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What is an education health and care needs assessment and plan?

Most children and young people will have their needs met within mainstream education. This includes local early years’ settings, schools and colleges. Find out more about SEN support in mainstream education settings.

Some children and young people may need more specialist help, than is normally available at their place of education.  We can carry out an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment. The assessment will help us to see if they need an Education, Health and Care Plan.

What is an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment?

This is an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs.  An EHC needs assessment helps us to decide whether extra provision is required.

More information on EHC needs assessments, including how to request an assessment.

 

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?

An EHCP describes your child’s special educational needs and the help they will get to meet them. An EHCP also includes any health and care provision that is needed.

EHCPs can start from a child’s birth and continue into further education and training.

What is the purpose of an EHCP?

The purpose of an EHCP is to make special educational provision to:

  • Meet the special educational needs of the child or young person.
  • Secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care.
  • Prepare young people for adulthood as they get older.

How do they help?

An EHCP should be a forward-looking document. It should:

  • Help raise aspirations and outline the provision required to meet assessed needs.  It should support the child or young person in achieving their ambitions.
      
  • Specify how services will be delivered as part of a whole package.
      
  • Explain how best to achieve the outcomes sought for the child or young person.  This is across education, health and social care.

What happens to the information from the assessment?

We use the information to: 

  • Establish and record your views, interests and aspirations.  This also includes those of your child or young person.

  • Provide a full description of your child’s or young person’s:
    • special educational needs and
    • any health and social care needs.
        
  • Establish outcomes across education, health and social care.  This will be based on the child’s or young person’s needs and aspirations.

  • Specify the provision required to meet needs and achieve agreed outcomes. It will include how education, health and care services will work together.

When is it necessary to conduct an Education Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment?

What the SEND Code of Practice says:

"A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.”  (Section 9.3)

The EHC needs assessment should not normally be the first step in the process. It should follow on from planning already done with parents, young people and education providers.

In a small minority of cases, children or young people may show significant difficulties. In this instance, your education provider may not be able to carry out its full chosen assessment procedure.

What the SEND Code of Practice says:

“The EHC needs assessment should not normally be the first step in the process, rather it should follow on from planning already undertaken with parents and young people in conjunction with an early years provider, school, post-16 institution or other provider. In a very small minority of cases children or young people may demonstrate such significant difficulties that a school or other provider may consider it impossible or inappropriate to carry out its full chosen assessment procedure”.  (Section 9.3)