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EHC needs assessment and plan timeline

If you request a new Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, the whole process must take no more than 20 weeks. However there are certain exemptions which could prolong this. Parent carers should be informed of any exemptions. These are the only exemptions that could apply:

  • The child or young person is absent from the area for a period of at least four weeks
  • Exceptional personal circumstances affect the child or the young person, and his/her parent
  • The educational institution is closed for at least four weeks. This may delay the submission of information

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 set out the process for assessments.

Stages of the assessment process

Weeks 0-6

  • Request for an EHC needs assessment is made by a school or education setting, or a professional, parent carer or young person age 16+ with SEND
  • We gather initial information and evidence that is already available
  • Professional advice is requested and considered
  • Progress to EHC needs assessment or notification not to proceed with an EHC needs assessment issued. Feedback is provided, with the right to appeal

Weeks 6-16

  • We request and gather further advice and information for the EHC needs assessment. See the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years, Chapter 9.49 for the full list of who must be consulted
  • Consideration of all the information gathered. This is both prior to and during the EHC needs assessment

By week 14

  • Decision to make an EHC plan or notification not to proceed issued. Feedback is provided, with the right to appeal
  • If it is agreed to make an EHC plan, a draft EHC plan is prepared in accordance with Section 38 of the Children and Families Act 2014. We will discuss personal budgets with the parent carer or the young person. They may then decide to make a request for a personal budget, including a request for direct payments - see Section 49 of the Children and Families Act 2014

By week 16

  • Consultation on the draft EHC plan. A chance to consider views on the draft plan and request a particular school or other institution to be named in the plan. When a draft EHC plan is issued you have at least 15 calendar days to:
    • Consider and provide views on the draft EHC plan and ask for a particular school or other institution to be named in the final EHC plan
    • Arrange a meeting with us to discuss the draft EHC plan

Week 20

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