Referral for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) - A Guide for Parents

What is an EHCP?
An Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) brings your child’s Education, Health and Social Care needs into a single legal document. Your child must have Special Educational Needs or a Disability to be eligible for an EHCP.

Once an EHCP is agreed and in place it is reviewed 6 monthly as long as the child is under 5 and once a year for children over the age of 5. At the review stage support can be increased, decreased or be maintained as a result of the review. Parental views are vital. Strengths, needs, outcomes and provision are included for 4 areas – Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Sensory and/or Physical.

What does the process involve?
The process usually starts with an Early Help Assessment which is reviewed at a Team around the Family/Child meeting and the box is ticked for Statutory Assessment if it is considered that a request for an EHCP should be made. Parents should sign beside this box.

The Local Authority has 6 weeks to decide whether to proceed with the assessment. The referral is looked at, at a panel meeting. Parents and the referrer are informed of the decision.

If it is agreed that the assessment should go ahead, the Assessment Officer or EHCP Key Worker will ask for views  from the parents and also for advice from any professionals they feel could provide useful information required to formulate a plan.  These people may or may not already be involved with the child. Parents are asked to complete ‘Part A’ and parents should be offered help to complete this section This contains the information you would like including in the EHCP to reflect your child. The plan is written in such a way that an older child could help to complete it, containing boxes such as ‘This is me/my hopes and dreams’.  For many younger children parents can fill it in with their hopes and dreams for their child’s future. This information should be gathered within 8 weeks.

The box ‘Things you will probably need to know about my home and where I live’ is regarding any physical adaptations that need to be made to your home.  This section is only appropriate if specific adaptations have been made or will need to be made to support your child.

Everybody involved in the process is given the date of the EHCP Family Meeting. If this is not convenient then you can ask for it to be at a time/place that is suitable for you by contacting the Assessment Officer or EHCP Key Worker.

The Assessment Officer/Key Worker writes the draft plan 14-16 weeks after the original referral was received.

The EHCP family meeting takes place. Parents/carers can decide who they would like to be at the meeting – members of the wider family, friends etc. All professionals who have contributed will usually be there and it is led by the Assessment Officer/Key Worker.

This meeting can take 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes longer, so allow for this. This is the time you can make amendments, ask for things to be changed, removed or added to ensure that a plan is written that truly reflects your child, their strengths and needs, the outcomes and how these outcomes will be met. At this point you can also request a specific school for your child.

The final plan is issued within 20 weeks of the original referral.

What is an ESG?
An Enhanced Support Grant (ESG) is a sum of money available to Private, Voluntary and Independent Nurseries. They can use this to support the child while the above process takes place. This additional, non-statutory funding, is not available to Maintained Schools and Nurseries as financial resources have already been delegated to them in their budget.

What if I don’t agree with decisions that are made?
If you disagree with the Local Authorities decisions on:

-        Not proceeding with an EHCP assessment.
-        Not producing an EHCP
-        The Special Educational Support that is included in the EHCP

You have the right to challenge it.

Your Local Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS) will be able to
support you.


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