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What is an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP)?

Education, Health and Care Plans

Education, Health and Care plans are replacing Statements of Special Educational Needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments (S139a) and local authorities are required to consider any new requests for an assessment of special educational needs and co-ordinate services around your child under new legislation.

EHC plans aim to put a child or young person aged between 0-25 and their parents at the centre of decision making.

Who can request an assessment for an EHC plan?

A child’s parent or an advocate acting on their behalf, a young person over the age of 16, or their advocate and anyone acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution with the agreement of the parent or young person, has a specific right to request that the Borough of Poole carry out an education, health and care needs assessment.

Foster carers, health and social care professionals, early years practitioners, youth offending teams or probation services, those responsible for education in custody or in a school or college or a family friend can also bring a child who has, or may have, SEN, to the attention of the local authority.

A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs and prepare an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan when the special educational provision cannot be provided form the resources normally available in schools and post 16 institutions.

EHC plans must be focused on the outcomes the child or young person seeks to achieve across education, health and care.

How does an EHC plan differ from an SEN statement?

  • The EHC plan places a greater emphasis on gathering reports from across SEND, social care and health to inform decisions.
  • It involves a more co-ordinated assessment with face-to-face discussions involving the family and young person rather than input in writing.
  • The plan is more family- centred and outcomes focused and is built around a set of agreed goals rather than providing support for a set number of hours.
  • It is a single pathway for 0–25 years which combines the SEN Statement and S139a (Learning Difficulty Assessment) into a single process with a new focus on preparing for adulthood.
  • The EHC planning process is designed to be more streamlined and efficient with improved communication and information sharing at the outset of the process which means that professionals can avoid asking the same questions.

When will transfers from Statement of Special Educational Needs to an EHC plan start?

The Borough of Poole will notify parents of the date of transfer with the first transfers taking place in the next few months for young people with a Statement and continuing over the next three years.

Transfers for students with an S139a will take place over the next two years in Poole but not every student with an S139a will be transferred to an EHC Plan.

The Children and Families Bill principles support:

  • The involvement of children, parents and young people in decision making. Parents have rights to contribute to the decision making process about their child’s education. Young people over the age of 16 also have the same statutory rights.
  • Education, health and social care working together to provide support so that children and young people with SEN are able to reach their goals such as educational achievements, getting a job and living independently.
  • Greater choice and control for young people over their support. Parents of children who have an Education, Health and Care plan have a right to ask for a particular school or college to be named in the plan and to request a personal budget.
  • Preparation for adulthood including independent living and employment. Schools and their partners should work together to help children and young people achieve successful long term outcomes. Independent advice on getting a job or going into higher education, choices about support and where they live and making friends and becoming involved in the community are key factors for helping to raise aspirations.

What must be included in an EHC plan?

EHC plans must have sections that include the views, interests and aspirations of the child and their parents or young person, the child or young person’s SEN, the outcomes sought, the special education provision required and any health or social care provision required by the child or young person’s learning difficulties and disabilities.

It should also include the name and type of school and details of any agreed personal budget and the outcomes to which its use is contributing.

From Year 9 onwards the EHC plan must include any provision required by the young person to assist in preparing for adulthood such as support for finding training, employment, housing or participation in society.

EHC reviews

The first review will take place within 12 months of the date the EHC plan is issued with co-ordinated professional input across education, health and care. It should also include discussion of personal budgets and direct payment arrangements. Any EHC plan must be reviewed at least annually.

Higher Education

EHC plans continue into further education but come to an end when a young person takes up a place in higher education or University. The transition to Higher Education should be planned to make it as smooth as possible. A copy of the EHC plan should be passed to the relevant person at the institution, once the place has been confirmed and consent has been given by the student to do so.

DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) is available to help students with the extra costs incurred on their course because of a disability.

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