EDUCATION, HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE ASSESSMENTS AND PLANS
An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is a legal document that replaced Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulties Assessments. An EHC Plan details a child or young person’s special educational, health and social care needs. It explains the extra help that they require and must legally be provided by education, health and/or social care in order to meet those needs and support the child or young person to achieve what they want to in their life. A young person can have an EHC plan up until the age of 25 providing they are in education or training.
In order to obtain an EHC plan a request must be made to the local authority for an EHC needs assessment. This is usually made by the child’s educational setting if they are unable to meet the child’s needs within their funding allocation. However a child’s parents or the young person themselves (if aged over 16) can make this request themselves.
If you are considering requesting an assessment for your child, it is best to consult with your child’s school first. Similarly If the school is thinking of making a request for EHC assessment for your child, they should consult with you. If the local authority decides to undertake an EHC assessment then they will inform you of their decision in writing and will arrange for professionals to contribute to the assessment through written reports based on observations and assessments of your child. The local authority will seek a view from a medical professional, an educational psychologist, social services (if your child is known to them), the child’s school, and any relevant therapists. An EHC Assessment may or may not lead to the creation of an EHC Plan.
Time-scales and the main points of EHC Assessment
- Once a request is submitted to the Local Authority, they have six weeks to decide whether to assess.
- If they decide to carry out an EHC assessment they have a further ten weeks to complete this and gather evidence.
- At the end of this time (sixteen weeks from the initial request being accepted) the LA must either issue a draft plan or if they decide not to, they must write to the parents at this time and explain their reasons.
- The draft plan should then be reviewed by the parents and young person and it is at this stage parents and the young person will be asked to name the type of school/college they want e.g. mainstream or special school and the specific school/college they want to have named in the EHC plan. The LA will then consult with the named placement and the plan should be finalised and sent by the end of week twenty.
- Once the plan is finalised the LA will have a legal duty to secure the educational provision specified in the EHC plan, that is, to ensure that the provision is delivered.
If the Local Authority decides not to carry out an EHC Assessment
If the Local Authority decides not to assess your child, it must write and tell you and the school its reasons. If you or your child’s school still feel that more needs to be done, talk to the school. The local authority could also think about other ways of helping your child, including getting in some outside help.
Your local authority should tell you about local arrangements mediating any disagreement informally and how long it should take. You also have a right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, an independent organisation. It is important that you begin any appeal to the Tribunal within the time limit as the Tribunal is likely to refuse to hear your appeal if you are late. Under the new SEN legislation, it is mandatory to consider mediation before lodging an appeal to the SEND Tribunal.
For advice on appealing any decisions please contact Full of Life’s Information Advice and Support Service (IASS), Allison Ambrogi on Tel: 0208 960 9064 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org