Our education, health and care (EHC) plan pathway sets out the steps to getting an EHC plan. This is a detailed guide to special educational needs (SEN) support and EHC plans.
If you think your child needs extra help you should first talk to a professional who can help. To find out who to talk to see what you can do if you think your child has special educational needs.
Our pathway has been developed with families and a range of people from across education, health and care services and the voluntary and community sector.
The path has seven steps for a child or young person and their family. Whichever step you are at, there is support available. You can view and print a simple diagram of the process (PDF 122KB) or click on the headings below for more information:
The local offer sets out services available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from birth to age 25 and their families. The majority of children and young people with SEND will have their support needs met through the local offer without the need for an EHC plan. This might be support from your child's pre-school, school or college.
If a professional working with your child has concerns about their progress within the local offer, they may assess and review your child's needs through the common assessment framework (CAF) process. CAF is an assessment that can be used by practitioners in all agencies in Lancashire to help in the early identification of needs of children, young people and families. This is the form they will use:
During the CAF process you will have a nominated person or lead professional who will co-ordinate your plan of support and action and will be the person you can ring with any questions or queries.
The CAF assessment and plan may lead to a team around the family meeting. At these meetings you will meet with professionals working with your family to see how you can be supported. This is the form used to record information to be discussed at the TAF:
During this stage you may be asked to complete a one page profile so that you 'tell your story once'. The document is co-produced with the child/young person and their family. This means everyone involved works together in an equal partnership. This is the one page profile template:
At this step you and the professionals involved in supporting your child are reviewing their progress regularly.
This is part of the graduated response, which means early years settings, schools and colleges have to show that they have been taking meaningful steps to meet the needs of their pupils such as acting on specialist advice and reviewing progress over time.
Reviewing their progress enables you, with support if needed, to keep the one page profile document (see step 1) updated with what support you are getting.
If your child has unmet needs at this stage a plan facilitator will be identified. This will often be the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) of a school or early years setting or additional learning support co-ordinator at a local college who is fully involved in meeting your child’s needs.
They will work alongside you and the professionals involved with your child to help everyone share information and consider whether an integrated assessment is necessary. An integrated assessment is a coordinated assessment of education, health and care needs usually based on information already available.
If your child is referred, the assessment will decide whether your child needs an EHC plan. You can find out more in our criteria for carrying out assessments (PDF 1,294KB).
If you and the professionals involved in supporting your child agree that an integrated assessment of your child’s needs is the next step a formal request for an integrated assessment is sent in.
The plan facilitator (identified in step 2) will have all the information ready for the referral to be made.
A plan coordinator will be identified to manage the request. This will be the person best placed within the council to work with you and professionals at the point of assessment and beyond. Often this will be the SEND Officer (SENDO).
They will ensure that all the information that is needed is in place. They may send out for further information if they identify it is necessary. This could be:
Following the referral, the council will decide whether to proceed to a formal integrated assessment and EHC plan.
From the time the referral is received there is a 20 week timescale for the council to complete the process.
These are the forms used to request an assessment, they differ depending who submits the request:
|Early years EHC assessment request form (DOCX 182 KB)||Early years EHC assessment request guidance (PDF 194 KB)|
|Parent EHC assessment request form (DOCX 178 KB)||Parent EHC assessment request guidance (PDF 163 KB)|
|Post 16 EHC assessment request form (DOCX 187 KB)||Post 16 EHC assessment request guidance (PDF 184 KB)|
|Primary and secondary EHC assessment request form (DOCX 185 KB)||Primary and secondary EHC assessment request guidance (PDF 184 KB)|
|Young person EHC assessment request form (DOCX 179 KB)||Young person's EHC assessment request guidance (PDF 93 KB)|
Steps 4-7 are only followed if the decision is to proceed to a formal integrated assessment and EHC plan. If it is not agreed the information gathered for the assessment is sent to the early years setting/school or college to be compiled into the SEN support plan so that they are best able to meet the child or young person's needs.
A multi–agency panel, a group of people from education, health and care, will make the decision about whether or not your child is eligible for an EHC Plan.
If an EHC plan is agreed the panel will consider what support they might need; what outcomes should be worked towards and what budget should be agreed to ensure that support is put in place.
If they are not eligible for an EHC plan - they return to steps 1 and 2 of this process with a SEN support plan.
You will be notified of next steps either way.
The decision is made in line with Lancashire's criteria document (PDF 1,294KB) which contains the criteria the county council will use to decide whether or not to carry out an assessment and then at the conclusion an assessment, whether or not to issue an education health and care plan.
If you need extra support while going through an assessment an independent supporter might be able to help.
This step is when the personalised EHC Plan will be developed and agreed. It will be co-produced with your son/daughter, yourself and the professionals that are providing support. This means everyone will work together in an equal partnership.
A multi-agency meeting will be held to agree what is needed to best meet the needs of your child, and how we will ensure that the desired outcomes will be achieved.
You may wish to consider a personal budget which allows you to manage the funding to be used to meet your son or daughter's needs. It can be arranged in a number of ways and can be used to buy in specialist special educational needs (SEN) and disabled care for all or some of the provision outlined in the EHC plan.
This is the template used to produce an EHC plan:
If you need extra help at this stage you may be referred to an independent supporter.
The following video, produced by Independent Support with support from DfE, explains the important relationship between the EHC plan process and the Person Centred Connection.
Having finalised the EHC Plan and the elements (if any) you wish to take up as a personal budget, support will be available to ensure that your child is achieving the outcomes described in the plan and that you can make the best use of the funding available to you.
The EHC plan will be reviewed at least annually to maintain its relevance to your child's individual situation. In certain cases it may be reviewed more often, if this is agreed by you, your child and those providing support.
The reviews will use a person centred approach, working in a way that puts the child's /young person's views, hopes and aspirations at the centre of everything we do.
Reviews will also play a big part in planning the next steps in a young person’s life and getting the transitions into the next phases of their lives sorted and supported.
Whichever step you are at, there is support available including:
The Special Needs Jungle have worked with the Department for Education to make a series of flow charts (external link) detailing the process for SEN Support, EHC Plans and what to do if your child is refused an assessment, a plan, or if you have a complaint.