What is an EHCP? an overview

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What is an EHCP?

EHCP is the short name for an Early Health and Care Plan. This is a legally binding document that explains all of the interventions and additional support that your child may need in order to have their individual needs met in their educational setting. It includes their health and social care needs, as long as they are relevant to their education, as well as their specific education needs.

The additional support must be that which is not included in the school’s Ordinarily Available Provision (Click here for further information (opens in a new tab).

The EHCP document is specific only to your child and ensures that the support they require HAS to be provided by their educational setting. It is valid until the end of the academic year when they turn 25.

How can I apply?

There are several ways that an EHCP can be applied for.

  • You can apply yourself as the child’s parent or carer.
  • Your child’s school can apply.
  • If you have a social worker, they can also apply.
  • Your child’s paediatrician can make the application.

A simple written request must be made the local authority, asking them to make a needs assessment for the child. The local authority then have 6 weeks to review the request and to decide whether they will make the needs assessment.

If the local authority agrees that a needs assessment is required, they then have another 6 weeks to gather information about your child from a range of professionals who work with your child. You will also be required to make a contribution at this time.

What happens next?

The local authority will then use this information to decide whether or not they will issue an ECHP for your child. If they do decide to issue one, a draft document will be created, using the information given by you and the involved professionals, which will lay out the intended outcomes for your child, and how the school and other professionals will help them to achieve these outcomes. You will have 15 days to read this document and to confirm that you agree with the support that is being included. Any changes will need to be made at this time.

The EHCP will also include a named school. This is the school that will be the best fit for your child and may be a mainstream or specialist setting. The name of this school will only be included in the final EHCP document. Once a school is named in an EHCP, that school must accept your child.

The EHCP will include any special educational provision your child requires, as well as any social care and other health care provision. It may also include details of any direct payments that can be made to your child in order for them to get any additional support they require.

Annual review

All EHCP’s must be reviewed annually with your child’s educational setting. This gives you and the school the opportunity to look at your child’s progress and to make any changes that may be required. There may be no changes, there may need to be new support added in or your child may need to move to a different setting to meet their needs.

What happens if your request for a needs assessment or EHCP is declined?

If the local authority do not agree to a needs assessment or to issue an EHCP you have the right to challenge this at a tribunal. Further information about this process can be found here (Tribunals)


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