Education, Health and Care Plan


An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is for children and young people 0 - 25 who need more help than is normally available through special educational needs support (SEN Support) in an education or training setting.   


Find out about requesting an EHCP, the assessment process and resolving disagreements.


Nurseries, schools and colleges should identify and support children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).  

Children and young people in mainstream settings may be supported from within the school or other setting’s own resources. This means they receive special educational provision (additional help or support) but they do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This additional support is called SEN Support.  

If your child is receiving SEN Support, the school should draw up an SEN support plan, involving you and your child, focusing on the outcomes your child needs and wants to achieve and detailing how the school will help them to achieve these.   

The SEND Code of Practice says that schools should use a 'graduated approach', or four-part cycle (Assess, Plan, Do and, Review) to support a child with SEND. This means that the school's SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and teaching staff should:  

  • Analyse your child's difficulties.  

  • Identify the extra support your child needs. The school can ask specialist support services, for example, educational psychology (EP),  or speech and language therapy  (SALT) to carry out assessments and provide support if necessary.   

  • Put the support in place.

  • Regularly check how well it is working so that they can change the amount or kind of support if they need to.  

Where, despite the educational setting having taken action to identify and meet the child or young person's needs, expected progress is still not being made, the educational setting should consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. If the educational setting can show that the child or young person has or may have SEN, and that they may need support through an EHCP (because the school cannot provide the support they need), the local authority (LA) must agree to carry out an EHC needs assessment. (The parents/carers or young person are also entitled to make such a request.)   

An EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) is a legally binding document that identifies educational, health and social care needs and sets out the additional support to be provided in order to meet those needs.  

An EHCP can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an EHC needs assessment.  

It’s prepared in partnership with parents/carers and young people, professionals working across education, health and social care specialist services.    

The special educational provision described in an EHCP must be provided by the child or young person’s local authority (LA). The EHCP also provides families with a wider choice of options about which school or other setting the child or young person can attend. The EHCP is reviewed annually.    

EHCPs are focused on:  

  • Achieving outcomes  

  • Helping children and young people into school and through school  

  • Preparing young people for adulthood

A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHCP.   

You can ask Southwark Council to carry out an assessment if you think your child needs an EHCP.  

A young person can request an assessment themselves if they’re aged 16 to 25.   

A request can also be made by anyone else who thinks an assessment may be necessary, including doctors, health visitors, social workers and schools.  


The Local Authority will tell you in writing within 6 weeks of making the request if the evidence suggests that an EHC assessment is necessary. 


Find out more information on how to apply for an EHC Needs Assessment. 


When conducting an EHC needs assessment, the LA must seek advice from a range of people across education, health and social care. This may include the educational setting, Educational Psychologist, CAMHS and/or Social Worker. This may mean an appointment is arranged for your child/young person to be seen by a professional who will conduct an assessment and write a report for the Local Authority outlining your child's/young persons needs and providing recommendations for support.   

The  Local Authority must decide whether it is necessary to issue an EHCP for the child or young person based on the evidence it has gathered as part of the EHC needs assessment.   

You can get help with this from the SIAS team by dropping in to see us, emailing or calling 0207 525 3104.  


Find out more about what to include in your request for an EHC needs assessment and where to send your request

The  Local Authority must decide whether it is necessary to issue an EHCP for the child or young person based on the evidence it has gathered as part of the EHC needs assessment.   

If the Local Authority decides not to issue an EHCP, it must tell the parent or young person within 16 weeks of the date the request for an assessment was made. The parent or young person can appeal this decision to the SEND Tribunal

If the LA decides to issue an EHCP,  it will first send out a 'working document' (which is an initial draft of the EHCP) for the parent or young person to review and comment on.  You will then be invited to a meeting to discuss the working document – this is called a Co-Production Meeting. You will have the opportunity to discuss different types of schools; the support you feel is necessary and personal budgets at this meeting. Following this you will receive a 'draft EHCP' for you to review.  You will be sent a form with this (called an Agree/Disagree form) which you can use to make further comments or amendment requests and also state the name of your preferred school or other setting.  

The LA is legally required to issue the final EHCP to the parent or young person within 20 weeks from the date the assessment was requested. 

You can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) if you are unhappy with a decision made in relation to an EHC needs assessment or an EHCP. There are no fees for parents or young people to pay. The SENDIST  has the power to order LAs to carry out EHC needs assessments, issue EHC plans, and amend existing EHCPs. LAs must comply with orders made by the SEND Tribunal. 

You have 2 months to submit your appeal from the date on your decision letter from the council. Find out more on how to appeal.  

When a setting wishes to request an EHC needs assessment it can do so by completing an EHCP Settings Request form (doc, 105kb).  A completed Ready Reckoner (xls, 606kb) will also need to be submitted with your request. 


You can find details of the EHC needs assessment criteria here (pdf, 298kb)


The Panel terms of Reference (docx, 38kb) explains how the SEND panel operates and how it is involved in the decision-making process.