Obtaining an Education Health and Care Plan

EHCP Guidance

The first step to secure an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), formally known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs, is to assess the child’s needs formally.

The first step to secure an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), formally known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs, is to assess the child’s needs formally.

An accurate plan can transform the prospects of a child with Special Educational Needs.

Our role is to work with parents to secure the best support for their child. Local Authorities should not use a lack of funds as a reason to resist providing an appropriate Education Health and Care Plan. The law protects the interests of the child.

The process can be complicated with key deadlines at every stage. We will guide you through the process.

The Local Authority must conduct an Education Health Care Needs Assessment before an EHC Plan can be issued. Many parents find the SEN process to be a maze.

The EHC Needs Assessment is the first step. We usually represent parents through the whole SEN process but we can get involved at any point.

At the very beginning of the SEN process, when a parent or school feels a child is not progressing as expected, the Local Authority should conduct an Education Health Care Needs Assessment. Many Authorities refuse to do so on the basis of cost. We usually make representations on behalf of the parents at this early stage.

Government Guidance sets out a time frame that the Authority must respond to. Once a request for an Assessment has been made, the Authority should advise the parents whether they plan to assess or not, within 6 weeks. If the Authority decides not to do so, we advise on how to lodge an appeal and to strengthen the case.

If the authority agrees to assess a child, this should be completed within 10 weeks. The assessment process should involve the parents, the school and other professionals who work with the child. The views of the child/young person will also be important. Parents are asked at this stage to submit a statement of their child’s difficulties and reasons why additional support is needed. We often help parents to prepare this information. It is essential that the right evidence is provided to strengthen the case.

After the Assessment process has concluded the Authority must decide whether to issue a draft Education Health Care Plan. Advice is given at this stage.

Once a final draft of the Education Health Care Plan has been issued we advise on its contents to guarantee appropriate support. It is a legal document and therefore should be “water tight”. Every teacher/professional picking up an EHC Plan should be able to see the child’s needs.

It follows that the support written into the EHC Plan should meet those needs. The provision should be specific and not be left to interpretation.

Local Authorities often use phrases that are vague, such as ‘John should have access to specialist teaching…’rather than ‘John will have specialist teaching by…’

When reading an Education Health and Care Plan we always suggest parents ask Who, When, How, What and Where.

For example:

  • WHO is providing the support/therapy?
  • WHEN and HOW often the support is to be provided?
  • WHAT precisely is the support or therapy?
  • WHERE is the support therapy to be provided?

We always find there is scope to improve a child’s Education Health and Care Plan.

Want to find out more?

Call ‌01656 ‌768 ‌500 today.

TURNER'S SOLICITORS

Turner’s Solicitors specialise in helping parents and students gain the most from their school, college or University experience.  We handle all matters relating to education including Special Educational Needs, Admission Appeals, Exclusion Appeals, University Complaints and Disability Discrimination cases.
CONTACT

Great Barn, Wallas Farm,
Ewenny, Bridgend CF35 5AE
01656 768 500
info@educationlawspecialists.co.uk