Education, Health and Care Plan Guide

A step-by-step guide explaining the timeline of an Education, Health and Care plan for a child in England. 

An Education Health and Care (EHC) plan is a legal document, which describes your child’s educational, health and social care needs and sets out the provision required to meet those needs and to achieve agreed long-term outcomes. 

The EHC plan process is in stages, which can take up to five months from the time your local authority (LA) is asked for an EHC plan to the point when the EHC plan is ready to begin. 


Who can help?

You can receive independent support from a range of providers: 

Week 1-4

  • Request for an EHC needs assessment is made to the local authority (LA).  If the request comes from your child’s education setting, it may be quicker, however, the request can come from a professional, parent/carer,  or young person age 16+ with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). 
  • If you are making the request, the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) has a model letter for you to use and Contact has a checklist to help to outline your child’s needs. 
  • When the LA gets the request, they will get in touch with you to introduce themselves and arrange a meeting. At this first meeting, the LA will tell you whether they have decided that your child will have an  EHC plan needs assessment.
  • Initial information and evidence that is already available will be gathered and professional advice is requested and considered. 
  • Progress to EHC needs assessment or notification not to proceed with an EHC needs assessment is issued. Feedback is provided, with the right to appeal. 

Decision to Assess


If the LA doesn’t think an EHC plan assessment would be right for your child, they will explain why. 

You can appeal against this decision if you think that your child has complex educational, health and social care needs. 


If the LA thinks that your child should have an EHC plan Needs Assessment, then you will need more information about your child from the following people: 

  • An educational psychologist 
  • A community or consultant paediatrician 
  • A social worker 
  • Specialist teacher
  • Any other professionals that work with your child, such as
    • Portage worker
    • Speech and language therapist
    • Hydrocephalus nurse
    • Physiotherapist
    • Occupational therapist
    • Continence adviser
    • Epilepsy nurse 

You can ask for independent reports from different professionals if you wish


You can ask professionals to send you their draft reports before they submit them to the LA. This allows you to check that the reports contain detailed information. 

Your local SEND Information and Advice Service (SENDIASS) can help and support you during this process.  


Week 5-8

Everyone who has been asked for information about your case must reply within six weeks. It is important that you keep all the appointments relating to your child’s assessment because it could delay the process if you don’t. 

Writing Section A

You and your child will be asked to write Section A of the EHC plan, often called All About Me, outlining their strengths and your concerns. 

Keep in mind the particular difficulties your child faces due to spina bifida and/ hydrocephalus. The Council for Disabled Children has examples on how to write this section 

Week 9-12

The LA writes a draft EHC plan using the information provided in the reports and there will be an  EHC planAssessment Meeting in week 12 to discuss the draft plan and make sure it’s ready to present to the SEND Panel. 

You can ask for further reports on your child’s additional needs that you think have not been covered. For example: your child’s neurological condition may have an impact on their concentration, memory or learning, which will need addressing. 

Week 13-16

The EHC Draft Plan is presented to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Panel and they will decide whether to go ahead with it or not. 

The LA will write to you by week 16 to let you know the decision. 


If the SEND Panel agrees to go ahead a copy of the draft plan will be sent to you. 

You have 15 days to read it and let the LA know if you are happy with it, or if you would like any changes to be made. 

If you want more time, you can let the LA know you have received the draft plan and ask for more time to make a more considered response. 

There will also be a consultation with the school about being named on the EHC draft plan. The school also has 15 days to respond. 


If a local authority refuses to issue an EHC plan (a legally enforceable document setting out, amongst other things, the special educational provision which a local authority must, by law, secure for the child or young person) and proposes a My Plan or a resource agreement instead, notice of a refusal to issue an EHC plan must be issued.  Click here for more information.

You have the Right to Appeal at this point. 

Week 17-20

You will get the details of the final EHC plan by Week 20 and the support the LA has arranged in the EHC plan will be put in place to help your child from that point onwards. 

Once the EHC plan has been issued, the LA must secure the special educational provision outlined in the plan. 

The NHS Clinical Commissioning Group must arrange the health provision. 

If you are unhappy with the content of the EHC plan you have TWO Months to Appeal to the SEND Tribunal. 

Important to know - If you disagree with the decision of the LA, you will be invited to go to mediation. 

Tips on reading the final EHC plan

  • Is the EHC plan clear, concise and easy to read?
  • Does the plan include your views and your child’s views?
  • Are your child’s Education, Health and Social Care Needs detailed clearly?
  • Are the Outcomes linked to Aspirations and broken down into smaller steps?
  • Is the description of the Education, Health and Social Care Provision specific, stating who, what, how often, how long and for what purpose the provision is made?
  • Is the Provision relevant and linked to Outcomes?
  • Is there  Provision for each Special Need outlined in Section B? 

Useful Links for Information and Advice about the Education Health and Care Plan Process 


Further Advice

For any further advice on applying for an EHC plan, or if you have any concerns about your child’s development, please contact your health visitor, school nurse, or contact Shine on 01733 555988 or click here to email us.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We aim to respond to all enquiries as quickly as possible!

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