Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans)

For simplicity we refer to the 'child' throughout this section, which applies equally to young persons aged 16 to 25.


What is an Education, Health and Care plan?

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) is a legal document which:

·       identifies your child's special educational needs

·       the additional or specialist provision (support, therapy etc) required to meet their needs

·       the outcomes (capabilities, achievements) the provision should help them to achieve

·       the placement (the school or college they should attend).


My child has a statement of special educational needs.

Statements are in the process of being replaced by EHC plans.  All statements should be transferred, where appropriate, to an EHC plan no later than 31 March 2018.   For further information about the transfer process see here.


Why is an EHC plan important?

Without an EHC plan, it is very unlikely your child will get extra support beyond what is provided already under SEN Support. Obtaining a good EHC plan is therefore essential if your child needs more support.


How do I get an EHC plan for my child?

There are two stages. 


First, you or the school can ask the Local Authority to assess your child (known as requesting an EHC needs assessment).  They may refuse, in which case you can appeal.  


If the Local Authority does assess your child, it may then go on to prepare an EHC plan; or it may refuse to, in which case you can appeal.  


How should the Local Authority decide whether to assess your child?

The school/college and the Local Authority must consider:


·   is your child failing to make appropriate progress despite the support they are already receiving?


The following must be considered: 

  • your child’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
  • the nature, extent and context of your child’s SEN
  • the action already being taken by the school to meet your child’s SEN
  • where your child has made progress, has this only been as a result of much additional support over and above what is usually provided?

The Local Authority must also consider:

  • your child's physical, emotional and social development and health needs
  • reports from clinicians and other health professionals
  • what has been done to meet your child's needs by other agencies apart from the school/college

For a young person aged over 18, the Local Authority must also consider whether the young person requires additional time, compared with others of the same age without SEN, to complete their education or training.  


Remaining in formal education or training should help young people to achieve education and training outcomes, building on what they have learned before and preparing them for adult life.


Understanding the Content of EHC Plans

If the Local Authority makes an EHC plan for your child, it must be appropriate to the child's needs.


An EHC plan is a blueprint for your child’s future education, and a legal document. It is vital that the plan is right for your child.  Make sure you know what should be in the plan, and draw on the legal framework to make sure that it is right.


An EHC plan is divided into sections.  All Local Authorities have their own EHC plan templates but every EHC plan must contain the following sections.


We use the term ‘child’ in the table below – the sections also apply to an EHC plan for a young person over the age of 16.




What the section must include


The views, interests and aspirations of the child and his or her parents or the young person.


The child or young person’s special educational needs.  


The child or young person’s health needs which are related to their SEN. 


The child or young person’s social care needs which are related to their SEN. 


The outcomes sought for the child or the young person, including outcomes for adult life. The EHC plan should identify the arrangements for the setting of shorter term targets by the early years provider, school, college or other education or training provider. 


The special educational provision required by the child or the young person. 


Any health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN, and where an Individual Health Care Plan is made for them, that plan. 


Any social care provision which must be made for a child or young person under 18 resulting from section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.  


Any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN. This will include any adult social care provision being provided to meet a young person’s eligible needs (through a statutory care and support plan) under the Care Act 2014. 


The name and type of the school, maintained nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution to be attended by the child or young person and the type of that institution (or, where the name of a school or other institution is not specified in the EHC plan, the type of school or other institution to be attended by the child or young person).


Where there is a Personal Budget, the details of how the personal budget will support particular outcomes, the provision it will be used for including any flexibility in its usage and the arrangement for any direct payments for education, health and social care.


The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment must be attached (in appendices). There should be a list of this advice and information.

Why is Section F particularly important?

All special educational provision which is included in Section F must be provided for your child.  The Local Authority is responsible for 'making and maintaining' your child's EHC plan.


For example, if the EHC plan (under Section F) states that your child requires 1:1 Teaching Assistant support for 20 hours a week and the school can’t provide it, the Local Authority must either make the provision directly themselves, or give extra funding to the school so it can provide the Teaching Assistant support.


It is important that all the special educational provision in Section F is specified (what the provision will be) and quantified (how much and how often the provision will be made).


You, and everyone involved in teaching and supporting your child, must be aware exactly what should be provided for your child.


How is the EHC plan drawn up?

You should be consulted and involved throughout the assessment and writing of your child's EHC plan. This may include asking you to attend a meeting which may include discussing the Outcomes In Section E. 


You will be sent a Draft EHC plan for you to comment on and for you to tell the Local Authority the name of the school you wish your child to attend (called 'expressing your parental preference').  All Local Authorities will have a 'SENDIASS' service (formerly called Parent Partnership) who should be able to help you to go through the draft EHC plan and agree the amendments to Sections B and F that may be needed.   


How do I know if the EHC plan is right for my child?

The content of your child's EHC plan is drawn from the reports listed under Section K.  Read through the reports, and then ask yourself:

  • Does Section B provide a clear description of your child's special educational needs?
  •  Is it clear in Section F exactly what provision (in terms of support or specialist input) your child will be receiving, who will be providing the input and how often

Read the relevant section of the SEND Code of Practice Chapter 9, Paragraphs 9.61 - 9.130, to help you assess the draft EHC plan.


What can I do if I am unhappy with my child's EHC plan?

If you are unhappy with the contents of the draft EHC plan, get a meeting with the Local Authority to try to make the changes you believe are needed.  You have the right to request a meeting within 15 days of the date of the letter that came with the draft EHC plan.


If that does not work, once the Final EHC plan is issued, you will have the right to appeal.


You have a deadline of two months from receiving the 'Decision' letter that will be issued with the Final EHC plan.


For further information about how to appeal see here.


How is an EHC plan reviewed?

The Local Authority is responsible for ensuring that a formal review of your child's EHC plan is completed within a year of when it was first issued.  This includes notifying the school of the need to hold a review meeting.  Review meetings are normally held at the student's school or college.  


Following the meeting, the school must prepare and send a report of the meeting to everyone invited within two weeks of the meeting.  The report must set out recommendations on any amendments required to the EHC plan.


Within four weeks of the review meeting, the Local Authority must decide whether it proposes to keep the EHC plan as it is, amend the plan, or cease to maintain the plan. They must notify the child's parent or the young person and the school or other institution attended.  


If the Local Authority decides not to amend the plan or decides to cease the plan, they must notify the child's parent or the young person of their right to appeal that decision.  For information about to appeal this type of decision see here.


If the Local Authority decides to amend the EHC plan, the LA should issue parents with an 'amendment notice' which includes the amendments they are proposing to make and giving parents 15 days to respond.  As a result of a High Court judgment in March 2022, Local Authorities must issue the Amendment Notice within 4 weeks of the Annual Review meeting and issue an Amended Final EHC plan within 12 weeks of the Annual Review meeting.  The parents or young person must be given a right of appeal if they are unhappy with the contents of the amended final EHC plan.   See paragraphs 9.193 - 9.198 of the SEND Code of Practice, 2015.


For further information, if you disagree with the contents of Sections B, F or I, how to appeal the contents of a final amended EHC plan, see here,


Legal references and Guidance

The process for amending the EHC plan will follow the timetable as described in paragraphs 9.193 - 9.198 of the SEND Code of Practice (2015).

Children and Families Act 2014, Regulations 11 and 12, SEND Regulations 2014

SEND Code of Practice, 2015.  Chapter 9, Paragraphs 9.61 - 9.130