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Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessments and Plans FAQs


Please select a topic for related questions and answers.

Requesting an assessment

SEN Needs Assessment

The Education Health and Care Plan

Implementing the EHC Plan

Reviewing the EHC Plan

Funding the EHC Plan

Personal Budgets

Transfer of Statements of Educational Needs to EHC Plans

SEN support

Requesting an assessment

1. If my child does not have an EHC plan who do I contact to see how I can get one?

The best way forward is to talk to either your child’s TAC lead professional or setting/school SENCO and together complete a request for an assessment form which can be found in the EHCP assessment and planning section of the SEND Local Offer

2. My understanding is that it will be harder to get an EHC plan and less children will have one. Will there be more funding for schools and nursery settings to cope with, and support children, whose needs require extra support?

The criteria used when making a decision to trigger a statutory EHC plan assessment is the same criteria as what is used in deciding whether to write a statutory statement. The funding allocated is the equivalent.

3. Who can make a request for an EHC plan on behalf of a child or young person?

Anyone can make a request as long as they have the agreement of the child, young person or their parents or carers.

4. If a school/setting states they do not feel the child needs an assessment but the parent disagrees, who can they turn to for guidance?

SENDIASS will support parents who feel that their child needs a SEN needs assessment.

5. Who will sit on an EHC plan panel? Is it multi-agency?

The panel is multiagency, having representation from health, social care and education.

6. If a child doesn’t have educational needs who becomes the lead professional?

If a child doesn’t have educational needs they won’t have an EHC plan. Social care needs will be met through a care plan and health needs through a health plan.

7. Will the restricted timeframes inhibit a fair assessment?

Although the overall time frame for statutory assessment has been reduced the actual time allocated to professionals to undertake their assessments and write their reports is the same.

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1. What is the time scale for starting the 20 week assessment process as per the flow diagram?

The 20 weeks start when the Provision and Assessment team receive the ‘Request for Statutory Assessment document’.

2. Will the restricted time frames inhibit a fair assessment?

Although the overall time frame for statutory assessment has been reduced the actual time allocated to professionals to undertake their assessments and write their reports is the same.

3. Is a Thrive assessment enough to identify emotional/social needs and who funds it? Do medical professionals need to be involved?

A ‘Thrive’ assessment can be used alongside other assessments and evidence when identifying emotional/social needs.

4. Do schools have a say when parents opt to send their children there (e.g. a named school on an EHC plan)?

Yes, the requested school is contacted and asked to respond within 15 days.

5. What does ‘short term outcomes’ mean? Should this be end of term or end of Key Stage? Or can TAC set this dependent on a child?

‘Short-term outcomes’ refers to outcomes that are to be achieved in less than one Key Stage. They could be achieved in a matter of weeks. The outcomes and timescales recorded in a plan will depend very much on the individual child.

6. If a child has just been diagnosed with ADHD, for example, would that initiate an EHC plan and assessment?

Diagnosis can feed into the EHC assessment process but a diagnosis of a condition does not necessarily mean that a child or young person has a level of need that requires an EHC assessment to be undertaken.

7. If outside agencies don’t attend meetings, or complete or submit reports, who is responsible for chasing their contributions/attendance?

The LA is responsible for ensuring that professionals write reports during the EHC assessment process and at Transfer Reviews. The lead professional will be responsible for ensuring professional input at annual EHC review meetings.

8. What happens when my child is refused an EHC plan?

Parents are informed about their right to appeal (and how to) at the same time as being informed that their child will not have an EHC plan.

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The Education Health and Care Plan

1. Is the EHCP available for those not in education?

Young people can have an EHC plan as long as they are taking part in education, training or an apprenticeship.

2. Do pre-schools have to admit a child if they are listed in the EHC Plan?

As part of the EHC assessment and planning process the EY setting or school is approached before the setting or school is written into the plan. Schools and settings must not discriminate against the admission of a child with SEND.

3. Pre-school: if we have a child who would have been put onto the statementing process do we need an EHCP?

Early years settings can request a statutory EHC needs assessment, which may or may not lead to an EHC plan being written.

