EHC (Education, Health and Care) PLANS
An EHC plan is the document which replaces Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulties Assessments for children and young people with special educational needs.
From 1 September 2014 statements of special educational needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments will be replaced by Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. EHC plans can be issued for a child or young person aged between 0-25.
What is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan?
An EHC plan is a legal document which describes:
• a child or young person’s special education, health and social care needs
• the help that will be given to meet those needs, and
• what the young person will be able to achieve as a result of the support
The plan is drawn up by the local authority after a formal assessment process called an EHC Needs Assessment.
Who needs an EHC plan?
A small number of children or young people will need an EHC plan if they need more support than is normally available in mainstream nurseries, schools or further education colleges, or through the ‘local offer’. A local offer is intended to provide information about what a local authority expects to be available to children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, including leisure activities and childcare. You should be able to find this on your local authority website.
A young person aged between 19 and 25 can have a plan if they still need more time to finish their education or training.
•The local authority and other agencies must involve families in preparing the plan.
• EHC plans should describe what the child or young person can do or has achieved.
• EHC plans should be clear, concise, and understandable to everyone.
• The LA must consider how the outcomes can best be achieved, and must take into account the evidence from the EHC needs assessment.
• EHC plans must specify the outcomes the child or young person wants and needs to achieve. An outcome is the positive difference the support will make to a person.
• Planning should include support and advice for families about alternative ways of receiving support, for example, through a personal budget.
• EHC plans should show how education, health and care will work together and support the young person to achieve their outcomes.
• EHC plans should include plans for the future – for example planning for transition to adulthood.
What does an EHC plan look like?
It is up to each local authority to decide how to lay out their EHC plans. However, all plans must include the following separately labelled sections:
a) The views, interests and aspirations of the child or young person
This should include: history, future goals, play, health, schooling, friendships, how to communicate with the child or young person and involve them in decision making.
b) Special educational needs (SEN)
Must set out all the identified special educational needs. Note that some health or social care needs may be treated as special educational needs.
c) Health needs
Must set out health needs identified by an EHC assessment which relate to special educational needs. Can give detail about any other health care needs as well.
d) Social care needs
Must set out social care needs related to special educational needs, for example help with personal care for your child so they can study. Must set out needs which lead to provision under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person’s Act 1970 (see section H1). This means practical help for your child, for example equipment, help with travel, leisure, short breaks. May set out other social care needs not linked to the child or young person’s special educational needs (SEN) or disability.
e) Outcomes sought for child or young person
Can be education, health or care related. Must distinguish between provision and outcome. For example, provision could mean weekly speech and language therapy session. The outcome could be ‘child can talk to friends’. Should include smaller steps towards meeting the outcomes, how progress will be checked and arrangements for review.
f) Special educational provision
Must be detailed and specific. Should state: the type and amount of support, how often it will be provided, and the level of expertise needed, where a personal budget is used, and how support will help to meet the outcomes. There must be provision to match every need identified in section B.
Must set out here any health or social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person.
g) Health provision reasonably required by learning difficulty/disability which results in special educational needs (SEN)
Should be detailed, specific, and support the outcomes. May include specialist support, and/or therapies, medication, nursing, specialist equipment.
H1. Social care provision which must be made under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person’s Act 1970
Should be detailed and specific, including the type of support, who will provide it, including use of direct payments. For example, help in the home, and to take part in leisure activities.
H2. Any other social care provision reasonably required as a result of SEN
Can include provision identified through social services assessments, safeguarding assessments or adult social care provision for young people over 18. Can also include provision not related to a child or young person’s SEN or disability.
