Deciding whether to issue an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan

The local authority must notify you and your family by week 16 if it intends to issue an EHC plan. The EHC Placement Panel make this decision.  They use the evidence provided as part of the needs assessment process.

The EHC Panel considers if a child or young person has or may have special educational needs.  They consider if they need specialist support set out by an EHC Plan. They look at:

  • What has already been done to meet needs and what else could be put in place? Education providers are required to identify needs, provide support, review this, make changes and introduce extra support where needed.
  • If there is evidence the child or young person has not made the expected progress.  This is despite the education provider taking relevant action.

3 cartoon figures of people.  Girl with red hair is in a wheelchair.  Other 2 are men.

If it is decided not to issue an EHC plan

The local authority will confirm this by letter.

Contact SENDSARS first if you have any questions about the letter.  They are there to support you and your child/young person.

The letter will also tell you how you can speak to a mediator and appeal against this decision to the SEND Tribunal. Please see What if I disagree with a decision?

If it is agreed to issue an EHC plan

The local authority will send you and your family a draft plan.  They will ask you:

  • to provide your feedback and comments
  • which school or other setting you would like your child to attend
  • if you would like to request a Personal Budget

Choice of school

The local authority can only refuse your choice of school if specific exceptions apply.  Please refer to the IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) website for more information.

The local authority must consult the school or other setting before naming it in the EHC plan.  The school or setting must respond to the consultation within 15 calendar days.

Once named in the final EHC plan, that setting must admit your child.

Comment on a draft plan

You and your family have 15 calendar days in which to comment on the draft plan.

If you need more time, you can ask for an extension. The Local Authority takes into account individual circumstances.

You and your family may request a meeting with an Inclusion Officer from the SENDSARS Team.

After this, the local authority will consider the changes you have asked for.  They may ask for professional advice before agreeing to any requests.  This may happen if they include additions that are not part of any current reports. If changes are agreed, then a new draft will be sent to you for comments.   

EHC plan checklist

  • Is the plan clear, to the point and easy to read?
  • Does it include you and your family's views?
  • Does it show your child or young persons views and what they want for the future?
  • Are your child’s special educational, health and social care needs all captured?
  • Are the outcomes SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound) and linked to the aspirations?
  • Is the description of education, health and social care provision detailed and specific? The EHC plan should state who will do what, how often, for how long and for what purpose.
  • Is the provision linked to the outcomes?
  • Is there provision for each special educational need?