What is an education, health and care (EHC) plan?

Not all children with special educational needs (SEN) need an education, health and care (EHC) plan to have their needs met.

Most children with SEN have their needs met with SEN Support in a mainstream place of learning. Find out more about:

An education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who have complex special educational needs and disabilities and who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

An EHC plan:

  • Is for children and young people with complex needs which cannot be met with SEN support
  • Identifies educational, health and social needs. It sets out the additional support to meet those needs for a child or young person to achieve their best possible outcomes.
  • Is based on a child or young person’s needs and aspirations
  • Specifies how services will work together to meet a child or young person’s needs and achieve agreed outcomes
  • Is a legal document
  • Can start from a child’s birth and can remain in place until a young person is 25
  • Is used to secure the provision which is assessed as being necessary

Our EHC plan quality standards outline what makes a good-quality EHC plan.

Before you request an EHC needs assessment

You should:

  1. Check that the child is receiving SEN Support and the place of learning is using the graduated approach, also known as ‘assess, plan, do, review’
  2. If you do not agree with the existing SEN Support in place, try disagreement resolution
  3. Find out how the LA makes decisions when considering a request for an EHC needs assessment in the Threshold Guide

EHC needs assessment requests

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