What is an EHCP?
An EHCP is a legal document, so it needs to be specific, clear and detailed.
It is important that the EHCP is correct and describes your child/ young person (yp) clearly. It must describe:
- what the ‘needs’ of your child/yp are
- what provision they need
- What the agreed outcomes are for your child/yp.
Each local authority can develop their own layout for their EHCP - but legally they must contain a number of separate sections as described earlier in this booklet.
All special educational needs (SEN), provision and outcomes must be specified in an EHCP. The use of vague words should be avoided such as “regular”, “access to” or “opportunities for”. It should be clear who has to do what, when and how often (it will not name a specific person but should state the job role, the training needed etc.).
Check basic details such as correct spelling of names, and the right date of birth. Sometimes, spelling and typing errors slip in.
Make sure that it says everything you think is important about your child – do you recognise your child? There shouldn’t be any surprises.
In preparing the draft, the Local Authority use the information and reports that they have received as part of the needs assessment.
- Going through the reports:
- Going through the EHCP
- Sections of the EHCP
- Section A – All about me
- Section B – Special Educational Needs
- Section C – Health needs relating to SEND
- Section D – Social care needs relating to SEND
- Section E - Outcomes What is an outcome?
- Section F – Special Educational Provision
- Social care and Health provision
- Section G - Health Provision
- Section H1 - Social care provision for children covered by CSDPA
- Section I – Named Setting
- Provision in a mainstream or complex needs school (special school)
- Bringing it all together
Going through the reports:
With the draft EHCP you will have received all the reports/evidence collected during the assessment. These will be listed in section K of the plan so you can check that you have them all.
We recommend that you photocopy your draft EHCP and the reports single sided and then go through each report with two highlighter pens.
Go through each report and in one colour, highlight all your child/yp’s special educational needs – ‘needs’ are the difficulties that your child has – not their diagnosis, but how the diagnosis affects their education. Look for the word ‘need’ or a description of what your child or young person finds difficult.
An example of a need: Pupil X has ADHD (diagnosis), - Pupil X finds it hard to stay focused in a noisy, busy classroom, and is easily distracted (special educational need).
Then go through all the reports again, in another colour, highlight all the provision that the professionals have identified they need (the support that is needed to support the SEN);
An example of provision: Pupil X will have a separate desk with a screen to minimise the classroom distraction.
Going through the EHCP
To get ready to go through your EHCP and the reports you will need:
- Time in a quiet place
- Space to lay out your documents
- A spare copy of all the reports and the EHCP (keep one clean copy)
- Two different coloured highlighter pens
Once you have gone through all the reports, repeat this process with the ECHP.
- All the ‘special educational needs’ that you have highlighted in the professional reports/evidence need to be included in Section B.
- All the SEN provision that you have highlighted in the professional reports/evidence needs to be included in Section F.
Next, check that every numbered need in Section B of the EHC Plan is matched by a provision in Section F.
- Health Care needs will need to be written into Section C.
- Health Care provision will need to be written into Section G
- Social care needs will need to be written into section D
- Social care provision will need to be written into sections H1 and H2
- Any needs and provision that trains or educates your child or young person are educational needs and provisions, and must be in section B and F as above. e.g. Speech & Language Needs and Therapy would normally be considered educational needs and provision.
The needs (sections B,C and D) and the provisions (section F, G and H) and the outcomes (section E) should lead to the type of educational setting named in section I (placement).
Sections of the EHCP
The EHC Plan is organised by sections:
Section A – All about me (including Aspirations)
Section B – Special Educational Needs
Section C – Health needs, related to SEND
Section D – Social Care needs, related to SEND
Section E – Outcomes
Section F – Special Educational Provision
Section G – Health provision
Section H – Social care provision (H1 and H2)
Section I – Named setting/school (this section will be left blank in the draft)
Section J – Personal Budget
Section K – Reports used to make the plan
Section A – All about me
It is important to record your child or the young person’s aspirations – what they wish to do e.g. be a bus driver, vet, work in a supermarket, train horses etc.
Aspirations can change during childhood, they don’t have to be realistic but they can be used to encourage learning.
The child or young person’s views are in section A then the parents views. (for help in what to write here please see our booklet Writing your contribution for an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP) Needs Assessment.)
There is also a My Story So Far section for a brief summary of the relevant history.
