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Education, health and care (EHC) plans
This page gives you information about Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Click on the titles to find out more.
- What is an EHCP?
An EHC plan is a legal document for children and young people with SEN (aged 0-25). For a young person to have an EHC plan they must be in education, apprenticeship or training. The aspirations, needs and outcomes for a child/young person are central to an EHC plan. The plan is developed through a person-centred approach which involves practitioners and other supporters working in partnership with the child and their parents or with the young person.
The purpose of an EHC plan is to:
- Record the views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or the young person
- specify the SEN of the child/young person
- outline the child or young person’s health needs which relate to their SEN
- document the child or young person’s social care needs which relate to their SEN
- describe the outcomes sought for the child/young person
- detail the SEN provision required to meet the outcomes
- describe the health and social care provision necessary to meet the SEN of the child/young person within their educational setting
- ensure that education, health and social care services work together to meet the child or young person’s SEN and to support the outcomes sought for the child/ young person
- prepare young people for adulthood from the earliest years
The Key Facts about the EHC Needs Assessment gives an overview of when an EHC plan may be required.
“The EHC needs assessment should not normally be the first step in the process, rather it should follow on from planning already undertaken with parents and young people in conjunction with an early years provider, school, post-16 institution or other provider.” (SEND Code of Practice 9.3)
There is no standard format for Education, Health and Care Plans, so they will look different in every Local Authority. There are lettered sections that must be in every plan:
- Section A: The views, interests and aspirations of the child and his or her parents or the young person.
- Section B: The child or young person’s special educational needs.
- Section C: The child or young person’s health needs which are related to their SEN.
- Section D: The child or young person’s social care needs which are related to their SEN or to a disability.
- Section E: The outcomes sought for the child or the young person. This should include outcomes for adult life.
- Section F: The special educational provision required by the child or the young person.
- Section G: Any health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN.
- Section H1: Any social care provision which must be made for a child or young person under 18.
- Section H2: Any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN.
- Section I: The name and type of the school.
- Section J: Any information about a Personal Budget.
- Section K: The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment must be attached (in appendices) with a list of this advice and information.
You can see a blank format for a Devon EHC Plan here.
- Requesting an assessment
How do I request an assessment?
If you think your child has special educational needs or disabilities and needs additional support speak to their teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They can talk to you about beginning the support, which will set out areas of need and the targeted support required to meet these and achieve the best outcomes.
If your child fails to make good progress in their mainstream school, even with additional support, an EHC needs assessment may be necessary.
Who can request an assessment?
- a young person aged 16-25
- a parent of a child aged 0-16
- a child’s school
- a doctor or health visitor
- a nursery worker
- a social worker
How to request an assessment:
You can request an EHC needs assessment by contacting the SEN 0-25 Team.
The SEN 0-25 Team may ask you to complete a form. You don’t have to complete the form to request an assessment. We may still ask you for a lot of the information on the form to inform our decision-making.
- Request form for parents
- Request form for young people (16-25)
- Professionals’ Request for Statutory Needs Assessment
Send this form by email or by post. If you have any difficulty accessing the form, please contact us.
Email the SEN 0-25 Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to: SEN 0-25 Team, Room L102, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 4QD
or phone: 01392 380434
- Who can help me with the EHC Needs Assessment request and EHC Plan?
The SEN 0-25 is organised into 4 area teams. their job is to co-ordinate Education, Health and Care plans and to keep you informed throughout the process. You can contact a member of staff in the SEN 0-25 team by:
- calling 01392 380434 and select option 3
- emailing email@example.com
Have a look at these documents which explain more about the SEN 0-25 Team and tell you which ‘area’ you are in, according to your home postcode.
- Meet the SEN 0-25 Team
- SEN 0-25 Team structure and management chart
- SEN area postcodes
- SEN Key Contacts list
Devon Information, Advice & Support for SEND (DIAS) can provide support to parents, carers, children and young people during the EHCP process. DIAS is an independent, impartial service which is at arm’s length from Devon County Council. DIAS can support you with information, advice and support related to all aspects of SEND with a legally trained caseworker who will support and empower you to help secure the best possible outcomes for your child or young person.
- call 01392 383080
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Making Decisions and Timescales
What happens next? What are the timescales?
After a request is made, we have 6 weeks to decide whether or not to carry out an EHC needs assessment. We use the information provided at the ‘request’ stage to make a decision about whether the child or young person may have Special Educational Needs that require the Local Authority to issue an EHC Plan.
- If we agree to carry out an EHC needs assessment we will gather evidence and information you and from the people who work closely with your child.
2. If the EHC needs assessment results in an EHC Plan, we will produce it within 16 weeks of the initial request. To create a plan, professionals from education, health and care will work with you and your child to consider what your child want to achieve (outcomes), what their needs are (needs), and what support needs to be put in place to help them achieve (provision).
