We can provide information and practical advice about Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments (EHCNA) and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) with information on how to ask for an EHCNA, the first step to getting an EHC Plan, and what happens when you have one.
Schools and colleges must provide support for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) as part of their standard offer to children. This is called SEN support.
Not every child or young person will need an EHC Plan. If you have special educational needs, school or college will work out how they can support you.
Your school or college will keep the support they give you under review to check it is enough to help you to learn. You might need different sorts of support at different times.
Sometimes schools or colleges may not be able to give a child or young person all the support they need, and if they are not making expected progress then they may need an EHCNA to find out what support they need.
The Education, Health and Care process also supports the City of York Council to get good health and social care advice for you, when needed.
By law, education, health and social care teams should work together to ensure you achieve your best and get good outcomes. This includes achieving in your life outside of school and in your local community.
- Education, Health and Care Plans
- Education, Health and Care needs assessments
- Your views
- EHC Plan Annual Reviews
- Preparing for adulthood
- If you're unhappy at school or college
- Ending an EHC Plan
Education, Health and Care Plans
An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) is a legal document which tells school or college what your special educational needs are, how you would like to be supported, and the outcomes you would like to achieve.
By law, the support described in an EHC Plan must be provided to you. It can also give you more choice about which school or college you can attend.
An EHC Plan can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an EHCNA. The whole EHC process takes 20 weeks.
By having an EHC Plan everyone working with you will be aware of your needs and because it’s a legal document everyone must follow what is in your plan and give you the best opportunity to achieve. The people that support you should be focussed on what you would like to work towards and what you want to achieve in the future.
You might find this short video helpful:
Education, Health and Care needs assessments
If your school or college have tried to help you and you still feel that you are not making progress or struggling, then you can request an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA).
You will need an EHCNA before an EHC Plan can be written for you.
If you are 16 or older you can apply yourself, if you are under 16 then ask a parent or carer, or your school or college Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) to apply for you. We can help you to write a letter to the City of York Council SEN Team to make your request for an assessment.
The EHC needs assessment is a way to look more closely at your special educational, health and social care needs and the support that you may need to help you to learn, be healthy and be included in your community.
In York, the council’s SEN Team deal with all EHC Needs Assessments and EHC Plans.
Health and Care Needs Assessment next steps
When the SEN Team receive your letter requesting an EHC needs assessment they have 6 weeks to decide if they are going to do 1 of 3 things.
1) Agree to an EHC Needs Assessment, and following the assessment agree to you having an EHC Plan.
The SEN Team will then have another 6 weeks to do the assessment and gather any information or advice they need.
They may ask you for more information or they may ask you to meet with a professional to talk about your needs.
The SEN Team will then invite you to a meeting to talk about the information collected during the assessment. This meeting is called a Coordinated Assessment Meeting (CAM). You, your parents or carers and all the professionals who help and support you will be invited to the CAM.
After the CAM, the SEN Team’s panel will go through all the information too and tell you if they will be writing an EHC Plan for you, or not.
If they tell you that they will be writing an EHC Plan one will be written and sent to you. This will be a draft copy of the EHC Plan and you will be given the chance to tell the SEN Team if you are happy with this draft plan, or talk about any changes that you want to make. You will be given 15 days to make any changes and can ask for a particular school to be named in the plan.
If you're happy with the EHC Plan a final copy will be sent to you.
Your EHC Plan must be finished within 20 weeks of the request for the assessment.
An EHC Plan has to be reviewed at least every 12 months. This means looking again at the EHC Plan to check that you have enough to help you to learn or if other changes may be needed.
2) Agree to an EHC Needs Assessment, but following the assessment don’t think an EHC Plan is needed.
The SEN Team will have another 6 weeks to do the assessment and gather any information or advice they need. They may ask you for more information or they may ask you to meet with a professional to talk about your needs.
The SEN Team will then invite you to a meeting to talk about the information collected during the assessment. This meeting is called a Coordinated Assessment Meeting or CAM. You, your parents or carers and all the professionals who help and support you will be invited to the CAM.
After the CAM, the SEN Team’s Panel will go through all the information and tell you if they will be writing an EHC Plan for you or not.
If they tell you a plan is not needed, this is because they think that your school or college is able to meet your needs and support you without one. Your My Support Plan (MSP) will be updated with all the information gathered during the assessment, and put in place by your school or college. An MSP is not a legal document, unlike an EHC Plan, but should still help you to get the support that you need.
If you're unhappy or disagree with this you can choose to appeal this decision. If this happens you can contact us and we can talk to you about this and offer some help and advice.
3) Not agree to a Needs Assessment.
The SEN Team’s Panel could say they do not think an assessment is needed. If they do, then they must tell you why they have made this decision. They have 6 weeks to tell you their decision.
