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My child's education

Education Health and Care Plans

Most children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) have their needs met in a mainstream school with SEN Support. Where a child has complex or severe needs they may benefit from an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This outlines a child or young person’s education, health and social care needs and the support that must be provided in a single, legal document. A child must have Special Educational Needs to be eligible for an EHCP.

A child or young person has SEN if they have

  • a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.
  • a disability which prevents them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.

If a child’s school is unable to meet their needs, or they require a more intensive level of specialist support that cannot be met from the resources in the school, the child’s parents, school or anyone working with the child can approach the local authority for an EHC Needs Assessment. If the local authority agrees to conduct an assessment, they will approach various people for advice, for example, parents, school and health care professionals.

During this process the local authority must consider the views and wishes of the child or young person and their parents, and provide the information and support necessary to enable them to participate fully in decisions. The local authority must notify the parent or young person of the decision to issue a plan or not within a maximum of 16 weeks from the request for assessment.

If they decide not to issue a plan, the parent or young person can appeal to the SEND Tribunal. Each local authority must publish information on when and how parents can challenge their decisions.

More information

Read the guide for parents and carers on the:
Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years

IPSEA: Independent Parental Special Education Advice

IPSEA offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. To book an advice line appointment visit

Advisory Centre for Education (ACE)

Tel: 0208 888 3377

Council for disabled children



SOS SEN offer a free, confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).
National Helpline: 0208 538 3731

SEND Tribunal Service

Advice on Tribunal system and appeals
Tel: 01325 289350