3. We send a draft plan to you to check and suggest your preferred school. You have 15 days to request changes
4. The school named on the EHC Plan has 15 days to confirm it can meet the child or young person’s needs.
5. We send out the final EHC Plan, including the name of the school.
The whole process from the EHC needs assessment request to agreement of an EHC plan should take no more than 20 weeks.
How do you make a decision about doing an EHC Needs Assessment at 6 weeks?
The SEND 0-25 team is divided in to 4 areas. Each area is managed by an Area Education Commissioning Officer (AECO). They oversee the process of assessment and writing the plans. They have the responsibility to make the initial decision to assess Education, Health and Care needs.
• There is frequent peer moderation between AECOs to check their decisions are consistent across areas.
• Every week a Moderation Panel meeting is held which has representatives from education, health and care who review the decisions made by the AECOs.
How do you make a decision about issuing an EHC Plan at 16 weeks?
The SEND 0-25 team is divided in to 4 areas. Each area is managed by an Area Education Commissioning Officer (AECO). They oversee the process of assessment and writing the plans. They have the responsibility to decide whether to issue the plan.
• There is frequent peer moderation between AECOs to check their decisions are consistent across areas.
• Every week a Moderation Panel meeting is held which has representatives from education, health and care who review the decisions about issuing plans made by the AECOs.
How do you make a decision about which school to name on the EHC Plan?
Devon County Council whenever possible will endeavour to keep children and young people as close to home and in their own local community as is possible.
In line with the findings and recommendations from national government guidelines and recommendations, we know that children and young people benefit most from being part of their community and close to their family. There are fewer issues with transferring their independence skills when they can learn and develop their skills in the locality where they are likely to live.
We will in Devon, wherever possible be considering suitable provision that will be named in and Education, Health and Care Plan on a ‘local first’ basis.
- This means that we will consider local mainstream provision first, whenever appropriate, before considering a specialist provision or a residential option.
- And inline with the recommendations in the Code of Practice, we will consider independent placements with the providers who have been approved by the Secretary of State, who are described as ‘Section 41 providers’ by the Education Funding Agency if the child or young person’s needs cannot be met within a mainstream provision.
- We will not be considering other placements in the independent sector, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- Disagreement Resolution, Mediation and Appeals
Most disagreements about special educational provision can be sorted out by talking with the education setting, professionals who work with the child or the Local Authority. If you need help with this you can contact the Devon Information, Advice & Support for SEND service which offers impartial information and advice to parents/carers and young people.
It can sometimes be difficult to reach agreement so local authorities must make arrangements for both disagreement resolution and mediation services. These services are available to children with SEND and their parents or carers. The services are free and confidential and are independent of the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.
Disagreement resolution aims to resolve disagreements in a quick and informal way, using a trained and independent mediator to help find a solution. The use of this service is voluntary and has to be agreed by everyone involved. This service is available to help resolve disagreements about:
- how the early years setting, school, college or Local Authority is carrying out its education, health and care duties for children and young people with special educational needs. This can include any of the SEN duties – not just those concerning EHC needs assessments or EHC plans
- the provision that the early years setting, school, or college is making. This applies to children and young people with any kind of SEN, not just those going through an EHC needs assessment or with an EHC plan
- the health or social care provision during an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being drawn up or reviewed, while awaiting an appeal or when children or young people are being reassessed. In these cases the disagreement will be with the Local Authority or Clinical Commissioning Group, rather than the early years setting, school, or college.
Mediation is a voluntary process for parents/carers and young people, which can be used if agreement cannot be reached about matters related to EHC plans. It is provided by a trained and accredited mediator who is independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.
Mediation is available if there is a disagreement about the Local Authority’s decision:
- not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
- not to draw up an EHC plan after an EHC needs assessment has been done
- not to amend an EHC plan after an annual review or re-assessment
- to cease to maintain an EHC plan.
Mediation must also be available if parents/carers or young people disagree with:
- the parts of the EHC plan that describe the child or young person’s special educational needs
- the special educational provision set out in the EHC plan
- the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.
A request for mediation must be made within 2 months of the date of the decision notice by the Local Authority.
If you decide to go to mediation, Global Mediation will make all the arrangements for you. The mediation will take place within 30 days and will be at a time and place that is convenient to you.
Appeal to the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Tribunal
Parents or carers and young people can register an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Tribunal about concerns relating to SEND provision and decisions about EHC plans. This is an independent first-tier tribunal who hear and decide parents’/carers’ or young peoples’ appeals against the decisions of the local authority in relation to special educational needs.
