An EHCP is also known as an Education, Health and Care Plan and can be applied for if you, your child’s school, or other people who work with them such as a GP or health visitor, believe that they have special educational needs or a disability. An application for an EHCP can be made for any child or young person aged between 0 and 25.
Before an application you may have had consultations, usually with your child’s school about SEN Support. This is a short-term individualised plan that is put in place to ascertain whether they may need additional support. They can then request an EHC Needs Assessment from your Local Authority.
What happens next?
The child or young person involved in the application must have been receiving SEN support for at least 4 terms and still be not making academic progress. Once they have decided to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment your Local Authority will begin to gather information from both you and your child’s education provider. They may also approach your health visitor or GP to gather information that will help them come to their decision.
You’ll be asked questions about what your child/young person is like at home, how they interact with others, what their level of independence is, and how they perform and behave in their school or education setting.
How long does it take?
Once your local authority has received the request, they must decide whether they will carry one out. This decision must be made within 6 weeks of receipt of the initial application.
The next 10 weeks will be used to gather evidence and answers from you and any other important people in your child’s life.
Following this your Local Authority will decide whether or not to issue an EHCP (with right to appeal) and will set up ‘A Way Forward’ meeting.
In the final few weeks your child/young person’s education setting will be consulted with and an EHCP will be issued.
The process should be completed by the Local Authority within 20 weeks.
I’m not happy with the decision and want to appeal. What do I do?
If you are unhappy with an EHCP decision and want to appeal we would always recommend that you take legal advice. We run a SEND legal clinic on Wednesdays.
There are three options that you can take.
A Way Forward Meeting
This will usually be informal and will be held at your child/young person’s education setting. A representative of your Local Authority will usually be present, as will the school SENCO. At this meeting there will be a discussion about next steps and how support can move forward.
Mediation and Disagreement Resolution
Mediation is designed to try to find a settlement between you and your local authority. It will be held in a neutral location.
Disagreement Resolution is designed to resolve issues and disagreements over SEN provision and are available to all parents of children, and young adults, with SEND. You do not need an EHCP in order to participate in this part of the process.
Appeals to the SEND First-tier Tribunal
If you are still unhappy you can lodge an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal.
You can make an appeal if your local authority refuses to:
- Carry out an EHCP assessment
- Issue an EHCP
- Change sections of the EHCP which lack provision that your child needs
- Or if they decide that a child or young person no longer needs an EHCP
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