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What is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment?

This animation video has been co-produced with our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from a range of schools in North Lincolnshire - Althorpe and Keadby Primary school, Outwood Academy Foxhills, St Luke's Primary School, North Lindsey College and John Leggott College. They produced the animation drawings used in the videos and recorded the voice over. We are very grateful to all of those who contributed and hope that you find the video informative.

The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges .

Some children and young people may require an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment in order for the local authority to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC plan.

The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.

The new EHC plan puts children, young people and families at the very centre of the process to make sure that their views are not only heard but also understood. The EHCP planning process uses person centered planning which helps families feel that they are more in control.

EHC plans are based on coordinated assessments from all of the services involved with the child or young person. The plans focus on outcomes and has to say how services will work together to meet the needs of the child or young person.

A statutory assessment for an EHC plan should not be the first step in the process for helping to meet the needs of a child or young person but should be built on coordinated work that is already happening between families, educational settings and any other health or social care services involved.

Young people and families have helped to design the plan that we are using. So far people are saying that they feel more listened to and more involved in the decision-making for their child in ways that make sense to them.

When should a referral for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment be made?

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs can be provided for from the resources normally available in their educational setting and community. The Local Offer will ensure that families and practitioners can find out what is available and help everyone to make the most of services offered in schools and in the community.

Where provision cannot reasonably be provided through services that are normally available, it may be necessary to apply for an EHC Needs Assessment.

It is usually best for families to talk to their child's setting or a professional working with their child before a request is made. Settings and professionals who are familiar with the family should be able to help the family to decide whether an assessment is needed.

When a request is made it really helps those making the decision to know why the family think an assessment is needed. It also helps to have good information about the journey for the child so far. There are questions on the request form that help to gather this information.

Sometimes families may find it helpful to talk to parent partnership or other voluntary support services when a request for an EHC Needs Assessment is being considered.

Who can apply?

Parents and young people post 16 have the right to request an EHC Needs Assessment independently. Early years providers, schools, colleges and other bodies can also request assessments but they can only do this with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where this is possible.

How EHC Planning works

Our EHCP process diagram provides details about the assessment process and timescales. If a plan is agreed, it will be reviewed every year although parts of the plan can be reviewed more frequently.

The plan will stay in place until it is no longer needed. It can stay in place until the age of 25.

How are families supported?

If an assessment is agreed, the family may be offered support from an Independent Supporter to guide them through the process. This could continue if a plan is agreed.

Support and advice is also available throughout the process from the Special Educational Needs and Disability, Information and Support Service (SENDIASS - formerly Parent Partnership Service).

Education, Health and Care Plan documents

If a child already has a Statement of Special Educational Needs, there will be a procedure for that Statement to be transferred to an Education, Health and Care Plan if one is needed. Details of this procedure can be found in the documents listed on the right in the box called Education resources for schools and providers.

When a new Education, Health and Care Plan may be required, a range of documents have been developed to gather information in the Assessment process that will be used when writing the Plan.

The school or educational/early years provider will complete a referral form EHCP Referral form which will be discussed with parents and professionals, possibly at a person-centred review meeting, prior to sending to the Authority. This form will seek to collate information to help the Authority decide if an Assessment is necessary. A guidance booklet for schools and educational providers to complete a referral form is available Guidance for education settings.

The Authority will also seek information from the local Heath Authority who will complete an advice form EHCP Health advice and also social care services for advice EHCP Care advice each giving its contribution to the Assessment.

On completion of the Assessment, if a decision is made to issue an EHCP, a draft Education, Health and Care Plan will be produced (The Authority's template for the Plan EHCP Final) detailing assessment advice and support arrangements.

The Plan can be more personalised with names/pictures/images as determined by the young person or parent (an example is John's Plan).

Animations to help explain the EHCP Process and Person Centred Connection

With support from the Department for Education, Independent Support has produced two short animation films, which can be used by local authorities, IAS services, IS agencies, professionals and parent groups in their communications with parents and young people.

The purpose of the two animations is to help explain the EHCP process and its important relationship with the Person Centred Connection. These are available to view below:

What are Education, Health and Care Plans?

This film is about how the new law that took effect on 1st September 2014 and talks about how statements of SEN will be changing to Education, Health and Care plans.

Thank you to the Council for Disabled Children© and the Department for Education© for permission to use these videos.

For further information please contact


Address: SEND Team, Hewson House, Station Road, Brigg DN20 8XJ

E-Mail: special.needssection@northlincs

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