As a SENCO, you are most likely asked a lot of questions by parents, teachers and the school about what an EHC plan is and how the EHC Plan process works. It can sometimes be difficult to have a short and clear answer readily available to these questions as the law around special educational needs (SEN) can be quite confusing and complex. We’ve answered the most common FAQs to help you better your support as a SENCO.
What is an EHC Plan?
An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) is a legal document which describes a child’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.
What is the SENCOs role in the EHC Plan?
SENCOs support and liaise with the parents, school staff, carers and medical professionals to ensure that the child’s SEN needs are met as fully as possible during the assessment and EHC Plan process.
What is the EHC Plan process and how do I get an EHC Plan?
The EHC Plan process requires an initial request for a plan from the parents, school or SENCO. An EHC assessment will then be carried out by the local authority, outlining the needs of the child. A draft EHC plan will then be produced and reviewed by the parents and school before the final EHC Plan is composed.
What is an EHC assessment?
An education, health and care assessment examines whether a SEN child would benefit from additional support in school. The EHC assessment can be requested by the parents of the child, the SENCO, staff members of the school and health professionals.
The assessment investigates the child’s special educational needs and is carried out by the Local Authority (LA). If the LA decides to carry out an assessment, the following may be asked for to help determine whether an EHC Plan is required:
- A report from the school about the difficulties that the child is having (usually written by the SENCO)
- Doctor’s assessment of the child
- A letter from the child’s parents about the child needs
What happens after the EHC assessment?
Following the assessment, the LA will decide whether the school can meet the child’s needs using their own resources. If the LA decides that the school can’t do this then the child will receive an EHC Plan. A draft plan will initially be created, allowing the parents and the school 15 days to add any additional points and request a specialist school. The LA will then produce the final EHC plan.
How long does it take to get an EHC plan?
The LA has 20 weeks from the initial assessment to produce the final EHC plan.
What does an EHC plan include?
According to the Government’s SEND code of practice, an EHC Plan should include:
- The views, interests and aspirations of the child and his or her parents
- The child’s special educational needs
- The child’s health needs which are related to their SEN
- The child’s social care needs which are related to their SEN or to a disability
- The long-term outcomes sought for the child
- The special educational provisions required by the child
- Any social care provisions which must be made for the child
- The name and type of school to be attended by the child
- 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 arrangements for any direct payments for education, health and social care.
- The advice and information gathered during the EHC assessment must be attached (in appendices)
What is an EHC Plan personal budget?
The EHC plan personal budget is the amount that is to be made available by the LA to ensure that the support outlined in the plan is put in place. The LA will do this be providing the funding to the school that the child attends in order for them to deliver the educational support needed.
Your LA will consider identifying a personal budget for educational provisions only if you request it when they issue the draft EHC plan following the assessment or when they are annually reviewing the EHC plan.
How often is an EHC plan reviewed?
A statutory review of the EHC Plan will take place every 12 months. The annual review looks at the needs and provisions specified in the EHC Plan, and decides whether any changes need to be made.
What if I disagree with the EHC assessment decision or EHC Plan?
You can challenge your local authority and appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal about the following:
- their decision to not carry out an assessment
- their decision to not create an EHC plan
- the special educational support in the EHC plan
- the school named in the EHC plan
For further information and resources regarding the EHC Plan please see the Government SEND page.
You can also further the time and support you are able give children as a SENCO by streamlining the way you manage your admin and reporting by using Educater’s EHCP and IEP management software. Find out how Educater can support SEND schools here.