EHCP – Education, health and care plans
Special Education Needs and Disabilities support is available at every stage of education.
This can be identified in the early years setting and follow the young person through every stage of their education.
If your child’s school or setting can't meet your child's needs using the support they usually offer to children who need extra help, the County Council may carry out a needs assessment for your child. This is called an Education Health and Care Assessment or EHC assessment. When your child's needs have been assessed a plan for meeting them may be drawn up. This plan is called an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
If you have any questions about Education, Health and Care Plans you can contact Worcestershire Children First’s SEND Services:
Call the helpline: 01905 845579
The latest SEND Services team structure can be found here: AAD Directorate staffing (PDF).
Important information about EHC Needs Assessments
The SEND Service has carried out an internal upgrade of our case management and information systems from February 2023. This now includes an easier and more secure way, via the Worcestershire Children First (WCF) Portal, for schools and parents to submit requests for EHC Needs Assessments and for submitting Annual Review paperwork.
For parents/carers, this upgrade should provide an easier and more secure platform to communicate with the SEND Service. You will also be able to see updates and/or progress of your Child’s Assessment and life cycle of their EHCP.
If your child/young person already has an EHCP, then we will be in contact over the coming months to invite you to set up an individual user account, to give you access to the new Parent Portal.
We have produced guides to this new EHCP Assessment process, and how to use the portal.
They can be downloaded here:
- parents guide to submitting and EHCP assessment request
- parent guide to setting up a parent portal account
- schools guide to submitting and EHC assessment
You can also continue to submit a request for an EHC Needs Assessment via previous methods such as email or letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Early years SEND
Pre-school EHC Needs Assessments
The term SEND is used if a child or young person has a Special Educational Need and/or Disability.
Find out more about SEND
For some children the need for SEND support starts early and their nursery or pre-school may realise that they need extra support to move up to school.
Sometimes the help a child has been getting at nursery won't be the help they need if they are to do well at school. Where this happens your child's needs and progress will be monitored by the Pre-School Forum (PSF) for the area where you live.
The PSF will monitor your child’s progress and will assess and review the support your child is likely to need when they start school.
The possible Decisions which the PSF may make about a child are that:
- the child has made sufficient progress to enter Reception without further monitoring
- the child has made good progress because of the support they have received but will need to enter Reception with the Graduated Response cycle continuing.
- the child may need some temporary support when they first start school. This will also help the school as it makes any changes and plans needed to support the child at school.
- the child's needs mean that it is likely that an EHC Needs Assessment should be completed and agreed before they start school. This happens where the child is likely to need, or would benefit from, specialist provision in their reception year at school – i.e., a Special School placement or placement in an Autism Base.
Where the PSF decides that an EHC assessment should be considered the Local Authority will ask for documented evidence of the steps taken to support the child’s SEND.
SEND and moving into school
A child in an early years education setting may have received a lot of support even though an EHC Plan hasn't been written. If an educational psychologist or a member of the Authority's Support Services, and/or an Area SENCo have been involved, they must work with and help the chosen school to prepare for the child's arrival.
If an early education setting has kept any records about a child who may have special educational needs, these should be passed on to the school (as long as the parent’s have agreed).
Transition into School with Enhanced SEN Support
SEN support replaces what used to be called School Action and School Action Plus.
Some children who are known to the pre-school forum may not need specialist provision but further intervention is required.
The Pre-School Forum can refer them to specialist teachers from its' Learning Support Service or Complex Communication Difficulties Team who can support the child in their Nursery setting. They can also offer advice on suitable strategies and interventions for the school the child will be going to.
As the child gets ready to start school the specialist teacher can give the school details of what the child is able to achieve and the tasks which they find difficult (known as a Profile of Strengths and Difficulties). The school can then use this information when plans are being made for the child to start school.
SEND services can provide top-up funding to help the school meet the child's needs while the child is getting used to the changes which happen when a child moves from nursery to school.
This funding can also help the school to provide the necessary support and interventions needed and to monitor and consider whether or not to request an EHC Assessment later on during the Reception Year.