4. If children are on Early Support (i.e. with a diagnosis of autism) but have no statement, do they need an EHC plan?

Children and young people who do not have a statement will continue to have an Early Support Plan.

5. What about Child Protection Plans and Child in Need – will they be in the EHCP or separate?

The Child Protection plans and the Child in Need plans will be separate but elements may overlap with the EHC plan. It is very helpful to align the review meetings of these plans.

6. If the Early Support Family Support Plan is to be merged with the Education Health and Care Plan, where do short term goals (e.g. a family applying for x amount of funds to get a new fence) go? What about provision or support from the community and voluntary sector (CVS) ?

The elements of an Early Support FSP that are directly related to the child or young person’s education will be transferred across. If they are related to other aspects of a family’s life they will remain in the Family Support Plan and will be monitored by Early Support. Support from the CVS can be included in an EHCP.

7. Will the EHC plans incorporate a holistic view of social care needs or only include those social needs specific to education?

It will include their social care needs specific to their education.

8. How do you manage parental expectations regarding the section on what parents want for outcomes?

Parents (and independent advocates for parents), lead professionals and other professionals will have ongoing discussions regarding outcomes. This partnership should ensure high but realistic expectations.

9. Will there be a storage point for the ECH plan that can be accessible to all contributors – health, education and social care?

The development of better information sharing systems via a ‘portal’ is currently being explored.

10. How do I know services will work together for my child?

The EHC plan records the contribution of all services involved and parents and young people will be present at all EHC plan review meetings.

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Implementing the EHC Plan

1. How do schools manage staff contracts?

The contracts of staff employed to support children with EHC plans will be managed as any other support staff contracts in the school.

2. How will schools be expected to manage the additional workload?

There should be no additional work as the EHC plan will take the place of the Statement of Special Educational Need.

3. Will other therapies be available?

An EHC plan will outline any appropriate therapies necessary to meet the special educational needs of a child or young person. There is no additional funding for additional therapies.

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Reviewing the EHC plan

1. How often will the EHC plan be reviewed? Can it be reviewed in the event of a significant change to the children's or young person's need?

As with statements EHC plans will be reviewed every six months in the Early Years and annually thereafter. It can be reviewed between annual reviews if there are significant changes to a child or young person’s needs.

2. What if the parents feels their child's needs are not being met – can they decide to re-allocate provision?

If the parents feel that their child’s needs are not being met they can request a review of the Education, Health and Care plan. If they still do not agree with the provision described in the plan they can access mediation.

3. Should there be any statements about ceasing the plan?

Achieving set outcomes should not equal ending the plan. These are two distinct and different things. Without this people can be negative about progress.

The EHC plan will evolve over time and at each review meeting the short-term outcomes that have been met will be replaced by new short-term outcomes. However, as with the Statement of SEN it might be agreed to cease the EHC plan at a review meeting.

4. How are ECH plans reviewed annually?

The EHC plans will be reviewed at least annually at a child/young person-centred multiagency meeting.

5. Annual reviews for existing statements – what format will the review take?

Until a Statement of SEN is transferred to an EHC plan (at a transfer review) annual reviews will continue in the same format.

6. How will plans be reviewed when professionals do not turn up to attend meetings?

Professionals who are unable to attend will have to submit a report/advice.

7. Will it now be a smooth transition between children’s and adult services?

One of the reasons for the EHC plan being in place until the age of 25 is to make the transition from children’s to adult services much more streamlined.

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Funding the EHC Plan

1. Who is responsible for calculating and agreeing the provision needed in the three areas to be able to write the EHC plan? Schools initially hold the first £6000; will this be redistributed to the parent? Who holds the parent to account for its spending?

The DfE expect the first £6000 of delegated resources for additional or different provision to be used by the school. A resource panel will agree any additional resources based on the information in the plan, this is called a ‘top up’.

2. Scenario: a child has significant attachment difficulties leading them to be emotionally unable to access mainstream schooling. Whose budget responsibility is this and who arbitrates what is ‘reasonably required’? Who holds health and social care accountable for providing budgets and how?

Provision is discussed and agreed during the EHC assessment and planning process. The finalisation of the plan and decisions regarding the associated budget are agreed at a multiagency EHC panel.

