Some children and young people with a learning disability need more support than their setting can provide with the resources they have.

A setting could be a school or college or other educational setting.

For example, some schools need some extra help from specialists like speech and language therapists and educational psychologists.

Some of this extra support may be provided through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and funded by the local authority. This plan used to be called a SEND statement.

Your local authority will need to assess your child to decide whether they need an EHC plan.

Education, health and care assessments

A parent, a young person over the age of 16, or a person acting on behalf of a setting (like a school, college or training facility) can request an assessment.

Anyone else could notify a local authority that an EHC assessment might be needed. The local authority will then decide whether an EHC assessment is necessary.

The local authority will gather information about your child from a variety of sources, including you and your child.

An EHC assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan. The local authority may decide that the school, college or other setting can meet your child’s needs with the resources they have, and that there is no need for an EHC plan.

Education, health and care plans

If the EHC assessment shows that your child needs an EHC plan, your local authority will start drawing one up. This will involve identifying:

  • your child’s needs
  • the outcomes that the local authority and you and your child want to work towards
  • the support required to help achieve those outcomes.

Your child has a right to receive the support that is listed in their EHC plan.

In addition, the plan will state which nursery, school or college your child will go to. This should be decided by your family and agreed to by the nursery, school or college.

If you don’t request a specific educational setting, your local authority will choose one. The assumption will be that this is a mainstream setting, rather than a special setting for children with disabilities.

The whole process, from requesting an EHC assessment to getting an EHC plan, should take no longer than 20 weeks. If you want to, you can ask for some of the support in the EHC plan to be bought as part of your child’s personal budget.

EHC plans should be reviewed at least once a year. If your child’s needs change substantially, the plan may need to be reassessed.

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The Learning Disability Helpline is our free help and advice line.

Our team can offer advice, information and discuss what support Mencap can offer tailored to your needs, in your area.

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Or you can call our the Learning Disability Helpline, a free advice and help line, on 0808 808 1111 - our friendly advisers will answer your question and improve our information here too.

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