Where a school has become aware that a pupil has SEN it should refer to the Child's Profile of Strengths and Difficulties and provide any help and take any action recommended in that profile. This helps to gain a better understanding of the pupil and how their needs can best be met in their new school environment.
This SEN support will be available for the child and follow them when they enter Reception with the Graduated Response cycle of SEN support in place.
What is an EHCP?
EHCP stands for Education, Health and Care Plan
Education, Health and Care Plans have replaced Statements of Special Educational Needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments. The Plan is put together by professionals in education, health and social care to make sure children with SEND have a package of support to help them through to adulthood (until they are 25).
Special educational needs and provision covers four broad areas.
- communication and interaction
- cognition and learning
- social, emotional and mental health difficulties
- sensory and/or physical
Your child may need more specialist help where their school is unable to meet their needs using a graduated response and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support available through the local offer.
This may mean that Worcestershire County Council carries out a needs assessment called an Education Health and Care Assessment or EHC assessment with your child. During the EHC assessment the Council will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the school as part of the graduated response of SEN support.
This EHC assessment would then be turned into an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Watch a video explaining more about EHC Plans
What information does an EHCP contain?
What information does an EHCP contain?
The EHC assessment is a detailed look at your child’s special educational needs and Disabilities (SEND) and the support he or she may need in order to learn. Worcestershire County Council is responsible for carrying out the needs assessments under the Children and Families Act 2014.
A request for an EHC Needs Assessment should only be made where a child/young person is failing to make expected progress following the Graduated response Assess/Plan/Do/Review cycles AND the special educational provision required to meet the child or young person's needs cannot reasonably be provided from the resources normally available to their setting through the local offer.
The EHC assessment brings together information about:
- your child's education, health and care needs
- special educational, health and care provision that may be required to meet those needs
It includes information from:
- your child
- the early years’ setting or school
- other professionals who work with or support your child
- post 16 providers
Common features of an EHCP
EHCPs may vary on the individual, however they have to be based on plans drawn up in chapter 9 of the SEND Code of Practice, which lays down some common features or sections that all EHCPs have to include:
- section A: family views and aspirations
- section B: his or her special educational needs (SEN)
- section C: any health needs that are related to his or her SEN
- section D: his or her social care needs
- section E: what outcomes you’re hoping to achieve, including your long-term hopes for his or her adult life
- section F: what special educational provision he or she requires
- section G: what health care provision he or she may require
- section H: what social care provision or support he or she may require
- section I: the name of your child or young person's school or other placement, and what kind of institution it is
- section J: this covers the Personal Budget. If you have one, and how it may be used to meet any outcomes
- section K: appendices (the advice and information that was gathered when the EHC needs were being assessed)
EHC assessment requests
What evidence do I need for an EHC assessment?
When an early years setting, school or post 16 provider makes a request for statutory assessment the Local Authority must determine that the legal test of need has been met (that is, that the child or young person has or may have special educational needs and that they may need provision via an EHC plan). Each case is looked at on merit, and in most cases the setting would evidence that at least two cycles of SEN support have been carried out without success. However, if the setting, or parent/carers believe that the setting is not able to provide the help and support which is needed, or the child is at crisis point before any cycles of SEN Support have been completed, they would evidence this and a request for an EHC needs assessment can be made.
The setting or school should be able to provide written evidence of the different perceptions of those involved with the child/young person, any immediate educational concerns and an overall picture of their strengths and weaknesses.
In your setting this could be:
- Teaching/Early Years Assistant
- Learning support
- School Nurse/Health Visitor
- School/Early Years SENDCo
The setting's or school's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) is responsible for making sure that the steps taken to meet the needs of individual children are recorded and that these records are properly kept and available as evidence to include in an EHCP.
The Local Authority will also require evidence of input and support including details of the involvement of external professionals.
External professionals could include:
- Educational Psychologist
- Behaviour Support
- Learning Support
- Health Visitor/Health Care Professionals
- Umbrella Pathway
- Pre-school Forum
- Occupational Therapist
- Speech and Language Therapist
Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment?
