Health & EHC plans
What is an EHC plan?
An EHC plan will not be appropriate where there are only health and care needs, ie. the trigger will be the special educational needs.
See our section Education, Health and Care plans for more detailed information about the process:
It is important to remember that a diagnosis is not the trigger for support for SEN children and young people - it is the needs which may, or may not, be part of a diagnosis.
Most children with special educational needs will have their needs met through extra support provided by the education setting. This is known as SEN Support and can include a wide range of provision and interventions. See our information 'Identifying needs' explaining how health professionals can work with school, providing advice and guidance, and sometimes therapies for a child.
If an educational setting has exhausted all the possible support options and a child/young person is still not progressing as expected it might be appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment (the first stage).
The local authority will expect to see evidence of what, if any, progress has been made and that the setting have done everything they can to help your child make progress.
Talk to the SENCO if you are concerned about the progress being made, you can discuss what's in place and what might need to change. This will give you the opportunity to raise the idea of an EHC plan and find out the school view. You do have the right to make a direct request.
When the local authority decide to carry out an EHC needs assessment they will seek information about your child or young person's physical, emotional and social development and health needs.
They will contact health professionals involved with your child or young person, who are listed in the referral and family views forms, to gather advice about desired outcomes and provision required to meet those.
The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:
Relevant local clinicians, such as community paediatricians, will participate in the development of the child’s or young person’s EHC plan, advising on the child’s needs and the provision appropriate to meet them. (9.70)
If there are signs of an underlying health difficulty, a specialist health assessment may be necessary. (9.48)
Advice and information requested by the local authority must be provided within six weeks of the request (subject to only a few exceptions outlined in section 9.42 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015).
Usually the health professional will use information they already have about your child, however things may have changed for your child and you believe the information is out of date. You could contact your health service provider (or the Clinical Commissioning Group) to explain or request an earlier appointment, to enable the advice to be provided within their 6-week deadline.
You may find that the local authority finalise the EHC plan without this advice in order to meet the lawful timescales, and agree to amend the plan when the advice is received.
Read the information from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) about the requirements for providing Health advice within six weeks.
Section C of the draft plan should include your child/young person’s health needs which are related to their SEN.
Section G will include any health provision (reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities) which result in the child or young person having SEN. Where an Individual Health Care Plan is made for them, that plan should be included too.
From year 9 onwards, there should be provision to support preparation for adulthood and independent living.
See also our information 'what does a draft plan look like'.
The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:
Where there is provision which has been agreed in the health element of an EHC plan, health commissioners must put arrangements in place to secure that provision. (3.65)
Where young people have EHC plans, local authorities should consider the need to provide a full package of provision and support across education, health and care that covers five days a week, where that is appropriate to meet the young person’s needs. (8.39)
It can also include health and care related activities such as physiotherapy. Full-time packages of provision and support set out in the EHC plan should include any time young people need to access support for their health and social care needs. (8.40)
the local authority should ensure that the transition to adult care and support is well planned, is integrated with the annual reviews of the EHC plans and reflects existing special educational and health provision that is in place to help the young person prepare for adulthood. (8.59)