3. Can a school say that a child’s hours will have to be reduced if some of the funding is used for training?

At the EHC planning meeting, and at subsequent reviews, outcomes and the provision needed to achieve those outcomes will be discussed and recorded in the plan. It is possible that this could include elements of staff training.

4. Will provision for a Teaching Assistant to support a pupil with behavioural issues/mental health issues be a health funded payment or education funded payment?

The funding will be decided on an individual basis.

5. If you don’t agree how the school is spending your child’s funding (i.e. its not working for your child) how do you challenge it?

Parents will be invited to review their child/young person’s EHC plan on a regular basis. The provision that the school is making will be discussed at these meetings.

6. If the school are not providing adequate staff training what do you do?

At SEND review meetings parents can express their concerns and discuss with the school the training that has been made available.

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Personal Budgets

1. Who do I apply to or ask information on Personal Budgets/ Social Care Direct Payments?

SENDIASS or the Local Authority will be able to provide information on personal budgets.  During the EHC needs assessment process or at a review a family can request a Personal Budget Statement which states the monies provided by education, health and social care to support the EHC plan.

2. How do I know what I can/cannot spend the personal budget on?

There are guidelines as to what a personal budget can be spent on.

3. Do/can personal budgets cover additional support for children with SEND whilst they attend childcare settings, that would enable the family to go to work? If not where does this fit into an ECHP?

This will depend upon the individual child or young person. An assessment of need is undertaken. There is no mandatory responsibility for social care to provide this support, but they may do so.

4. Should DLA be included in the plan/personal budget and if so is this care/provision part of a care assessment (i.e. social care submit this evidence in their contribution)? Has any debate occurred in terms of incorporating this?

DLA is a welfare benefit and as such, an allocation of a personal budget will not affect any benefits that the child or young person or their family is receiving, as it is not classed as income or taken into consideration as part of a personal budget.

5. How do you police the direct cash payments? What happens if parents spend the money on themselves: e.g. they purchase a new tv, etc?

The service does not ‘police’ direct cash payments. We agree on the assessed needs with young people and families, as identified in the child’s Education, Health and Care plan, and that direct cash payment should be used for these purposes only. We ask that families provide information to us to evidence the way in which the funds have been spent, and are used appropriately to meet identified needs. 

If payments have been misused, the funds may have to be repaid.

6. Would Personal Budgets be expected to fund the ‘health carer’ for short breaks?

If a child or young person has continuing healthcare needs, then the expectation would be that healthcare services provide and co-ordinate the package to ensure clinical oversight and safe care arrangements. Social care would fund the cost of carers as assessed by social workers.

7. Can you take on self-employed Personal Assistants or Community Support Workers rather than employing them for Direct Payments and Personal Budgets? Please specify for both and if not, why not?

Community Support Workers are employed directly by Cornwall Council. In terms of Personal Assistants, they are recruited by the young person or family to provide support. It is essential to understand the difference between ‘employed’ and ‘self-employed’ as it is the young person, parent/carer’s responsibility to ensure their Personal Assistant's employment status is correct. To ensure a Personal Assistant has the correct status, young people or parents/carers should complete HMRC’s online Employment Status Indicator Tool (ESI) which will provide an indication of the worker’s employment status. The Direct Payments Team can provide further information.

8. In terms of Personal Budgets, Personal Assistants need to be DBS checked. Who will pay/organise this? Does it come out of the personal budget?

Cornwall Council will carry out and meet the cost of initial enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service checks for all Personal Assistants, on behalf of young people and families who are in receipt of a direct cash payment. The cost does not come from the allocated personal budget.

9. How do we monitor what parents spend the personal budget on? Are they accountable for it?

Cornwall Council will review how the Direct Payment is being spent, to ensure assessed eligible community care needs and outcomes are being met and that the Direct Payment is being used as detailed in the Education, Health and Care plan and within the terms of the Direct Payment Agreement.

The Direct Payment recipient will be subject to regular audits in relation to the use and management of the Direct Payment. This is required to ensure that Council monies are being used for the purposes as set out in the EHC Plan, the correct amounts are being used for each service and that accurate receipts and records are being kept. Any discrepancies will be investigated and resolved. 

