To be eligible for an EHC Plan, a child or young person must have special educational needs (SEN), which can not be met by SEN support within their educational setting. If a child or young person (0 to 25yrs) has shown significant delays or difficulties with their learning, then the Local Authority will consider whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary or whether their needs can be met through the services in the Local Offer.
Once a request for an assessment is received, the Local Authority has to decide whether to carry one out. During that time, the Local Authority will ask the family and professionals for information to help make that decision. If the Local Authority decides not to carry out an assessment, families will be told of that decision within six weeks of receiving a request for an assessment and the reasons for this. The Local Authority will help families to find other ways that the child or young person can be supported in their school or other setting.
If the Local Authority decides to go ahead with a needs assessment this will be carried out by an Assessment Co-ordinator within the Children and Young People Disability Service. The Assessment Co-ordinator will work very closely with the child, young person and their family to gather information on their educational, health and care needs, their aspirations for the future and to work towards developing outcomes in the Plan.
Information is also gathered from all of the professionals involved in supporting the child or young person such as class teachers and educational psychologists and health and social care professionals where appropriate.
Towards the end of the assessment, the Local Authority will consider whether to issue an EHC Plan. If the Local Authority decides that an EHC Plan is not needed, families will be told within 16 weeks of the date the request was received.
If the Local Authority decides an EHC Plan is needed, the Local Authority will draft the Plan drawing on the information gathered from the family and professionals. The Plan will identify the child or young person's needs and desired outcomes and set out all the special provision and support required. The draft Plan is then sent to families for comment and to request a specific school, or other setting they would like their child to attend. Families will have 15 calendar days to comment on the draft Plan. The timescale from the point an assessment is requested to issuing the final EHC Plan is 20 weeks.
EHC Plans are then reviewed in partnership with families and the education setting at least annually to consider progress towards outcomes and next steps.
SEN support in schools
The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years’ settings, schools or colleges through the resources delegated to them by SEN Support funding.
SEN Support: where a child or young person has been identified as having special educational needs, schools should put in place a four part cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review. This is a graduated response approach to understanding the child or young person’s needs and removing their barriers to learning.
SEN support can take many forms. This could include:
- a special learning programme for your child
- extra help from a teacher or a learning support assistant
- making or changing materials and equipment
- working with your child in a small group
- observing your child in class or at break and keeping records
- helping your child to take part in the class activities making sure that your child has understood things by encouraging them to ask questions and to try something they find difficult
- helping other children to work with your child, or play with them at break time supporting your child with physical or personal care difficulties, such as eating, getting around school safely, toileting or dressing
- modifying the classroom environment in a way that reduces stress for the child/young person
Each school, early years setting and college in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has been asked to provide information about the support they provide for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities for the Local Offer. This includes the SEN support they provide. To view any educational provider's Local Offer, please go to the school's individual website.
What if SEN Support is not enough?
Sometimes a child or young person needs a more intensive level of specialist help that cannot be met from the resources available and this is the time to consider an Education, Health, Care Plan (EHCP) needs assessment. Some children may require an EHCP assessment very early on and in these cases the local authority should liaise with the appropriate professionals and start the process without delay. Anyone can contact Children and Young People’s Disability Service (CYPDS) to ask for advice on the best route to requesting an EHC needs assessment; this will most often be through a multi-agency meeting with those involved, at the educational setting (e.g. school). Following this meeting, either the educational setting or the parents may submit a request. If the young person is over 16, they can ask for an assessment themselves. An EHCP brings the child or young person’s Education, Health and Social Care needs into a single, legal document. The child or young person must have special educational needs to be eligible for a plan.
How to apply for an Education Health and Care Plan
Our SEND Guidance Booklet and SEN Support (Graduated Response) booklet contains all the guidance. These and the EHCP forms can be found below to be used for:
- Requesting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment for the first time
We recommend that the accompanying guidance is referred to when completing requests for a EHC Needs Assessment or completing the Education, Health and Care Plan templates.
Education Health and Care Plan - Guidance and Needs Assessment Application Form
SEN Threshold Guidance
This document is based on the ‘Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years, statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities.’
An EHC needs assessment is the process initiated by the Local Authority to determine whether a child has significant and long-term special educational needs. The process will also gather relevant information related to any health and care needs. An EHC needs assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan. The information gathered during the assessment may indicate ways in which the education setting can meet the child or young person’s needs without an EHC plan. In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the Local Authority should consider whether there is enough evidence to show that despite the education setting having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special education needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress. To inform their decision the Local Authority will need to take into account a wide range of evidence, and should pay particular attention to:
- Evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones) and rate of progress over at least 6 months.
- Information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN.
- Evidence of the action already taken by the early year’s provider, school or post 16 institution to meet the child or young person’s SEN.
- Evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided.
- Evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional, social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies.
- Where a young person is aged over 18, the Local Authority must consider whether the young person requires additional time, in comparison to the majority of others of 10 the same age who do not have special educational needs, to complete their education or training. Remaining in school, college or a supported internship/apprenticeship should help young people to achieve education and training outcomes, building on what they have learned before and preparing them for adult life. It must lead to clear outcomes such as qualifications, independent travel and readiness for work.
Need to speak to someone?
You can contact the Children and Young People, Disability Service (opens a page on this website)