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EHC Plans

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) describes your child’s special educational needs (SEN) and the help they will get to meet those needs. An EHC plan also includes any healthcare provision that is needed. It is a legal document written by the local authority (LA) and is used for children and young people with high support needs.

EHC plans replaced Statements of Special Educational Need and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA) on 1 September 2014. EHC plans are for children and young people (aged 0-25) who need a high level of support. The plans can start from a child’s birth and continue into their further education and training.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood. (9.2)

EHC plans are for children and young people who have a special educational need or disability that cannot be met by the support that is usually available at their school or college.

SEN Support and EHC Needs Assessment

Most children and young people with Special Educational Needs will have help given to them without the need for an EHC Plan. This is called SEN Support. The purpose of SEN Support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set out for them.

Some children and young people may not make the progress expected of them at school even with this help. When this happens, the local authority should carry out an EHC Needs Assessment.

Your child’s school can ask the local authority to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment or you can make a parental request for an assessment. When this assessment is finished your local authority must decide whether to issue an EHC plan or not.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

In considering whether an EHC Needs Assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence, that despite the early years provider, school or post16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress. (9.14)

The SEND Code of Practice says that an EHC plan should:

  • be based on decisions made in discussion with parents, children and young people
  • describe what the child or young person can do
  • be clear, concise, understandable and accessible
  • consider how best to achieve the outcomes for your child or young person. They must take into account the evidence gathered from the EHC needs assessment
  • specify clear outcomes
  • consider alternative ways of providing support if a parent or young person wishes it. This could include having a Personal Budget
  • show how education, health and care provision will be coordinated
  • be forward looking – for example, anticipating, planning and commissioning for important transition points in a child or young person’s life
  • describe how informal support as well as formal support from statutory agencies can help in achieving agreed outcomes
  • have a review date.

There is a full list of principles and requirements in the SEND Code of Practice section 9.61.

Every EHC plan must include at least 12 sections, but each local authority can decide how to set these out. The sections are:

  1. The views, interests and aspirations of you and your child or young person.
  2. Your child’s or young person’s special educational needs.
  3. Health needs related to their SEN or to a disability.
  4. Social care needs related to their SEN or to a disability.
  5. Planned outcomes for your child or the young person.
  6. Special educational provision. Provision must be specified for each and every need in section B.
  7. Any health provision required that is related to their SEN or to a disability.
  8. Any social care provision that must be made for your child or young person under 18.
  9. Any other social care provision required that is related to their SEN or to a disability.
  10. The name and type (mainstream or special) of school, nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution to be attended.
  11. Details of how any personal budget will support particular outcomes and the provision it will be used for.
  12. The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs Assessment

When the child or young person is currently in or beyond year 9, the EHC plan must also include the provision required by your child or young person to help prepare for adulthood and independent living.

You can read the full list of what must be included in each section in the SEND Code of Practice sections 9.62 and 9.63.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Local authorities must consult the child and the child’s parent or the young person throughout the process of assessment and production of an EHC plan. (9.21)


Reviews must be undertaken in partnership with the child and their parent or the young person, and must take account of their views, wishes and feelings, including their right to request a Personal Budget.  (9.168)

Your views, and your child’s views, are really important. The local authority, school or college should help you take part and involve you in decision making. If you would like help to do this please contact RIASS for impartial advice and support.

We can also give you information on other sources of help, and what to do if you do not feel that you have been heard or listened to.  

Annual Reviews

The local authority must review the EHC plan every 12 months. This must be done in partnership with you and your child or young person, and must take into account your views, wishes and feelings.

The local authority must decide whether to keep the plan as it is, make changes, or cease to maintain it within four weeks of the review meeting. You have a right of appeal if the local authority proposes to cease the EHC plan.

For some young people, an EHC plan will continue until they are 25. However, the plan will stop if the young person:

  • gets a job
  • goes to university
  • tells their local authority they no longer want their EHC plan
  • no longer needs special help and the local authority decides that the EHC plan should cease.

Where does the funding come from?

The local authority is responsible for ensuring that all the needs set out in the EHC plan are met and that the provision is made. Funding for EHC plans usually comes from a number of sources.

For children in mainstream school some of the funding comes from the school. The local authority may ‘top up’ this funding from their ‘High Needs Block’. Special schools have a standard amount of funding for each pupil.

For young people in 6th forms or attending college some of the funding will come from the college’s budget. This may be ‘topped up’ by the local authority if the amount of funding needed is more than the ‘nationally prescribed threshold’. This is an amount of money that is decided upon each year.

All young people with an EHC plan and all parents of children with an EHC plan can ask for a Personal Budget.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. (9.95)

You may want to look at our Personal Budgets page or you can contact us more information on Personal Budgets, including Direct Payments.

What can I do if I'm not happy with the EHC plan?

The first step is to contact the school, college or local authority to discuss your concerns. RIASS can give you impartial advice and support and explain your options. This may include independent disagreement resolution, mediation or going to appeal.  You can also look at our page What if I do not agree?

What happens if I move to another local authority?

If you plan to move to another local authority you should contact the ‘old’ and the ’new’ local authorities so the support specified in the EHC plan can be put in place. The new authority will amend the plan and name the new school or college. The old local authority must transfer the EHC plan on the day of the move as long as it has had 15 working days’ notice.

Where can I get more information, advice or support?

You can read about Education, Health and Care plans in Chapter 9 of the SEND Code of Practice. The Local Offer tells you about the local arrangements for special educational provision, including EHC plans.

You can contact RIASS for information, advice and support on all SEND issues