In legislation introduced under the Children and Families Act (2014), Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) were introduced as a way of ensuring that children and young people with significant Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) had their needs identified and support given to meet these needs. Until this point, children who needed significant additional support were given a Statement of Special Educational Needs, following a detailed assessment process.
The EHCP process is as follows:
Some key things to note:
- Parents, schools or young people over 16 can initiate the process. Other professionals can bring the child or young person to the attention of the Local Education Authority if concerned.
- Not all children and young people identified as needing additional support because of complex needs will require an EHCP; the Local Education Authority will usually make a judgement based on the information provided by the parents, school and any other involved agencies.
- Even if the local authority decides that a (statutory) assessment is needed to understand the child or young person’s needs better, this may not always result in the development of an EHCP.
- An EHCP, if produced, will specify the type and amount of support a child or young person should receive to meet their needs, as well as short and long-term goals.
- Children and young people with EHCPs must have an annual review attended by all interested parties to consider the child’s progress, needs, goal and future aspirations.
What is meant by Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?
According to the Children and Families Act (2014),
- A child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
- A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she —
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
- A child under compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she is likely to be within subsection (2) when of compulsory school age (or would be likely, if no special educational provision were made).
- A child or young person does not have a learning difficulty or disability solely because the language (or form of language) in which he or she is or will be taught is different from a language (or form of language) which is or has been spoken at home.
Types of Special Educational Need and Disability
These come under 4 main headings:
- Communication and interaction, including Speech language and communication difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Cognition and learning, encompassing difficulty in acquiring basic literacy/numeracy skills or understanding concepts etc., severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties and specific learning difficulty
- Social, mental and emotional health, for example, emotional and social developmental difficulties and recognised disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), attachment disorder etc
- Sensory and physical needs, such as visual or hearing impairment, multi-sensory impairment and physical disability
At Valuing Minds, we work with schools and parents at all stages of the process, for example:
- carrying out an initial fact-finding session to see if the EHCP process should be initiated
- carrying out a detailed assessment during the process
- working with the school or college to plan, implement and review the support
- helping conduct child or young person-centred annual or transition reviews
- supporting parents who wish to challenge the outcome
If you would like to know more or need help navigating your way through the process, please contact us.