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Education, Health and Care Assessments and Plans
Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments are for children and young people with the most severe and complex needs.
When to make an application for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment
An EHC needs assessment is not the first step in the process of meeting the needs of a child or young person with SEN .
Most children and young people’s special educational needs will be met within mainstream educational settings at the SEN Support level. We recommended that you read information about SEN Support before considering an EHC needs assessment request.
Where the child or young person has not made expected progress, despite a school or setting having taken relevant and purposeful action at the SEN Support level (as outlined in the Graduated Response), the school or setting may request an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment. Parents, carers and young people (aged 16 or over) may also request an EHC needs assessment.
All requests for EHC needs assessments must include evidence of the support that has been provided, and the strategies and approaches that have been followed, to meet the child or young person’s special educational needs. There must be clear evidence of why the special educational needs of the child or young person cannot reasonably be met by the “additional to” and “different from” services provided by the educational setting.
What Education, Health and Care Assessments and Plans consist of
EHC Plans consider a child or young person’s needs, agreed outcomes for him or her, their longer term aspirations and the special educational provision that is necessary to achieve the agreed outcomes.
They are focused on outcomes for the child or young person across education, health and care, and will set out how services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs in support of those outcomes.
EHC plans will include details of the following:
- the views, wishes and aspirations of the child or young person and their family
- the special educational needs of the child or young person as identified by relevant professionals through recent assessments, and the health and care needs that impact upon their education
- the agreed outcomes for the child or young person
- the provision that will be made to address agreed needs, and who is responsible for offering identified provision and resources
- arrangements for reviewing outcomes, including the formal annual review
The plans are based on a new coordinated and person centred assessment and planning process which puts the child or young person and their parents at the centre of the process.
The format of the Cheshire East EHC Plan (PDF, 327KB) has been developed with our partners and local parents and carers.
Requesting a needs assessment
Settings and professionals who are familiar with the child or young person are well placed to help the family to decide whether an education, health and care needs assessment is necessary. Families should discuss their child or young person’s support with the educational setting. They may also find it helpful to talk to Cheshire East Information, Advice and Support or other voluntary support services when a request for an EHC assessment is being considered.
Who can request an EHC needs assessment
- Your child’s educational setting (for example, school, college or early years setting). This should be done with the knowledge and agreement of the parent/carer or young person where possible
- A parent/carer. You will need to contact the SEND Statutory Assessment Service. You should first discuss your concerns with your child or young person’s educational setting prior to making a request.
- Young people aged 16 or over with SEN . You may wish to discuss your concerns with someone else before making a request for an assessment, such as your educational setting (school or college), parent or carer, or independent support services.
Requests for an EHC needs assessment should be made by completing the EHC Needs Assessment request form (MS Word, 511KB) and sending it to the SEN Team via email or post.
In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary.
How the EHC Plan Assessment process works
The Education, Health and Care Assessment process determines if an EHC Plan will be produced. The assessment process should be completed within 20 weeks.
If a plan is agreed, it will be reviewed every year, although parts of the plan can be reviewed more frequently, if required. The plan will stay in place until the outcomes have been achieved or if the special educational provision included is deemed to be no longer necessary. For young people aged 19-25, continuation of an EHC Plan is only necessary when it is agreed that additional time is required to meet the specified outcomes and these can only be achieved by remaining in formal education or training.
How families are supported
Once a request for an assessment is received by the local authority, the family will be assigned a named Local Authority Officer to co-ordinate their assessment. In the majority of cases, the same Local Authority officer will continue to work with the family if a plan is agreed, and throughout the duration of the plan.
Some families may find it helpful to have extra support to voice their wishes and views. Additional support could be provided by a professional already working with the family such as a SENCO or a health visitor, or families may prefer to use an Independent Supporter.
In Cheshire East, Independent Supporters can be accessed through Cheshire East Information, Advice and Support and Edge Inclusion Partners. Additional support and advice is also available throughout the process from Cheshire East Information, Advice and Support.
Support available for children and young people without an EHC Plan
AN EHC needs assessment will not always lead to an EHC Plan. All Cheshire East education settings receive funding to assist them in supporting children and young with SEN . Information on this can be found on the Special Educational Needs funding page. If the EHC needs assessment identifies provision that can be provided at SEN Support, the information gathered during an assessment will be used to meet the child/young person’s needs through a individual learning plan, such as a SEN Support or School Focused Plan from within available resources through SEN Support. The educational setting will still be required to support your child by delivering the identified provision.