10. Who advocates for parents with SEN who opt for direct payments – how do they navigate the process of employing a personal carer? Are some parents excluded or isolated because they cannot access the opportunities?

Ongoing support and guidance is provided by the Direct Payments Team, who visit families on a regular basis. There are no parents or cares who are excluded from receiving a direct cash payment if a child or young person is assessed as having identified needs, and these needs could be met by a direct cash payment. Eligible families choose whether to proceed.

11. Will families be able to choose if they want direct payments from social care or personal budgets?

Direct Cash Payments can form part of a Personal Budget. Young people and families decide if they want support delivered either way. Alternatively, if a Direct Cash Payment or a Personal Budget is not chosen, the child or young person is still entitled to support to meet their assessed needs and we will make arrangements as to the most appropriate way for this to be delivered.

12. Can a family use a managed account provider if they do not have a learning impairment? So by choice alone?

Yes, all families can decide how the budget is managed - families may choose to take an amount as a Direct Cash Payment, or they may ask us to arrange the care and support on their behalf; or a combination of both. Families may choose to take part of the Personal Budget as a Direct Cash Payment and ask us to manage the other services for them, or  wish to nominate a third party or organisation to manage the funds on their behalf.

13. What happens to the personal budget (financial provision) if the parents are not engaged?

Social Care Managers have discretion as to whether a Personal Budget or a Direct Cash Payment is given. Young people, parents and carers have a choice whether they wish to proceed with either. If parents and carers are not engaged, an alternative type of support will be provided to meet identified needs.

14. Could there be a way of linking parents and young people together that want a particular service/therapy as they may not be aware that this is possible?

A parents and young people network group have met, providing an opportunity to meet and discuss their experiences of receiving a Personal Budget. Feedback from those attending was that they found the event helpful; all were keen to discuss their own experiences, and the ways in which they were using their Personal Budgets resources and discussed the potential of pooling budgets.

We are one of ten local authorities who were chosen to be part of the national SENDirect Project. This will be an on-line support brokerage service which should underpin the roll out of Personal Budgets and will mirror our commitment to participation, choice and control for disabled children and young people and their families.

The online service aims to address some of the challenges that families may face to raise awareness of various local services and support available from providers. SENDirect aims to put in place a brand new on-line system for parents and carers to help them use their allocated personal budgets so children and young people receive the local health, education and social services they need.

15. When is the young person responsible for their direct payments?

It would be expected that the young person would have a capacity assessment and their own individual bank or building society account for the funds to be paid into.

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Transfer of Statements of Educational Needs to EHC Plans

1. If a child has a statement does it change to an EHC plan?

All statements of SEN will be transferred to EHC plans during the period 2014-2017. The timetable for the transfers can be found on the Family Information Service website in the SEND Local Offer section.

2. At a transfer review of a child who ‘only has SEN', will they continue to have an EHC or will they have a transferred statement.

All Statements of SEN will be transferred to EHC plans.

3. How do the changes affect Elective Home Education?

Children and young people who are electively home educated and have a statement of SEN will have a Transfer Review where the statement of SEN is transferred to an EHC plan. The EHC plan will outline the provision to be made for the child or young person.

4. Is there the expectation that new updated professional advice is sought for transfer reviews e.g. SALT/EP etc.

Professional advice will be sought during the review unless there is recent advice available.

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SEN support

1. In transition from pre-school to school for a child with additional needs but no EHCP (not in catchment) - how can parents ensure that child can be admitted to school of choice with peers & support already in place?

Parents can apply for a place at the school of their choice.

2. Will there be further training sessions regarding SEN support in schools?

There will be more SEN support information shared in future SEND Updates and SEN networks.

3. If the child does not have an EHC plan how can I ensure the setting/school will meet their needs?

Children with additional needs but without an EHC plan will be recorded as being at SEN support. Children at SEN support schools have to meet their needs by using a graduated response and working closely with parents. This is made very clear in the SEND Code of Practice.

4. What if I feel the school is not meeting the child’s needs when there is no EHC plan in place?

Parents should meet the school SENCO to review progress and discuss the provision that has been put in place. If the school is unable to meet the needs of the child or young person an EHC needs assessment may be requested.

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