identified as having, or possibly having SEN, an agreed approach to support them will be put in place. The education setting will involve the parent throughout this process. Other professionals may also give advice and support.
This means that most children with SEND don’t need an education, health and care (EHC) plan.
Every education provider has an obligation to support children and young people with SEND, as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice 2015, best practice guidance (for early years, including nurseries and childminders) and mainstream core standards (for schools).
An EHC plan may be needed if:
- a child or young person's needs cannot be met through the support they are currently getting in their mainstream educational setting and where the education setting has done everything it can to support
- despite the support provided, the child or young person isn't making progress in their learning or development, or when the progress they are making is due to significant levels of support.
EHC needs assessment request
Parents, carers, schools and post 16 settings and young people themselves (if over 16) can all ask for an EHC needs assessment.
Before requesting a needs assessment speak to their early years setting, school or college about any concerns around their progress or support they are receiving. Their education setting is best placed to request an EHC needs assessment as they are required to provide evidence to support the request.
The needs assessment process
We will decide within 6 weeks of receiving a request whether to carry out an EHC needs assessment. If it is decided that an EHC needs assessment is appropriate, we will contact you (the requestor) or other professionals to:
- collect evidence and views from you and the staff at your child’s education setting
- get advice from appropriate professionals (such as educational psychologists, specialist teachers, social workers, your doctor) regarding your child or young person
- make a decision within 16 weeks of receiving the request if an EHC plan will be issued or not
- notify you in writing if we do not issue a plan
- send you a draft copy if we think an EHC plan is necessary. You then have 15 days to look at the plan with the reports and let us know your comments, stating your education setting preference and whether you accept the plan
- have 15 days to consult with your child's education setting and issue the final plan.
The whole process take up to 20 weeks and an assessment does not always lead to an EHC plan. Find out about each stage of the needs assessment.
You can request an EHC needs assessment either:
- by phone
- by email
- or post using one of our templates:
Read the latest update for EHC needs assessment and plans (PDF, 91.5 KB) from Mark Walker, Director of Special Educational Needs, Disabled Children and Young People.
Support during your needs assessment
Go to your early years setting, school or college and see if they can support and advise you.
You can get impartial, confidential and free advice about EHC needs assessments and plans from Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK). This may particularly be useful if you are educating your child at home as they can help support you with any concerns you may have about your child’s progress.