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Education, Health and Care Plans

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan?

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document for children and young people aged 0-25 who need more support than a mainstream nursery, school or college can provide. It describes all of your child’s special educational needs, the support they will need and the outcomes they want to achieve. It will also include any health and care support which relate to the child’s SEN. However you will not get a plan if your child only has health or social care needs that don’t affect their education. 

It is drawn up by the Local Authority following an EHC Needs Assessment and consultation with a range of professionals. It should be aspirational and forward looking, helping your child to be as independent as possible and to make progress towards their future ambitions for adulthood.

The plan should:

  • Set out your views, your child’s views and their goals and aspirations for the future. 
  • Describe positively what they can do and what they have achieved so far. 
  • Clearly describe their needs and difficulties and the support required to meet those needs. 
  • Say what the child or young person will be able to do differently as a result of any additional help and support (outcomes). 
  • Be co-produced with you and your child and be clear, understandable and easy to read.

If a child or young person needs more support than that which can reasonably be provided by a mainstream school then they may need an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan). An EHC Needs Assessment would be undertaken to decide if an EHCP is needed.

Not everyone with SEN (Special Educational Needs) needs an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan). Many children and young people are successfully supported within school without an EHCP. Read our struggling at school / college page for details.

 A diagnosis does not entitle you to an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), but it is possible to have an EHCP without a diagnosis. It is all about the impact of your child’s difficulties, not the cause.

In order to get an EHCP the local authority will carry out a detailed assessment of your child’s needs to decide whether a plan is needed.

The local authority must carry out a needs assessment if they believe that your child has or may have special educational needs and they may need special educational support to be provided through an EHCP. 

An EHC Needs Assessment will not always lead to an EHCP. 

Who can apply?

  • A child’s parent
  • A young person over 16 but under 25
  • A child becomes a young person on the last Friday of June in year 11 (so when they are no longer statutory school age). If the young person does not have the capacity to make decisions about the support they might need then a parent can make the application on their behalf
  • A person acting on behalf of an early years provider, school or post 16 institution

If the school or college applies they should do so with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person.

Anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEND to the attention of the Local Authority, particularly if they think an EHC Needs Assessment may be necessary (eg  health professionals, social care, foster carers, early years practitioners, youth offending services). This should be done with the child or young person’s or parent’s knowledge. 

If you would like to make an application yourself then it is worth speaking to your child’s school first about your concerns and let them know that you want to apply. They may share your concerns and be willing to make the application for you. Or they may have other solutions they wish to try first. They will also be able to give you up to date information to send with your application. It is always beneficial to work with school on any application if you can. 

How to apply 

There are 2 ways to apply for an EHC Needs Assessment: 

  1. Write a letter giving details of why you believe your child has SEN and why you believe they might need special educational provision to be made through an EHCP. Download our template letter (PDF document).
  2. Complete the Assessment Profile for Education Health and Care Needs Assessment. Please note that there are different forms for unders 5s

It is likely that SEN will ask you to complete their assessment profile even if you have chosen to write a letter. This is so that they have all the information they need to make a decision about whether to assess.  

Keep a copy of any letters or forms that you send to SEN. 

Whichever method you use to apply the local authority now has 6 weeks to gather any additional information to help it to decide whether or not to carry out an assessment.

Information to include:

  • What support is currently in place and what has already been tried.
  • Explain why that support is not enough, or has not had any impact.
  • Who has been involved.
  • The impact of schooling on home life.
  • Any exclusions or details of part time timetables.


What else should I send?

  • Diagnosis letters
  • Reports or assessments from other professionals (eg SLT, OT, EP)
  • Reports from school, IEPs or provision plans


Send copies of these, rather than the originals, as they may not be returned to you.

If you have several letters or reports from the same professional then you just need to send the most recent, plus any that have details of any diagnoses or assessments that have been completed.  

An EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) contains 12 different sections labelled A-K, as follows:

  • A: Views, interests and aspirations of the child or young person and his or her parents 
  • B: Special educational needs 
  • C: Health needs related to their SEN or to a disability 
  • D: Social care needs related to their SEN or to a disability 
  • E: Outcomes 
  • F: Special educational provision required 
  • G: Any health provision required that is related to their SEN or to a disability 
  • H1: Social care provision that must be made for your child or young person under 18 resulting from section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 
  • H2: Any other social care provision required that is related to their SEN or to a disability 
  • I: Placement: the name and type of school 
  • J: Details of any personal budget 
  • K: The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment

Where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, the EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) must also include the provision required by your child or young person to help prepare for adulthood and independent living.