Type and name of school, nursery, FE College or other setting.
i) Personal budget
Must set out details of personal budget and direct payment arrangements. Must specify the SEN outcomes which are to be met by direct payments.
j) Advice and information
Must list advice and information gathered during EHC needs assessment. This must be set out in appendices to the EHC plan. Where in the light of an EHC needs assessment, it is necessary for special educational provision to be made for a child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan, the local authority must prepare a plan. (Source: www.cafamily.org.uk)
When your child has a plan
When the EHC Plan has moved from draft to the final plan, you have at least 15 days to comment on the plan and to say which education institution you would like your child to go to. The LA should give you guidance about the options available and must meet with you if you want to discuss the plan. This is a good time to ask questions if anything is unclear, discuss personal budget arrangements if appropriate or to say if you think changes need to be made to the plan.
The LA then have 15 days to consult the education institution which they are thinking about naming on the plan. This involves sending them your child’s draft plan so that they can comment on whether they can provide the support detailed in the plan.
The LA must finalise the plan within 20 weeks from the date they received your request if you asked for an EHC assessment yourself.
Final EHC plans
It is the final form of an EHC plan which creates the entitlements of a child or young person with SEN to the provision contained within it. Proposed plans may go through various versions and drafts but it is the final form of the EHC plan which matters and about which the parent/young person has rights of appeal.
Once the LA has consulted with parents or the young person about a draft EHC plan, the LA must finalise the EHC plan. This must happen within a maximum of 20 weeks from the initial request for an EHC needs assessment being made.
A final EHC plan will name both a type of school/college and usually name an actual school/college. Once named in an EHC plan the school/college must admit the child or young person and put the educational provision in the EHC plan into place. This can happen even if the school/college argued at the draft plan stage that the child or young person should not be placed with them.
When a final EHC plan is issued the parent/young person has a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal about:
a) the description of a child or young person’s special educational needs;
b) the special educational provision specified in the EHC plan; and/or
c) the name/type of school or college in the EHC plan or the fact that no school/college is named.
All of these elements can be appealed either together or on their own.
Challenges of the social care needs section or social care provision specified in the EHC plan will need to be made using the LA’s internal complaints procedure.
Challenges to the health care needs or provision specified in the EHC plan will need to be made using the complaints procedure the local Clinical Commissioning Group responsible for the health care provision in the plan.
Reviewing and changing the plan
The plan must be reviewed at least once every year. The purpose of the review is to look at your child’s progress, discuss any problems and check whether any changes are needed to the plan. For example, your child may need a change to the amount or type of help, or may be moving on to a different stage of their education.
The process involves gathering information about your child, and meeting with you and others involved in their education or support. The review finishes when the local authority makes a decision about whether they are going to change anything in the plan, leave it unchanged, or end the plan.
The plan will remain in place until your child leaves education, or the LA decides that your child no longer needs extra support in the plan. If your family moves to another local authority the plan is transferred.
If your child has special educational needs and you are unhappy with a local authority decision about their education, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. The Tribunal is made up of a legally qualified tribunal judge and two specialists who have knowledge and experience of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Once an EHC plan has been finalised it is important to know who has the legal duty to ensure the provision it contains is delivered.
A Local Authority has the legal duty to ensure that the special educational provision specified in section F of the EHC plan is delivered. They may well expect the school or college named in the EHC plan to do this for them but ultimately if the school/college does not have the resources to do this – either the finance, specialist equipment or expertise – the LA must provide it. This includes any therapies such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or physiotherapy or the services provided by CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service) which are needed for education or training purposes. The LA may well arrange that these are delivered by the local health care partner but if they are not able to do so the legal duty remains with the LA to arrange them – possibly from an independent therapist.
Health care provision specified in section G of the EHC plan is the legal duty of the local Clinical Commissioning Group or responsible commissioning health body to provide.
There is no separate legal duty in the Children and Families Act 2014 to deliver social care provision in the plan. In the case of those under 18, social care provision which is being provided under the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act 1970 must be set out in Section H1 and must be provided by the LA under that Act. For a young person over 18, the care element of the plan may be provided by adult services under the Care Act 2014.
No one has responsibility to ensure that the outcomes contained in the EHC plan are achieved.
If you require any further information relating to Education, Health and Care Plans it can be sourced using the following links. Cut and paste the links into your browser.
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