Discover how you can put the right preparations in place to begin your mainstream college search and find the best place to study.Find out more about 'Step Two: Applying for Mainstream Colleges'
Step One: Your Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP)
What is an EHCP?
An Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) identifies educational, health and social needs and sets out the additional support to meet those needs. An EHCP for children and young people aged from 0 to 25 who need more support than what is available through special educational needs support. It can also give young people or their parents more choice about which school, college or other setting you’d prefer to attend.
How do I request an EHCP?
If you don’t have an EHCP and would like to find out whether you should have one, contact your local authority and ask for an Education and Health Care assessment of your needs.
- You can request one if you are aged between 16 and 25.
- Or your parent/carer can if you are under 16.
- Requests can also be made by any other key individual who supports you and believes you need an assessment. For example; doctors, health visitors, teachers, and family friends.
- In most cases, your EHCP is guided by your previous/current school/college.
What is an Education and Health Care assessment?
The purpose of the assessment is to identify your needs. It will also determine whether or not you are entitled to a plan. Your local authority is responsible for carrying out the assessment. You are entitled to one if you meet the following criteria:
- You have (or may have) special educational needs (SEN).
- You need special educational provision to be made through an EHCP.
Your local authority may need some documentation to support your application such as:
- Reports from your school.
- A doctor’s assessment of your condition.
- A supportive letter from a parent/carer about your needs.
You should then be notified within 16 weeks as to the outcome of the assessment.
What happens if I do get an EHCP?
Once this has been agreed by your local authority, then the following three step process should begin:
- A draft EHCP will be created by your local authority with a copy sent to you for review.
- You will then have 15 days to check over this to see if you think the proposed plan is correct and will give you the support you need. You can then respond to the local authority with your comments, feedback or additions (if you have any), or accept the proposed plan.
- From there, your local authority will have 20 weeks from the date received to respond with a final EHCP decision.
- No guarantees. An EHCP does not always guarantee a place at a school or college, nor does it mean you must go to a special school or college.
- Get it arranged early. An EHCP can take a considerable amount of time to complete so be sure to get the application going as soon as you can. This can be done by speaking with your parents, previous/current educational provider, and/or your doctor(s) and health visitor(s).
- Understand what support options you have. Your EHCP will highlight multiple support options that may be required such as support staff which is explained in more detail in Step Three: Getting the Right Support in Place, Step Four: Funding Available and Step Five: Technology for Your Studies.
- Consider challenging. You can challenge any decisions that are made. This may be anything from your local authority choosing not to carry out an assessment or create a plan in the first place. Or it could be decisions further down the line surrounding the support recommended and provided.
- You can appeal if you feel the decision is wrong. Unfortunately, it may be the case where you have not been able to come to a suitable plan. Unresolved problems with your local authority can then be advanced for appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.
- Annual review. Your EHCP is reviewed annually by your local authority. This is where changes may be made if your condition has improved/deteriorated or your needs have changed. The review should have your involvement, as you help to determine the support you receive, especially if your needs change. It’s recommended to keep notes or a helpful list of how you feel you can benefit most from the review to your EHCP.
- The Special Needs Jungle has useful resources outlining the processes taken when conducting an Education Health Care assessment.
- The Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) has extensive resources guiding you through the whole process. From applying for an assessment to using your EHCP and appealing against any decisions.
Check out the other steps...
Find out the different types of support that may be available to you within mainstream college and what you can do to access it.Find out more about 'Step Three: Getting the Right Support in Place'
Learn what funding options may be available to you when studying at mainstream college.Find out more about 'Step Four: Funding Available'
Learn more about the different types of assistive technology which may be available to provide support with your education.Find out more about 'Step Five: Technology for Your Studies'