- parents – by writing to the local authority
- a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25
- your early years setting, school or post 16 providers but only after talking with you first.
It is always a good idea to talk to your early years setting, school or post 16 providers before asking for an EHC needs assessment as they can provide essential evidence to support your request.
Other people, such as your doctor or a health visitor, can also tell the local authority that they think your child needs an assessment.
You now make a request for an assessment via the secure Worcestershire Children First (WCF) Portal. This will enable you to log on and see any updates and the progress of your request.
We have produced a step-by-step guide to this new EHCP Assessment process, and how to use the portal
It can be downloaded here: Parents guide to submitting and EHCP assessment request (PDF)
Education, health and care needs assessment timeline
The education, health and care needs assessment (EHCNA) is an in depth look at your child’s special educational needs and disabilities and the support they may need to reach their full potential. Worcestershire County Council, through Worcestershire Children First, is responsible for carrying out the EHCNA under the Children and Families Act 2014.
An EHCNA does not always lead to an education, health and care plan (EHCP) being issued, but if one is, then it should not take more than 20 weeks from requesting an assessment to a final EHCP being issued. We have developed this timeline to show what must be done and when during this 20-week period and what you should expect and what may need to be done by you.
Naming Provision in an EHCP
Naming Provision in an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – Section I
As part of the assessment of your child/young person’s needs you will be asked to express a preference for a school for your child to attend. This is a short guide to what this means and what you might want to consider.
What can I ask for?
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015 says that a child’s parent or the young person has a right to request a particular type of school, college or other establishment to be named in the EHCP.
This can be a:
- Maintained nursery school
- Maintained school or any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
- Non-maintained special school
- Further education or sixth form college
- Independent school or independent specialist college (where they have been approved for this purpose by the Secretary of State and published in the Section 41 list) Independent special schools and colleges - GOV.UK
Do I need to express a preference?
In the majority of cases most children/young people will remain in their current provision. The issuing of an EHCP does not mean that a child/young person’s placement will change. The EHCP simply outlines that the provision required by the child/young person is over and above, and different to the provision that is usually available. With the additional resources that the EHCP brings, the Local Authority would expect schools to meet these needs with additional support and use of reasonable adjustments.
If you are happy with your child’s placement you simply need to tell us this. If you do wish to express a preference for an alternative provision, then you are able to do so, and the Local Authority has a duty to consult with them.
What are Reasonable Adjustments?
When considering a placement for a child/young person with special educational needs and/or disability the school/provision must consider all reasonable steps that may be taken to remove any barriers/incompatibility to make the required provision for the child/young person these are known as Reasonable Adjustments.
There are many reasonable steps that may be taken, and the list below are just a few examples (more can be found in The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2015 9.91-9.94):
- Provision of time out/quiet space
- Use of peer support
- Additional adult support
- Identifying behaviour triggers
- Risk assessments
- Use of visual timetables
- Individual workstations
- Staff training and awareness
- Effective transition and preparation for change
The list is not exhaustive as each individual’s case needs to be considered and the appropriate reasonable adjustments made.
Will my choice be named in the Plan?
The Local Authority must comply with your preference and name the school/college in the plan unless:
- The school/college would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person or
- The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient education of others or the efficient use of resources
Efficient education means providing for each child or young person a suitable, appropriate education in terms of their age, ability, aptitude, and any special educational needs they may have.
What can I do if I’m not happy?
- Please contact your child’s SEND case worker or contact SEND Services to discuss your concerns. We would like to work with you to find a way forward - 01905 845579 email@example.com
- Discuss any concerns with your SENCO or SEND lead
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire SENDIASS (SEND information, Advice and Support Service) - 01905 768153 firstname.lastname@example.org
- You have the right to free, independent Mediation, to find out more: Mediation (SEND Local Offer) or contact SEND Services for details – 01905 845579 email@example.com. If you are appealing the education setting only, you can go straight to Tribunal, but you must contact the mediation service first in all other cases.
