The Code of Practice sets out some key requirements and principles about EHC plans:
• Decisions about the content should be made openly and collaboratively with parents, children and young people
• EHC plans should positively describe achievements
• EHC plans should be clear, concise, understandable and accessible
• EHC plans must specify the outcomes sought for a child or young person
• EHC plans should show how education, health and care provision should be coordinated to best achieve agreed outcomes
• EHC plans should consider how best to achieve outcomes and account must be taken of any innovative or alternative ways to receive support sought by the young person or parent
• EHC plans should describe how family and community support can help in achieving agreed outcomes
• EHC plans should be forward looking and anticipate and plan for important transition points in a child or young person’s life, including transition into adult life
• EHC plans should have a review date
The format of an EHC plan will be agreed locally, so you may find they look slightly different, county to county. However, as a statutory minimum, EHC plans must include the following sections, which must be separately labelled from each other using the letters below.
Describes the views interests and aspirations of the child and their parents, or of the young person
• Details about your child or young person’s aspirations and goals for the future including aspirations for further education, paid employment, independent living and community participation.
• Details about play, health, schooling, independence and friendships.
• Your child or young person’s history.
• A summary of how to communicate with your child or young person and engage them in decision-making. If it is written in the first person, the plan should make clear whether the child or young person is being quoted directly, or if the views of parents or professionals are being represented.
Gives a description of the child or young person’s special educational needs (SEN)
• All of your child or young person’s identified special educational needs must be specified
It is important to note that SEN may include needs for health and social care provision that are treated as special educational provision because they educate or train the child or young person.
Gives a description of the child or young person’s health needs related to their SEN
• The EHC plan must specify any health needs identified through the EHC needs assessment which relate to your child or young person’s SEN.
• The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) may also choose to specify other health care needs which are not related to your child or young person’s SEN (for example, a long-term condition which might need management in a special educational setting).
Gives a description of the child or young person’s social care needs related to their SEN
• The EHC plan must specify any social care needs identified through the EHC needs assessment which relate to your child or young person’s SEN or which require provision for a child or young person under 18 under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
• The local authority may also choose to specify other social care needs which are not linked to the child or young person’s SEN or to a disability. This could include reference to any child in need or child protection plan which a child may have relating to other family issues such as neglect. Such an approach could help the child and their parents manage the different plans and bring greater co-ordination of services. Inclusion of this information must only be with the consent of the child and their parents.
Describes the outcomes sought for the child or young person. An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention. When agreeing outcomes, it is important to consider both what is important to your child or young person – what they themselves want to be able to achieve – and what is important for them as judged by others with your child or young person’s best interests at heart. An outcome should be personal and something that those involved have control and influence over. An outcome should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART).
• A range of outcomes over varying timescales, covering education, health and care as appropriate.
• A clear distinction between outcomes and provision. Outcomes are not a description of the service being provided. The provision should help your child or young person achieve an outcome.
• Steps towards meeting the outcomes.
• The arrangements for monitoring progress.
• Forward plans for key changes in your child or young person’s life, such as changing schools, moving from children’s to adult care and/or from paediatric services to adult health, or moving on from further education to adulthood.
• If your young person is preparing for the transition to adulthood, the outcomes that will prepare them well for adulthood and are clearly linked to the achievement of the aspirations in section A.
Describes special educational help or provision required to address the child or young person’s needs
• The plan should specify any appropriate facilities and equipment, staffing arrangements and curriculum modifications. Provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise.
• Provision must be specified for each and every need specified in section B. It should be clear how the provision will support achievement of the outcomes and it should be clear how information gathered has informed the provision specified.
• Where health or social care provision educates or trains a child your young person, it must appear in this section.
• Where residential accommodation is appropriate, it should be specified in this section.
• In some cases, flexibility will be required to meet the changing needs of your child or young person including flexibility in the use of a Personal Budget.
• Where support is secured through a Personal Budget details must be included of the outcomes to which it should contribute.
