What's an EHC Plan?
Education, health and care plans are usually called EHC Plans, or sometimes EHCPs.
EHC Plans help children and young people improve their achievement at nursery, school, or college. They can be used from the age of 0 to 25 and help them progress through school and college, achieving as well as they can and preparing them for adulthood.
Children or young people who need to be educated in a specialist nursery, school or college must have an EHC Plan.
If a child or young person in a mainstream nursery, school or college needs a high level of support to make progress similar to the children around them, they will need an EHC Plan.
What's an EHC assessment?
An EHC assessment can be started by a parent or carer asking for one. An education, health or social care professional can also start one if the parent agrees.
If parents, carers or professionals think an assessment is needed for someone old enough, and able enough, to make decisions about their own lives, the young person should also agree.
Parents, carers and young people who think an EHC assessment is needed should talk to the SENDCO (special educational needs/disabilities coordinator - also called SENCOs in some places) at the nursery, school or college. SENDCOs organise all the support, advice and services for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities.
Applications for an EHC assessment can also be made online via the EHC Hub. You can read about the Hub further down this page. It's always best to talk to the people working with the child or young person, or the SEND team, before making your own application.
What happens when an assessment is requested?
The SEND team ask the nursery, school or college to give them information that will help them decide whether an assessment should go ahead.
We have six weeks to study the information, decide and tell the parent, carer or young person what we’ve decided.
If we decide to do an assessment, the child or young person and their family will be involved in the whole process.
How does an EHC assessment work?
If an assessment is started, an EHC coordinator who works in the SEND team will manage the assessment from start to finish. They will collect all the information we need to decide if the child or young person needs an EHC plan.
We have 14 weeks to decide whether an EHC Plan is needed for that child or young person. Occasionally it might take longer. If that happens we should let everyone involved know why.
If an EHC plan is going to be made, we will send the parent, carer and young person a draft copy of the plan. They have 15 days to tell us what they think about the plan and say what nursery, school or college provider they would like.
When we have found the right place, we will issue the final EHC plan. The whole process should not take longer than 20 weeks.
If you want more detail about how an assessment works, who is involved and how decisions are made, you can read these documents
- Parent, carer and young people's guide to the EHC assessment (PDF, 685 KB)
- EHC assessment criteria (PDF, 493 KB)
What happens if the decision is no?
We'll write to you to and tell you why we think it isn’t needed.
We'll offer to meet you to talk about the decision and how we think the child or young person could be supported. We’ll also talk to the school, nursery or college about the support we think is needed.
If we think you haven’t been listened to, we might arrange a meeting in the nursery, school or college. If the parent, carer or young person is unhappy with the decision we make, they can appeal.
What's the EHC Hub?
Lambeth’s SEND Team has changed the way it processes requests for Education, Health and Care needs assessments, how it issues and maintains Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), and how it reviews and monitors those EHCP’s.
We've been a paperless service for some time. The EHC Hub is the next step. It's a digital platform where families, professionals, nurseries, schools and colleges can work together on EHC assessments, plans, and reviews.
The Hub allows parents and carers to track their child/young person’s assessment and see who is providing support and advice. Once they have registered, parents and carers, and children and young people can upload their comments and views. This can include photos and videos (up to 3 minutes long).
School and college staff, and any other professionals, will also register and use the EHC Hub. They can upload reports so that relevant, up-to-date, information is shared with everyone involved.
Using the EHC Hub means everyone can access the same information used in the assessment and review process at the same time. The Hub makes decisions clear and open to all as soon as they are made.
Children, young people and their families remain at the heart of the EHC process. Using the Hub to conduct assessments and reviews makes this easier. We will keep asking for the views of families and professionals, and use the feedback to shape the development of the EHC Hub. We want to make sure their experience of the SEND system keeps improving, and we get better and better at coproducing high quality EHCPs.
Use these videos to help you use the Hub
If you need this information in a different format, or you want more help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.