About education, health and care (EHC) plans

Most children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met from within an education setting’s own resources.  A small number of pupils will need additional support beyond what the setting would normally be expected to provide – in which case they may be eligible for an EHC plan.

An EHC plan is a legal document that describes a pupil's special educational, health and social care needs and the support they need to help them to get the best outcomes when they become adults.

To decide whether an EHC plan is necessary, the pupil will need to undergo an EHC needs assessment. The EHC needs assessment is not normally the first step in the process for helping to meet the needs of the child or young person but should be built on co-ordinated work that is already happening between families, educational settings and any other health or social care services who are involved.

An EHC needs assessment can be carried out for a child or young person between the ages of 0 to 25 who is in education or training. The process from the first request for an EHC needs assessment to issuing a final EHC plan if agreed, can take up to 20 weeks.

The SEND Code of Practice in Chapter 9 provides more detail about EHC plans.

EHC needs assessment eligibility guidance

In Bromley we work closely with educational settings and other partners to ensure that children and young people with SEND can access the right support at the earliest possible opportunity.

All pre-schools, schools and colleges are expected to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND and strive to be fully inclusive. Most children and young people with SEND receive support through high quality teaching/practice and interventions and provision offered at SEN support level, without the need for an Education, health and care plan (EHCP).

Educational settings follow a graduated approach to meeting needs, using an Assess; Plan; Do; Review process.

All educational settings make reasonable adjustments to avoid disadvantage and ensure that children and young people can continue to access their learning and development. Children and young people with medical needs should be supported with their physical and mental health to remain healthy and achieve their potential. It is essential to ensure that every relevant reasonable adjustment, intervention and high quality teaching/practice have been put in place at SEN Support level, in support of a CYP’s learning, care and health needs.

Our SEN Support pages provide more information about this level of additional support, the EHC needs assessment and planning process.

The EHC needs assessment is a step before an education and health care plan but does not always lead to a plan being written. The information gathered during the EHC needs assessment may indicate ways in which the setting can meet the child or young person’s needs without an EHC plan.

What is an EHC plan and who is it for?