Reading through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
We hear of many parents/carers who are so relieved to have a draft EHCP for their child or young person (yp) that they agree to the content without having had a thorough read. An EHCP is a legal document, and it is important that it is correct and describes your child/yp clearly. It must describe what the ‘needs’ of your child/yp are, what provision they need, and 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. For further information, read our EHCP booklet available on our website. You can also find IPSEA’s EHCP Check List at www.ipsea.org.uk.
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.
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”. This means 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, training needed etc.).
Going through the reports
With the draft EHCP you will have received all the reports/evidence collected during the assessment. We recommend that you photocopy your EHCP and the reports single sided and then go through each report with two highlighter pens.
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;
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 pen, 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 needs to have a separate desk with a screen to minimise the classroom distraction. He will have a high level of classroom support to prompt him to stay on task.
Going through the EHCP
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 will need to be written into Section B.
- All the SEN provision that you have highlighted in the professional reports/evidence will need to be written into 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 sections D
- Social care provision will need to be written into section 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).