- You have the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. Telephone– 01325 289350. SEND Tribunals (Gov.UK). You need to register your appeal within 2 months of receipt of the Final Plan.
Download: Naming provision in an EHCP (PDF)
What is the SEND Placement and Provision Panel?
The purpose of the SEND Placement and Provision Panel is to ensure there is transparent, consistent, fair and focused decision making, in line with the legislation for the educational placement of children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans).
The SEND Placement and Provision Panel is where a decision is made about the type of educational setting that a child or young person requires.
What happens at the Panel?
The information relating to the child and their needs is compiled by the Case Work Officer and is shared with members of the SEND Placement and Provision Panel prior to the meeting. This is so that they can read through everything and prepare for the meeting. The information considered by the Panel will vary depending on the request, but can include:
- Confirmation of the needs of the child or young person
- Attendance data
- Information from the parent or carer
- The views of the child or young person themselves
- Professional advice
- The EHC plan
- The review of an EHC plan
- Information about the cost of the proposed provision
The SEND Panel considers every request on an individual basis. It makes decisions based on the evidence provided and the following law and regulations:
- The Children and Families Act 2014
- The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014
- The Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014
- The SEND Code of Practice 2015
Notes of the decision made are taken during the meeting and are used, by the Case Work Officer, to provide feedback to parent/ carers.
Who attends the Panel?
- Director of All Age Disability (Chair)
- Principal Educational Psychologist/Head of Inclusion Support Services
- Designated Clinical Officer
- Group Manager – Children and Young Adults with Disabilities Social Care Team
- A representative from the Commissioning Hub. The Commissioning Hub team support the identification of suitable educational placements for children i.e. independent settings and setting up contracts and finance packages
- A representative from the SEN Leadership Team i.e. a Team Manager or Group Manager
- Case Work Officer who presents the case, makes recommendations, and answers any questions Panel members may have
Where required other professionals are invited to attend to provide information to inform the decision making. For example, a member of staff from the Complex Communication Team.
How you can share your views as a child, young person or family
Parents, children and young people don't attend the SEND Placement and Provision Panel meetings, but you are an important part of our decision making. You can provide your views in a number of ways:
- During a needs assessment for an EHC plan
- As part of the review process for an EHC plan
- By contacting the SEND Team at any time to share information you want to be considered by the Panel
Frequency of Meetings
The Panel meets on a weekly basis.
What happens after the meeting?
Following the Panel meeting, the Case Work Officer will share the decision with you. For example, this could be via email or a telephone call. This will happen within three working days of the meeting.
If you disagree with the decision made by the Panel or require further information about what was discussed, please speak with your Case Work Officer in the first instance, who will provide advice on the next steps.
Download: Panel terms of reference (PDF)
We would like to thank the parent carer from the Parent Stakeholder Group who gave their time and expertise to help co-produce this information.
Post 16 SEND support in colleges
Transition to post 16 provision
Colleges should be involved in transition planning between school and college so that they can prepare to meet the student’s needs and ensure a successful transition into college life.
Colleges should give all applicants an opportunity before, or at entry, and at subsequent points, to declare whether they have a learning need, a disability, or a medical condition which will affect their learning.
If a student makes a declaration the college should discuss with the student how they can provide support.
Students who fell behind at School, or who are studying below Level 2, should have their needs identified and appropriate support should be provided.
