Applying for an education, health and care plan (EHCP)

Most children with special educational needs (SEN) will have needs that can be met by high-quality teaching and differentiated teaching.  These are the general teaching methods and approaches that teachers use in education settings to help your child learn.  Some children need additional SEN support through a graduated approach. For example:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Review  

If your child has received support through various interventions but is still not making progress, they may need an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

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What is an education, health and care plan (EHCP)

An education, health and care plan (EHCP) is for children and young people aged 0–25 years who need much more help than what is given at SEN support.

The plan is a legal document that reflects your child’s aspiration, needs, outcomes and provisions.  It sets out the additional support needed to meet their needs, and long-term outcomes usually based over key transition stages, that is early years to reception and primary to secondary school.  The council have a legal responsibility to coordinate and maintain this plan.

An EHCP brings together education, health and care services to develop a plan that looks after the needs of your child.  The EHCP is written together with you and your child, and focuses on developing and achieving agreed outcomes.

Understanding what an outcome is and how to write them can be confusing, as outcomes can be confused with aspirations or targets.  Helen Sanderson Associates has written a blog to help explain what outcomes mean and how to write them.  

You can watch a video produced by the council for disabled children which gives an overview of education, health and care plans and what support may be available.

How long the EHC plan process takes 

The process takes 20 weeks from when you first apply for an assessment to the final plan being produced.  There are certain exceptions when the assessment may go over the 20-week timescale, for example during the summer holidays.  The 0-25 education team will make you aware if this may happen.

Our EHCP timeline flow chart shows the different stages of the process and how long you can expect them to take.

How to apply for an education health and care plan 

To get a plan, your child will need to have an education health and care (EHC) needs assessment.  This is used to decide if they will meet the conditions for a plan.  You or your child’s education setting will need to request an education, health and care needs assessment from the council. 

Find out how to request for an EHC needs assessment to the council. 

Further Information  

Supportive Parents provide the information, advice and support service (SENDIASS) for children, young people and families in South Gloucestershire. 

IPSEA is the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice.  They provide information about education, health and care plans on their website 

Contact is a national charity who support families who have children with disabilities. There are details about the EHCP process on their website.    

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