If your child’s special educational needs are complex and/or severe and, despite receiving additional help through the graduated approach, your child has not made progress, you or your child’s education setting can request that the local authority (LA)  complete an education, health and care needs assessment. The assessment will determine whether or not it is necessary to issue an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP)

An EHCP will be necessary where the assessment identifies that a child or young person requires access to specialist support or provision for a prolonged period of time in order to meet their special educational needs and to support them towards achieving greater independence in preparation for adulthood.

This does not mean that they will require access to a specialist education setting. The majority of children and young people will be able to access a mainstream school or college with additional support such as an adapted curriculum, specific IT input, specialist intervention with staff trained in working with children and young people with SEN.  

The Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

To determine whether your child or a young person requires an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) they  will need to have an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

This involves a process of gathering information from the relevant people or agencies, including the views, interests and aspirations of you and your child/young person.

Our guidance contains information for educational settings, parent/carers, and young people about how to request an EHC needs assessment, as well as outlining what needs to be included with your request.

EHCP annual reviews

The short video above will give you an overview of what an education health and care plan (EHCP) annual review is, the timeline of what needs to happen and when during the eight week process.

EHCPs will be reviewed annually for children and young people aged 5-25 years, and six-monthly for early years aged 0-5 years. The first review will be held around 10 months from the date that the EHCP was finalised and then every 12 months (or six months if early years). The Children and Families Act expects the annual review to look at things from a person-centred point of view, which means the parents, children and young people should be fully involved and able to share their views, wishes and feelings.

The review meeting must focus on the following seven points:

1) Focus on progress made towards achieving the long-term outcomes

2) Establish if the long-term outcomes are still appropriate, and if necessary agree new ones

3) Review the short-term targets and set new ones

4) Check that the special educational provision, and the arrangements for delivering it, is still appropriate and meaningful progress can be made

5) Review the health and social care provision

6) Check if the aspirations have changed

7) Check if the parent/young person would like to request a personal budget

Additional meetings should be arranged to review the short term outcomes set by the education setting at least termly as part of a pupil-centred approach to planning, support and intervention. These meetings aren't part of the annual review of the EHCP, but will provide an opportunity for parents and the education setting to evaluate the impact of support and intervention.

It's important that the EHCP remains appropriate, and if amendments to the plan are needed an interim review may be called. This will normally be requested by the education setting but should be with the agreement of parents/carers/young person.

Occasionally the LA may make an amendment to the EHCP when an annual review has not taken place. If this happens the LA will explain why they think that this is necessary and will keep you informed about any proposed changes. An example of where this may happen is where Section I is amended if the child has moved to another education setting.

Please see the 'related document' section for a copy of the current paperwork to be used during the annual review meeting.

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