Colleges and post 16 institutions
All post-16 students with additional or special educational needs or disabilities who attend Post-16 education have a minimum entitlement to provision that is normally available, whichever school or college they attend. Under the SEND Code of Practice (0-25), further education colleges and other Post-16 Institutions have the following duties that they must follow:
- to co-operate with the local authority on arrangements for young people with SEND
- to offer a place to a young person if the institution is named in an educational health and care (EHC) plan
- to have regard to the SEND code of practice
- to do everything they can to secure the special educational provision that the young person needs
As well as this, there are the following duties under the 2010 equality act:
- colleges and institutions must not discriminate against, harass or victimise young people who are disabled
- they must make reasonable adjustments to prevent young people being placed at a significant disadvantage
- they must prevent discrimination, promote equal opportunities and good relationships
Ordinarily available for post 16 learners
Colleges and other post-16 providers have their own arrangements in place for meeting the needs of young people with SEND, but a range of provision should be available at an appropriate level to meet the young person's needs. This includes:
- a college must do its best to put appropriate support in place (SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years, 2014)
- young people should be supported to participate in discussions about their aspirations, their needs and the support that they think will help them best
- support should be aimed at promoting student independence and enabling the young person to make good progress towards employment and/or higher education, independent living, good health and participating in the community
- support should be evidence based
- colleges should be aware of effective practice in the sector and elsewhere, and personalise it for the individual
- they should keep the needs of the students with SEND under regular review
- for many learners, their needs will be met out of the institution's own SEND Support, as part of its approach to meeting those needs. Details should be published on college websites. For those with more complex needs, provision will be set out in an Educational and Health Care Plan
The Graduated Response within post 16 provision
Where a student has a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision, the college must discuss with students the type of appropriate support to put in place for them.
Colleges should take the "Assess, Plan, Do Review" cyclical approach to assessing need, planning and providing support. They should involve the student closely at all stages of the cycle and they should ensure that staff have the skills to do this effectively.
Special educational support might include, for example:
- assistive technology
- personal care (or access to it)
- specialist tuition
- one-to-one and small group learning support
- travel training
- accessible information such as symbol based materials
- access to therapies (e.g. speech and language therapy)
Specialist help should be involved where the student’s needs are not being met by the setting, and if they still are not progressing with the support being provided the young person can be considered for an assessment for an EHC plan.
Where a young person is aged over 18 consideration must be given to whether or not the young person requires additional time (in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have SEN) to complete their education or training.
Funding for SEN Support post 16
All mainstream colleges are provided with resources to support students with additional needs, including young people with SEN and disabilities. School and academy sixth forms, sixth form colleges, further education colleges and 16-19 academies receive an allocation based on a national funding formula for their core provision.
Colleges have additional funding for students with additional needs, including those with SEN. This funding is not ring-fenced and is included in their main allocation in a ‘single line’ budget. Colleges are expected to provide appropriate, high quality SEN support using all available resources.
It is usually when the student needs a level of support in excess of that Ordinarily Available that the Post 16 provider can either request Top Up Funding from the Local Authority directly or via a request for an EHC Needs Assessment. However, each case is looked at on merit, and if the setting, or the young person or their parent/carers believe that the setting is not able to provide the help and support which is needed, before any cycles of SEN Support have been completed, they would evidence this and a request for an EHC needs assessment can be made. In such cases, the local authority may consider it is necessary for special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan and it should carry out an EHC needs assessment.
For more information see Post 16 learning options for young people with SEND.
Post 18 SEND provision
For young people who transition to post 18, who have special educational needs, the provision of an EHC Plan or assessment for a Plan, may be required in order for the young person to achieve their outcomes.
The Local Authority will need to consider whether still being in education or training will enable the young person to progress and achieve those outcomes and help them prepare for adulthood.
Young people who no longer need to remain in formal education or training will not require an EHC Plan and therefore the Plan will be ceased.
When determining whether a young person aged over 18 no longer requires the special educational provision in their EHC plan, the local authority must have regard to whether the educational or training outcomes specified in the plan have been achieved.
Decisions to cease to maintain the EHCP will be based on the Annual Reviews that take place to determine whether the legal test for ceasing to maintain a plan has been met (that the local authority is no longer responsible for the young person, or that it is no longer necessary for the EHC plan to be maintained). Each Young Person’s exit from an EHCP will be planned carefully to support transitions and effective preparation to adulthood.
In addition, a young person who is studying for a level 4 qualification (higher education level, such as a degree) would not be entitled to an EHC plan.
There are separate systems in place to support disabled young people in higher education, including Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs). These are non-repayable grants that assist with additional costs incurred by disabled students, you can find out more on Gov.uk here: Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)