EHC needs assessments and plans

What is an EHC plan?

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

“The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood..” (9.2)

Watch this animated video from the Council for Disabled children, which explains what an EHC plan is:

An Education Health and Care (EHC) plan is a legal document written by the local authority and is used for children and young people with high support needs that cannot be met by the support that is usually available at their school or college, known as SEN Support.

They describe a child’s special educational needs (SEN) and the help they will get to meet them. An EHC plan also includes any health and social care provision and can start from a child’s birth and continue into further education (not applicable for higher education) and training up until age 25. If there are health and social care needs but no educational issues an EHC needs assessment is not appropriate and will not be agreed.

Does an EHC plan come with any funding attached?

Funding is separate from the EHC process. For children and young people with high support needs, the allocation of additional funding is available whether or not they have an EHC plan.

What is an EHC needs assessment?

An Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is the first step in the EHC process. When the local authority decides an EHC needs assessment is necessary they gather advice from families, and practitioners across Education, Health and Social care, to determine a child or young person’s needs and the provision that is required to support them.

However, requesting assessment will not necessarily result in securing an Education, Health and Care plan.

Does a child or young person need a diagnosis to get an EHC plan?

A diagnosis is not required to secure an EHC plan. It is about the identified needs and whether these needs can only be met with an EHC plan. Some children and young people with an EHC plan will have a diagnosis and some won’t.

Watch our video ‘What is an EHCP (Education, Health and Care plan?’

Read script of recording (opens PDF)


Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment

Download EHC needs assessment leaflet


Education, health and care (EHC) plans

Download EHC plans leaflet

Our pages below take you through the process step-by-step: