What education, health and care plans are for

Most children with special educational needs (SEN) don’t need an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

An education, health and care (EHC) plan makes it possible for children with special educational needs to access some kinds of support.

Each EHC plan is made individually for each child, and provides access to different kinds of support.

Most special educational needs can be met by mainstream nurseries, schools and colleges.

An EHC plan is only needed if it’s clear that a child’s needs can’t be met through mainstream resources.

An EHC plan is

  • a collection of up-to-date advice about your child’s needs from professionals who know them

  • a chance to share your views and goals about your child’s wellbeing

  • a record of good outcomes for your child’s education, and the support needed to meet them

  • a legally binding document that the nursery, school or college must follow

An EHC plan is not

  • a guarantee of specific benefits or funding

  • a guarantee of a place in a special school

  • a guarantee that your child will receive an assessment from an educational psychologist, speech therapist or other medical professionals

  • a way to provide help because your child has a diagnosis

  • a route to secure a medical diagnosis

  • a guarantee of a placement at a school or college until the age of 25 years

  • a way to access one-to-one teaching support

  • the only kind of support your child should receive.

Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment

Parents, carers, schools and young people themselves (if over 16) can all ask for an EHC needs assessment.

If you think you need an EHC needs assessment

You should speak to your child’s school first and make sure that appropriate support is in place.

Your school is best placed to request an EHC needs assessment as they are required to provide evidence to support the request.

Alternatively, parents/carers can request an EHC needs assessment. We will decide if an EHC needs assessment is appropriate within 6 weeks. If it is decided that an EHC needs assessment is appropriate, we will:

  • collect evidence and views from you and staff at your child’s school
  • speak to appropriate professionals (such as educational psychologists, specialist teachers, social workers, your doctor) regarding your child
  • then decide if making an EHC plan is appropriate based on the information received.

The whole process can take up to 20 weeks.

Find how you can ask us for an EHC needs assessment online. You can also request an EHC needs assessment by phone, post and email.