To register an appeal you must first contact an independent mediation adviser and obtain a certificate to show that you have done so. The mediation adviser will provide you with information, explain what is involved and answer any questions you may have about mediation.
Once you have contacted the mediation adviser you can choose whether you wish to go to mediation or not. You will need a certificate from the mediation adviser before you can register your appeal with the SEND Tribunal. This will be issued within 3 days of you concluding mediation or telling the mediator you do not want to attend mediation.
You do not need to have a certificate from a mediation adviser before you register an appeal with the SEND Tribunal if the appeal is solely about the name of the school, college or other institution named on the EHC plan, the type of school, college or other institution specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named. In addition you do not need to seek mediation advice if the appeal is solely about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.
From 3rd April 2018, Devon will be part of a national trial which gives you the opportunity to request recommendations about the health and social care content of the plan alongside education content. You can read more about this in the EHCP Tribunals: Single Route of Redress Guide.
More information about the Tribunal
- The government information about appeals to the SEND Tribunal can be viewed here
- You can download the global mediation leaflet that will explain more about mediation and provide contact details
- To discuss or request mediation advice and meditation you can contact global mediation on 0800 064 4488 or email email@example.com. This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential
- The Devon Information, Advice and Support for SEND service can also give you more information and advice about what is involved and the options open to you.
- Feedback, Concerns and Complaints
If you have a good or bad experience of our services, we want to know so we can continue to improve. You can give feedback anonymously via the feedback form on this website.
Sometimes, it can really help to have a conversation, raising your concerns in an effort to solve the problem. You should be able to speak directly with the provider, whether this is a school, social care or health service, or private company. Organisations providing a service to you want to do the best they can to solve problems before they are escalated to formal complaints. If you don’t feel confident raising concerns by yourself you can ask Devon Information Advice & Support for SEND for help and support. If it is not possible to solve the problem in this way you may need to submit an official complaint.
If you have tried to solve the problem through giving feedback or discussing your concerns, you may feel it is necessary to make a formal complaint.
- Complain about a school, college or early years setting
- Complain about a health provider – there are different routes for complaints depending on the health service you used, this page gives more information.
- Complain about Virgin Care – PALS is a Patient Advice and Liaison Service
- Complain about Devon County Council Children’s Social Care
- Complain about the Devon County Council SEN 0-25 Team
- Review and re-assessment
Reviewing EHC plans
EHC plans must be reviewed annually at a meeting where you, your child and the professionals who work with them can discuss the year and plan for the future.
Re-assessment of an EHC plan
We must consider a re-assessment of your child’s EHC plan where we are asked to do so by the responsible commissioning body for that child or young person. This may happen if the provision which was agreed in the EHC plan is no longer available or appropriate. We have 15 days in which to tell you and your child whether re-assessment is necessary.
- If a young person is 16 or older...
16 year olds
Children and young people should have a say in any decisions made about them which affect their support. When a young person turns 16, they have the right to request an EHC Needs Assessment and a right to make decisions about the care and support they receive, even if those decisions are not in line with their parent’s wishes.
When a young person is 16 or older:
- The SEN 0-25 Team will correspond directly with the young person (unless they do not have mental capacity to make the specific decision required).
- Parent carers can still be involved in discussions and reviews if the young person wants them to be.
There is more information about the Mental Capacity Act, Deputyship, and young people/parent carers’ changing responsibilities on the Preparing for Adulthood section of this site.
19-25 year olds
All young people in Devon have an entitlement to access education until they are 18. This is the same for all learners with and without SEND. The SEND Code of Practice and Department for Education guidance states that all learners should be able to complete their education by the time they reach 18. This applies to learners with EHC Plans as well.
From year 9 onwards the focus of each EHC Plan must be on preparation for adulthood and what each child/young person wants to achieve in their education. As each learner progresses through their education the EHC plan will be reviewed and updated. When the learner reaches 18 their EHC plan should outline what ceasing the plan should look like, the plan should outline what outcomes the learner needs to complete their education.
Learners with EHC plans can access education between 19-25 if it is identified that they have incomplete outcomes in their EHC plan. Each learners EHC plan should identify what they need to accomplish to complete their education. They should have clear outcomes linked to their aspirations.
Learners without EHC plans can continue to access education between 19-25. Support can be accessed through their FE college for their SEN needs. Any learner can request an assessment of their SEN until the age of 25. EHCPs help young people to access Further Education and are not used in Higher Education (universities).
- Feedback on EHCPs
Every time we issue an EHCP, we ask for feedback.
Parental Feedback Report – April-July 2018
- More information and videos
Information for parents of children with SEND from gov.uk
Education Health and Care (EHC) Statutory Assessments and Plans leaflet from DIAS
Assessments, Plans and Reviews leaflet