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Education Legal services for Families, in particular, Special Educational Needs & Disability
Education Lawyers

About the EHC Plan

An Education, Health and Care Plan or EHCP (also known as EHC Plans), is designed to be holistic and include all of a child’s educational, health and social care needs in one legally-enforceable document.

This means your child or young person, and the professionals working with them, can access the elements of support they need, whether it is provided by education, health or social care services.

About EHCPs

Who is an EHCP for?

An EHCP can be for a child from birth up to a disabled adult aged 25 as long as they are in education or training. This includes an apprenticeship and a supported internship, but not if they are at university.

When an EHCP has been finalised, it is the local authority’s responsibility to put the provision contained within it in place. A child does not need to have health and social care needs to qualify for a plan, but they must have additional educational needs.

You can apply for an EHC Needs assessment yourself, you do not need permission from your child’s school. You can also apply for an EHC Needs assessment if your child is educated other than at school. This is also known as EOTAS. This shouldn’t be confused with “elective home education” which the local authority has no responsibility to provision. EOTAS is always set out in an EHC plan and is the responsibility of the local authority to provide.

If your child’s school “suggests” they should try home education and they do not have an EHCP, you should apply for one, or speak to us to help you do so. The school that asks you to take your child home, or teach them at home, is likely to be making an illegal exclusion if it has not followed proper exclusion procedure.

Assessment criteria for an EHC Plan

Section 36 (8) of the Children and Families Act 2014 explains:

“The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection (7), the authority is of the opinion that –

(a) the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and

(b) it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.”

If your child has an EHCP that isn’t being followed, you should complain to the head teacher. If they refuse to implement the detail of the plan, you may want to consider speaking to us about commencing judicial review proceedings. Read more here.

Can my child attend a specialist school without an EHCP?

If you want your child/young person to attend a state-funded special school or provision, they will most likely need to have an EHCP in place.

If you want the local authority to fund your child/young person’s specialist placement at an independent setting, then an EHCP will be needed.

Some independent schools and colleges are approved by the government as “Section 41” provision. This means parents/young people have a “right to request” a place, and the local authority must treat it the same as it would a request for state-funded provision.

For an independent school that isn’t registered under Section 41, parents/young people can only “express a preference” for a particular setting. We are experts in helping parents make successful representations, when independent specialist provision is required.

Whatever kind of specialist provision you request, the local authority may refuse, at least initially, to name it as the placement on an EHCP. We support many parents in successful appeals to the SEND Tribunal to name specialist settings of all kinds, including independent “out-of-county” settings. Out-of-county doesn’t necessarily mean the setting is in another area, but that it is “outside” of LA provision.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

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