Community Care and Education Law solicitors answer frequently asked questions about requesting an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Your child must first be assessed to have Special Educational Needs (SEN) which call for special educational provision in accordance with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Many children with SEN or disabilities can have their needs met within mainstream schools or colleges through SEN Support. However, if your child has more complex needs, or requires more specialised provision, for example, if they are not progressing as expected, despite additional support, the first step is to get an EHCP.
Schools will usually request an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment for a child with their parent’s consent. Parents can also contact the Local Authority (LA) directly to request that they carry out an assessment. A young person aged over 16 but under 25 can also request an EHC assessment for themselves.
The Local Authority (LA) must tell parents within 6 weeks of the request whether they intend to carry out an assessment or not. If the LA refuses to carry out an assessment, you can appeal this decision.
Your child will usually be assessed by an Educational Psychologist appointed by the Local Authority (LA). In some cases, if you have your own Educational Psychologist report the LA’s Educational Psychologist will be prepared to use this and merely add to it. Depending on your child’s identified Special Educational Needs (SEN), they may also be assessed by other professionals such as a Speech and Language Therapist or an Occupational Therapist.
The LA will also request information on your child’s health needs from their Designated Medical Officer. If your child has potential social care needs, Social Services should carry out an assessment and coordinate this with the Education Health and Care needs assessment.
If the Local Authority (LA) agree to carry out an assessment, they must complete the assessment within 16 weeks of the request. If, at the end of the assessment, the LA decide that your child does not need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you can appeal the LA’s refusal to issue an EHCP.
If the Local Authority (LA) decide that a child does need an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), they must issue the final EHCP within 20 weeks of the date of the request for an assessment.
Parents must be given 15 days to consider a draft or proposed EHCP and to suggest any amendments before the plan is finalised. If you are not happy with the contents of the Final EHCP, you can appeal. See our FAQs on Challenging SEN Decisions for information about what you can appeal and the appeals process.
However, you can appeal Section B, which describes the child’s special educational needs, Section F, which sets out the special educational provision which is required to meet those needs, and Section I, which describes the name or type of educational placement which is suitable to meet the child’s needs.
If you or your family require specialist advice about health and care needs for disabled children under 25, please contact Sara on 01273 609911, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how our Community Care and Education Law team can help.