How do you obtain an Education Health and Care Plan?
To secure an EHCP for your child or young person a request first must be made for an Education, Health and Care Needs assessment to the Local Authority/Borough. This request can either by made by your child’s school, by you as parents or by the young person. Don’t be put off if your child’s school refuses to make the request or says that your child does not meet the criteria. Our experience is that many schools are not fully aware of the legal test and therefore sometimes parents are told that their child will not qualify for the assessment when there is overwhelming evidence as to the extent of their needs and the need for an assessment.
A request can be made by sending a letter setting out why you are seeking the assessment and it is usually best to send some supporting evidence with the request, if experts are involved make sure your exerts say clearly in their report that they support the request, why they support and where relevant what should be included in an EHCP. Some LA’s/Borough’s will offer a link via their website to submit the request. It is best to take some time to put together the request to maximise the chances of the request being successful. Sometimes there is merit in delaying the request by a few weeks to obtain some additional supporting evidence.
The LA will have 6 weeks to consider the request and the Code of Practice sets out that ‘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 EHC plan.’ This is the legal test that the LA must apply when making its decision.
If the LA agree to the request, they will then start the assessment which can take up to 8 weeks. If they refuse, they will write to you to let you know that you have a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SEND).
If you require any advice in relation to a request for an EHC needs assessment or seek any advice in relation to your child’s education please contact us.