If this happens to you, you can:
- choose to go to mediation (discuss the decision with the SEN Team)
- appeal this decision to the SEND Tribunal
- wait, collect more information or evidence and apply again in the future
You can contact us and we can talk to you about this and offer some help and advice.
The SEND Code off Practice 2015 says that children and young people have a right:
- to receive and impartial information
- to express an opinion
- to have that opinion taken into account in any matters affecting them from the early years
This means that your teachers at school and college, and other people that support you, should involve you in any discussion about your needs or support and:
- help you to participate in discussions and share your views
- take your views into account when planning and reviewing support
- consider your goals and aspirations when agreeing outcomes
It's important that the adults around you have an opportunity to discuss what they think is important for you, but they must also make sure they take into account what is important to you. This is sometimes called ‘person-centred planning’.
You might find these short YouTube videos in helping you to understanding the person centred approach and EHC Plans:
How to share your views
The law says that you should be involved as much as possible in your EHC Plan. Your views, needs and wishes should sit at the heart of the plan and everyone must listen to your views and feelings, your dreams and goals, and the support you need to achieve them.
You can share your views in any way that is most helpful for you. This could be:
- by making a PowerPoint presentation with support from someone who knows you well
- in writing, by filling in part 1 of the EHC Plan
- by making a short video
- drawing pictures or taking photographs of what you enjoy and don’t enjoy
- drawing a ‘Mind Map’ of your ideas
You can contact us and we can talk to you about this and offer some help and advice. One of our team will be able to listen and help you to get your views across.
EHC Plan Annual Reviews
Every EHC Plan needs to be looked at every 12 months to make sure that it is still up to date and it still meets your needs and is helpful to you. This is called the 'Annual Review'. You should be given 2 weeks' notice of your Annual Review.
The following steps make up the review process:
- the SEN Team usually ask your school or college to carry out the Annual Review
- your school or college, and the SEN Team will ask for your views about your EHC Plan
- a review meeting will take place to talk about your EHC Plan
- the SEN Team will ask for information from your school or college, your parents or carers and anyone else that has been working with you to help them to make decisions about your plan
- within 4 weeks the SEN Team will tell you if they are going to keep your plan the same, make changes to it or stop it
If you're unhappy with anything that happens in your review, then you can contact us to talk about this and get your options about what you can do next.
This short YouTube video can help you to understand the Annual Review process:
Preparing for your Annual Review
It's really important that you have your say during Annual Review. The Annual Review is a chance for you to say what you think about the help and support you get, talk about anything that is going well or what’s worrying you, ask for any other help or support that you think you need and what you want to be able to achieve in the future.
You might want to think about:
- what do you enjoy doing at home and school? What motivates you? Has this changed since last year?
- is there something new that you would like to work towards?
- what are you good at, and what are you most proud of?
- is the support you are getting still helping?
- what are the things you find hard at home and school, or what would you like to change? And why?
- what do you want to achieve now, and what do you want to do when you grow up? (What are you aspirations?)
- have you achieved the targets (outcomes) in your plan yet?
- is there anything else you can think of that might help you to reach your targets?
- how do they feel about any condition you have such as autism or ADHD?
The Council for Disabled Children have some helpful information about preparing for an Annual Review. Amy, a member of Council for Disabled Children’s youth advisory group FLARE, has created an incredible resource to support children and young people who have an EHC Plan to share their views which will support you to prepare for the meeting and what to bear in mind:
- How to share your views for your annual review (Council for Disabled Children)
It’s vital that your views and ambitions are shared in the way you want them to be, so use this resource if you need some help to organise all of your thoughts or if you don’t really understand what the meeting is for.
See further resources which could help you when preparing for your annual review:
- Annual Reviews timetable (Council for Disabled Children)
- Annual Reviews guidance: Person Centred Planning meetings (Council for Disabled Children)
Preparing for adulthood
From year 9 onwards your Annual Reviews should talk about something called 'preparing for adulthood'.
This is to help you to:
- prepare for higher education or employment
- prepare you to be able to live independently
- be part of your community and have supportive relationships and friendships
- be as healthy as possible in your adult life
If you're unhappy at school or college
If you're unhappy at your current school or college, or you believe that they're not able to support you in the way you need, you could ask for a meeting with them to discuss this further.
You may want to ask for an early review of your EHC Plan to talk about what’s not working and what needs to change.
If you're unhappy and would like to talk to us about your concerns and get your options about what you can do next.
See further information on asking for an early review of an EHC Plan (IPSEA).
Ending an EHC Plan
Your EHC Plan will automatically stop when you reach the age of 25, or if you choose to leave further education or training.
If you don't think that you need your EHC Plan any more then you can speak to your school, college or setting about this.
You can contact us if you're unhappy with your EHC Plan and would like to talk to us about your concerns and get your options about what you can do next.
See further information on what to do if your local authority takes away your EHC Plan.