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What are Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans?

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Children and young people with the highest level of assessed need may be eligible for a new type of statutory assessment which takes into account the child or young person's special educational need, together with any health or social care needs that they may have. This is called an 'Education, Health and Care Plan' or EHC Plan for short. Children and young people with existing statements of SEND will continue to be supported according to those statements and their rights protected.

Education Health Care Plans

  • Will be prepared instead of the current 'Statement of Special Educational Needs' for children and young people up to 16 years of age, or the 'Learning Difficulty Assessment' for those over 16 years of age.,
  • Can last until a young person is 25 years of age, but for most young people the plan will finish earlier than that, because the EHC Plan does not apply once the young person leaves school or college,
  • Can be requested if the child or young person is in a mainstream setting and their needs require a high level of support to enable them to access the curriculum,
  • Will be required for all children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities who are placed in special school settings.
  • Are integrated support plans for children and young people with complex special educational needs and physical disabilities.

They are focused on:

  • achieving outcomes
  • helping children and young people into school, through school and
  • preparing for adulthood.

The EHC Plan will be prepared in partnership with the child or young person, parents, carers and relevant professionals working across education, health and social care specialist services.

To find out more about Education health and Care Plans assessments call 020 7926 9460 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Requesting an Education, Health Care Needs Assessment

Requests for an assessment of education, health and care needs can be made by:

  • the child's parents (or somebody on their behalf)
  • the young person if over the age of 16 (or somebody on their behalf)
  • an early years setting, school or post 16 institution (this should be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person).

In addition, anyone can inform the local authority about a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN. This could include, for example:

  • foster carers
  • health and social care professionals
  • early years practitioners
  • youth offending teams or probation services
  • those responsible for education in custody
  • school or college staff or
  • a family friend.

This should be done with the knowledge and agreement of parents or the young person.

To download a parents application for assessment please visit here.

To download a young person’s application for assessment please click here.

For more information about the Key Worker follow this link.

The Assessment Pathway to an EHC plan is given in detail from this link.

To see and download a blank EHC Form follow this link.

When schools request an assessment for Education Health Care Plan they have a checklist which they include with the information they have sent in. For a copy of this checklist please click here.

Lambeth will notify the Health Authority and Social Services so that they are aware that they may need to provide advice and assessment in the near future. If the application has come from a parent/carer or a young person the appropriate early year’s setting/nursery/school/college will be contacted to provide supplementary information.

The application for an EHC assessment will be considered by the SEN panel. The parent/carer/young person will be notified of the panel’s decision within 6 weeks.

SEND Panel

The SEND Panel is the local authority’s decision making body which decides on SEND issues and allocates resources. The Panel consists of:

  • Head of SEND (Chair)
  • Headteacher representative (Mainstream or Special School)
  • Principal or Senior Educational Psychologist
  • Head of Service/Manager, School Admissions
  • Head of Service from the Multi Agency Team
  • Representatives from Lambeth Community Health Service
  • Representative from the Early Years Support Service

Minutes of the meeting are taken by a designated clerk.

What happens if the Local Authority decides that an EHC Assesment is not necessary?

The SEN Team will explain the LA’s decision to the parents/carers/young/person. We will also tell the parents/carers or young person that they have the right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal against the decision and set out the time limits for appeal and the availability of the Information Advice and Support Service (IASS) and disagreement resolution services.

What happens if the Local Authority decides to make an EHC Plan Assessment?

If Lambeth decides to carry out an EHC needs assessment an EHC Coordinator will beappointed to work with the family. As part of this the EHC Coordinator will schedule an EHC outcomes meeting to ensure that the priorities of the family are central to the assessment process. The LA will request information from specified relevant professionals which will need to be submitted within a maximum of 6 weeks from the date of the request. .Once all the information has been submitted an EHC Plan will be drafted by the LA and a decision will be made regarding:

  • The issue of an EHC Plan.
  • The level and type of support the EHC Plan contains.

The LA will issue a proposed EHC Plan and all reports and advice that formed part of the assessment to the parents/carers/young person. Professionals who have contributed advice will also receive copies. Parents/carers/young people will be given 15 days to respond to the proposed EHC Plan.

Parents/carers or young people have the right to request a particular school, college or other institution of the following type to be named in their EHC plan:

  • Maintained nursery school
  • Maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
  • Non-maintained special school
  • Further education or Sixth Form College

Independent school or independent specialist colleges (where they have been approved for this purpose by the Secretary of State

If a child’s parent/carer or a young person makes a request for a particular nursery, school or post-16 institution in these groups the local authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:

It would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person


The attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources

Lambeth will consult with the school/college of the parents’/carers/young persons’ choice. Consultation requires a period of 15 days.

There are a number of exceptional circumstances set out in the SEN Code of Practice which can cause time limits to the assessment process to be extended. These include exceptional personal circumstances affecting parents/carers/young people/carers and the child or young person being absent from the area for a period of at least 4 weeks. Subject to these exemptions, the period from when the EHC needs assessment is requested until the final EHC Plan is issued should take no more than 20 weeks.

What happens if the Local Authority decides that an EHC Plan is not necessary?

If, following assessment, we decide that an EHC plan is not necessary, we must inform the parents or young person, the early years provider, school or post 16 institution currently attended and the health service, and give the reasons for this decision. This must be done within 16 weeks of the initial request or of the child or young person having been brought to the authority's attention.

We must also tell the parents or young person that they have the right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal against the decision and set out the time limits for appeal, and the availability of the Independent Advice and Support Service and disagreement resolution services.

In these circumstances it is likely that the information gathered during the assessment will have indicated ways in which the school, college or other provider can meet the child or young person's needs from within available resources through an early years, school or college based support plan.

What if I don't agree with what has been decided?

If you disagree with the decisions then as well as your legal appeal rights there is a Dispute and Mediation Service who can help settle disputes.

When a child or young person starts an EHC Plan assessment they will be allocated a Co-ordinator who will steer the whole process. The family can have a Key Worker to support them through the process.

EHC Plan dispute resolution process - What happens if the Local Authority decides to make an EHC Assessment?

If you have a dispute with the Local Authority over your, or your child’s EHC Plan follow this link to find the Dispute Resolution process.