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

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs and/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 provide extra provision.

A short animated film has been produced with support from the Department for Education, by Independent Support on: 'What is an Education Health and Care plan and who is it for?'. 

What is the purpose of an education, health and care plan?

The purpose is to provide 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.

Education health and care plans should be forward-looking documents. They should: 

  • Help raise aspirations and outline the provision required to meet assessed needs to 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 across education, health and social care for the child or young person.

What happens to the information from the assessment?

Local authorities use the information to: 

  • Establish and record your views, interests and aspirations and those of the 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 based on the child’s or young person’s needs and aspirations.
      
  • Specify the provision required and how education, health and care services will work together to meet the child’s or young person’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes.

When is it necessary to conduct an assessment?

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 your child or young person in accordance with an education, health and care plan.

The education, health and care 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.

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