Describes the health provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN
• Provision should be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type of support and who will provide it, including where it is met through a personal (health) budget.
• It should be clear how the information gathered during the EHC assessment has informed the provision specified and how the provision will support achievement of the outcomes.
• Health care provision reasonably required may include specialist support and therapies, such as medical treatments and delivery of medications, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, a range of nursing support, specialist equipment, wheelchairs and continence supplies. It could include highly specialist services needed by only a small number of children which are commissioned centrally by NHS England.
• The local authority and CCG may also choose to specify other health care provision reasonably required by your child or young person, which is not linked to their learning difficulties or disabilities, but which should sensibly be co-ordinated with other services in the plan.
• Each CCG will decide which services it will commission to meet the reasonable health needs of the children and young people with SEN or disabilities for whom it is responsible. These services should be described in the Local Offer. The health care provision specified in this section of the EHC plan must be agreed by the CCG (or where relevant, NHS England) and it should be agreed in time to be included in the draft EHC plan sent to you.
Describes the special social care services that must be provided as a result of section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDPA)
• Provision should be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type of support and who will provide it, including where this is to be secured through a social care direct payment.
• It should be clear how the provision will support achievement of the outcomes and there should be clarity as to how information gathered has informed the provision specified.
• Section H1 of the EHC plan must specify all services assessed as being needed for a disabled child or young person under 18, under section 2 of the CSDPA. These services include practical assistance and adaptations in the home, any special equipment necessary, assistance in obtaining and traveling to recreational and educational facilities. It also includes facilitating the taking of holidays and non-residential short breaks (included in Section H1 on the basis that the child as well as his or her parent will benefit from the short break).
• This may include services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under the Children Act 1989.
Describes any other social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN
• Social care provision reasonably required may include provision identified through early help and children in need assessments and safeguarding assessments for children.
• Section H2 must only include services which are not provided under Section 2 of the CSDPA. For children and young people under 18 this includes residential short breaks and services provided to children arising from their SEN but unrelated to a disability. This should include any provision secured through a social care direct payment.
• Social care provision will include any adult social care provision to meet eligible needs for young people over 18.
• The local authority may also choose to specify in section. H2 other social care provision reasonably required by the child or young person, which is not linked to their learning difficulties or disabilities such as child in need or child protection plans.
Section I: Placement
This section gives the name and type of school that the child should go to
• The name and type of the school, maintained nursery school, post-16 institution or other institution to be attended by your child or young person and the type of that institution.
• These details must be included only in the final EHC plan, not the draft EHC plan sent to the child’s parent or to the young person.
• You must be given 15 calendar days to consider and provide views on a draft EHC plan. The local authority must notify you that during this period you can request that a particular school or other institution be named in the plan. The local authority must advise you where they can find information about the schools and colleges that are available for your child or young person to attend.
Describes how a personal budget (if any) will be used
• This section should provide detailed information on any Personal Budget that will be used to secure provision in the EHC plan.
• It should set out the arrangements for direct payments as required by education, health and social care regulations.
• The special educational needs and outcomes that are to be met by any direct payment must be specified.
This section contains supplementary information gathered during the needs assessment
• The advice and information gathered during the EHC needs assessment must be set out in appendices to the EHC plan. There should be a list of this advice and information.
Maintaining provision in EHC plans
Where an EHC plan is maintained for a child or young person the local authority must secure the special educational provision specified in the plan. If a local authority names an independent school or college in the plan it must also meet the costs of the fees, including any boarding where relevant.
For the social care provision specified in the plan, existing duties on social care services to assess and provide for the needs of disabled children and young people under the Children Act 1989 continue to apply.
Where the local authority decides it is necessary to make provision for a disabled child or young person under 18 pursuant to Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person Act (CSDPA) 1970, it must secure that provision.
Where the young person is over 18, the care element of the EHC plan will usually be provided by adult services.
For health care provision specified in the EHC plan, the CCG (or where relevant NHS England) must ensure that it is made available to the child or young person.