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What is an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan)

The EHC plan is intended for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

The EHC plan puts children, young people and their families at the very centre of the process to make sure that their views are not only heard but also understood. The planning process uses outcomes focussed planning which helps families feel more in control.

EHC plans are developed using coordinated assessments from all the services involved with the child or young person. The plan focusses on outcomes and must say how services will work together to meet the needs of the child or young person.

The overall purpose of the 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.

A statutory assessment for an EHC plan should not be the first step in the process for helping to meet the needs of a child or young person but should be built on coordinated work that is already happening between families, educational settings and any other health or social care services involved.

Young people and families have helped to design the EHC plan that we are using. The feedback we have received from them so far is that they feel more listened to and more involved in the decision making for their child in ways that make sense to them.

How to apply for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment

Who is eligible for an EHC needs assessment?

An EHC needs assessment is available for children and young people aged 0-25 years.

When should an application for an EHC needs assessment be made?

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs can be provided for from the resources normally available in their educational setting and community. The Local Offer will ensure that families and practitioners can find out what is available and help everyone to make the most of services offered in schools and in the community.

You can yisit our local offer website for more information:

Where provision cannot reasonably be provided through services that are normally available, it may be necessary to apply for an EHC needs assessment.

It is usually best for families to talk to their child’s setting or professionals or a professional working with their child before a request is made. Settings and professionals who are familiar with the family should be able to help them to decide whether an assessment is needed. We would encourage educational settings and families to complete the request for assessment form together.

When a request is made it really helps those considering whether an assessment is necessary to know what the family’s views are. To make the process as easy as possible and to help families only have to tell their story once, it also helps to have good information about the child or young person and their journey so far. There are questions on the request form that help to gather this information.

Sometimes families may find it helpful to talk to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SEND IASS) when they are considering making an EHC needs assessment. This service can also provide information about independent support.

You can visit their webpage for more information:

Who can apply?

Families and young people (aged 16+) have the right to apply for an EHC needs assessment independently. Schools, colleges and other educational settings can also make a request but they can only do this with the knowledge and consent of the parent or young person.

The form to complete to make a request is available on SIMS or you can download directly from below:

How the EHC Needs Assessment Process Works

Our EHC needs assessment ‘at a glance’ guide provides details about how the assessment works.

When it is agreed that an assessment will go ahead, the educational setting will be asked for advice and you will be asked to complete the form below.

If following the assessment an EHC plan is agreed, it will be reviewed every year and will stay in place as long as it is required. The EHC plan can remain in place until the age of 25.

How families are supported

When an EHC needs assessment is agreed, the family will be assigned an SEN Officer (or EHCP Coordinator) to guide them through the process. If an EHC plan is agreed, the family will continue to have a named SEN Officer (or EHCP Coordinator) for the duration that the plan exists.

For most families, working with their SEN Officer (or EHCP Coordinator) will be enough but some families may request extra support to ensure that their voice and their wishes are heard.

KIDS Independent Supporters are trained to help families and young people through the EHC plan assessment, planning and development. See contact details below:

KIDS East Hub: 01992 504013
KIDS West Hub: 01923 676549

The SEND information advice support services (SENDIASS) is an impartial information, advice and support service funded by Hertfordshire County Council for parents, carers, young people (0-25) and professionals. They offer a personalised confidential service to help you understand how special educational needs are assessed and managed, so that you can make informed educational choices. The contact telephone number for SEND IASS is 01992 555847 or you can email the service:

The Annual Review

Annual Review of an existing Statement of SEN

As of 1st September 2014, EHC plans have replaced statements. However, those with an existing statement will continue to need their statement reviewed annually until it is transferred to an EHC Plan (all statements will be transferred to EHC Plans by April 2018). The process of reviewing a statement will remain the same.

Annual Review of an EHC plan

There is separate documentation to use when reviewing the EHC plan. We have also provided some guidance on what happens during the annual review of an EHC plan and some tips for schools.

What is a personal budget?

A personal budget is one of the ways of giving children, young people and their families more choice and control about the way they are being supported. Sometimes the money being spent on services can be freed up and used in different, more creative ways to meet the needs of child or young person.

Who can apply for a personal budget?

If an EHC plan is agreed, the family will have the opportunity to request a personal budget through their SEN Officer (or EHCP Coordinator). However families may also be eligible for a personal budget if they have social care involvement, if the child or young person is disabled or in receipt of Continuing Healthcare.

What can a personal budget be spent on?

A personal budget could cover a range of things like eligible social care needs, transport to and from school and healthcare services.

A personal budget cannot be used to cover costs of school places, therapeutic services and preventative/early help social care services.

See our leaflet ‘explaining personal budgets’ for more information