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Education, health and care plans (EHCP)

Most children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities will have their needs met through mainstream education, such as early years' education, schools and colleges.

If a child or young person needs more specialist help than is available at their place of education, we can carry out an education, health and care needs assessment. The assessment will see whether the child or young person needs an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

EHC plans are for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through mainstream SEN support. EHC plans:

  • bring together education, health and social needs in a single plan
  • set out the additional support to meet those needs

EHC plans are family-focused, with emphasis on:

  • individual goals for children
  • improving children's opportunities for education and employment
  • introducing the opportunity for personal budgets to support these plans

Requesting an assessment

Requests for an education, health and care needs assessment can come from:

  • the school or other education provider
  • a parent or carer
  • another agency, for example social services or the health authority
  • the young person themselves, if over the age of 16

In all cases, we will consider the information and evidence provided. If needed, we will get more advice.

When we receive an assessment request

When we receive a request for an education, health and care needs assessment, we have up to 6 weeks to decide whether an assessment will be carried out.

If the assessment finds that an EHC plan is needed:

  • we will create a draft EHC plan and send you a copy
  • you will have 15 days to comment – this includes asking that your child goes to a specialist needs school or specialist college, if you wish to do so
  • we have 20 weeks from the date we received the assessment request to give you the final EHC plan

Who to talk to

If you think your child may have special educational needs, contact the SEN coordinator, or ‘SENCO’ in your child’s school or nursery.

Contact your local council if your child isn’t in a school or nursery on 01375 652 555

Your local Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service can give you advice about SEND.

Parent Advisory Team Thurrock (PATT) - 07702 127 252 -

Support your child can receive

Your child may be eligible for:

  • SEN support - support given in school, like speech therapy
  • an education, health and care (EHC) plan - a plan of care for children and young people aged up to 25 who have more complex needs

If you or your child got support before September 2014 this will continue until your local council changes it to an EHC plan.

Help and advice

You can call the Contact a Family helpline for help and advice.

Contact a Family helpline
Telephone: 0808 808 3555
Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

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