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What is an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan?

Most children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met in local mainstream settings. These educational settings should try to meet the needs of these children and young people.

Some children and young people may not make expected progress, despite these efforts to identify, assess and meet the special educational need. In these cases, schools or parents should consider requesting an Education Health & Care Plan Needs Assessment.

This assessment involves a process of gathering information from the relevant people or agencies, including the views, interests and aspirations of the parents and child or young person.

The needs assessment will help to determine whether we need to make additional provision through an EHC plan.

When deciding whether to issue an EHC plan the local authority will take into account whether the needs of the child or young people can reasonably be met from resources normally available to settings.

An EHC needs assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan. However it may help to decide how the education setting can meet the child or young person's needs without an EHC plan.

It should not take more than 20 weeks from requesting an assessment to a final EHC plan being issued.

Asking for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment:

Parents and young people:

The following people have a specific right to ask a local authority to conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:

  • the child’s parent
  • a young person over the age of 16  but under the age of 25, and
  •  a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)

Parents and young people can request an EHC needs assessment when:

  • ·       A child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school or college; (therefore not where there are only health or social care needs) and
  • ·       The parents of the child or the young person (or the young person themselves) believes that an EHC Plan may be needed.

The request should be made to the Local Authority (LA) for an EHC needs assessment.

For children under 16: Parents can make a request. This includes parents of children from 0 to 5 if they think that their child will need extra help when school starts.

Young people (over 16 and up to 25) can make the request themselves if they understand it sufficiently well themselves – otherwise the parent can make the request on a young person’s behalf.

It is useful to speak to the school or college first but this is not a requirement to make a request. The school or college can make the request too, with the permission of the parent or young person, or write a letter in support of the parent or young person’s application.

What will happen next?

The local authority will consider the application and have a legal duty tor respond in writing within six weeks. Even if the application is made directly by the school or college, there is a duty to respond directly in writing to the parent or young person.

If you would like independent support and advice, you can contact:

  • Walsall Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS): which offers free, impartial, confidential information, advice, support and guidance (as well as a sympathetic listening ear!) for parents / carers of children with SEND 0-25 and independently for young people aged 16-25.  Parents/young people can contact this service by phone: 0808 802 6666 or email:

  • IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice):

Where to send your letter to:

The SEN Assessment Team
Education Development Centre
Pelsall Lane
West Midlands

Telephone 01922 652871


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