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 plan – sometimes called an EHCP or EHC plan - and funded by the local authority .

Learn about EHC plans

Watch Ryan Westwell, public law and human rights lawyer at Irwin Mitchell explain more about what an Education, Health and Care Plan is, who can get one, and how.


Video Easy Read

An EHC plan sets out what help a child or young person needs while they're at school. This is known as a special educational need. An EHC plan also outlines any special educational provision that child might receive. Your local authority will need to assess your child to decide whether they need an EHC plan.

Education, health and care assessments

If a child or young person has a learning disability which is holding them back at school or college, and their parents (or the young person themselves) believe that the school or college cannot give them the help and support they need, a request should be made to the local authority for an EHC needs assessment .

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.

If a local authority is requested to carry out an EHC needs assessment by a parent, young person, school or college, they must consider:

  • whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs (SEN); and
  • whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan.

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, they must carry out an EHC needs assessment under the Children and Families Act 2014 (section 36(8)).

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. They will look at any:

  • evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
  • information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s special educational needs
  • evidence of the action already taken by the school or other setting
  • evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
  • evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies.

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.


Frequently Asked Questions:


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 looking at:

  • 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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