Section B – Special Educational Needs
Section B must give details of your child’s special educational needs found during the needs assessment. You should be able to read this part and recognise your child. It should describe all the things your child finds difficult.
As part of the needs assessment, the views from parents, children and young people, as well as specialist professionals would have been sought. You should have copies of all the reports as part of the draft.
A need is not a diagnosis; it is a difficulty that gets in the way of your child/yp’s ability to take part in their education, and will have been identified during assessments.
Need vs diagnosis:
Need: Sarah finds it hard to copy from the whiteboard
Diagnosis: Sarah is dyslexic
Need: Kim struggles to socialise and interact with other pupils.
Diagnosis: Kim has autism
Need: Peter finds it hard to stay focused in a noisy, busy classroom, and is easily distracted.
Diagnosis: Peter has ADHD
Section C – Health needs relating to SEND
Health needs which relate to the child/yp special educational needs must be recorded here plus long term conditions which may need managing in an educational setting.
Section D – Social care needs relating to SEND
Social care needs which relate to a child/yp special educational needs or which require provision under H1 or H2.
Section E - Outcomes What is an outcome?
The SEND Code of Practice says:
9.66 - An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention.
9.68 – Outcomes underpin and inform the detail of the EHC plans. Outcomes will usually set out what needs to be achieved by the end of the phase or stage of education in order to enable the child or young person to progress successfully to the next phase or stage.
The plan should contain both medium and long term outcomes. Short term outcomes will still be covered under SEN Support. (See our SEN Support booklet for more information).
It can be helpful to think of the relationship between needs, provision and outcome as a maths sum – e.g. needs (Section B) + provision (Section F) = outcomes (Section E).
Section F – Special Educational Provision
Children and Families Act 2014 defines special educational provision as: Special Educational Provision for a child aged two or more or a young person, means educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for others of the same age.
The Special Educational Provision is a description of what support needs to be put in place to meet the Special Educational Needs listed in section B.
Provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, e.g:
- type of support
- amount of time
- how often
- delivered with what level of expertise/by who
The provision should help your child achieve their outcomes (Section E).
Social care and Health provision
Speech and language therapy is included in Section F as an educational provision, because it is key to interaction and learning.
The SEND Code of Practice says:
Health or social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person must be treated as special educational provision and included in Section F of the ECH Plan.
Section G - Health Provision
Section G might include therapies for chronic conditions, e.g. physiotherapy; psychology sessions for mental health disorders; medical treatments and rehabilitation services. This section should include provision linked to the learning difficulties identified in Section B, and can also include unrelated healthcare provision where it would be sensible to coordinate with other services described in the plan.
Section H1 - Social care provision for children covered by CSDPA
Section H1 must specify any service assessed as being needed for a disabled child or young person under 18 under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA), e.g. practical assistance at home, respite care, adaptations, and any special equipment. It should be clear how provision will help achieve outcomes, and if it will be secured by a Personal Budget.
Section I – Named Setting
If all the previous sections are completed correctly then the plan will be able to identify an educational placement will be best able to meet needs and deliver your child’s educational plan. This can be a mainstream or complex needs school.
– e.g. needs (Section B) + provision (Section F) = named setting (Section I)
When you receive the draft EHCP it will not name a school in Section I. This is because an EHCP must be written about the child/yp’s needs and not written to meet the needs of the school/setting.
The school or setting will be named in the final plan. If the named school or type of school (i.e. mainstream) that you would like to see is not named in the final plan, you have the right to appeal to Tribunal.
Our booklets – ‘What to do if you do not agree’; and ‘Appealing to Tribunal (SENDIST) offer more information and advice about the process of appealing. These are available to download on our website.
Provision in a mainstream or complex needs school (special school)
Provision at the named school or setting should be described in detail, whether it is a complex needs school or a mainstream one.
If you are applying for a place at a complex needs school, it is very important that provision is detailed so that it matches your child’s very specific needs. The level of detail should lead to conclusions about the type of complex needs school that will enable your child to achieve their outcomes.
Provision for your child’s needs at mainstream school must be equally specific, and if your child requires support or therapy from professionals from other agencies beyond school, this must be recorded in the plan. This support may be funded through a Personal Budget (Section J).
Bringing it all together
The key to a strong plan is:
- Accurate identification of need—B
- Specific and detailed support/provision—F
- Agreed outcomes
- Should then lead to an appropriate placement—I