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Education, Health and Care Plans

If a child/young person (aged 0-25) with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) requires more help than a mainstream school, college or nursery can offer they may need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

In the case of those with more severe and complex needs, an EHCP sets out a child/young persons special educational, health and social care needs and what is required from education, health and social care services to achieve the outcomes that are important to them.  It is a legal document detailing the extra help that will be given and explaining how that help will support them to meet their needs.

Do I need an EHCP?

Education, Health and Care Plans are for children and young people (0-25) whose special educational needs require more help than would normally be provided in a mainstream setting. 

Please note:  Although the plan can include health and/or social care needs, if your child only has health or social care needs that do not affect their education, they will not receive an EHCP.  They may still be eligible for health and/or social care needs through social care assessment.

How do I request an EHC assessment?

You, your child's school, or your child (if over 16 but under 25) can refer for an EHC plan needs assessment.

Prior to any referral we do advise that you seek further advice from:

  • your child’s educational setting, if they have one
  • the Dudley SEN Team – who manage the statutory assessment process.  Telephone:01384 814360.  Email:
  • SENDIASS: (formerly Dudley Parent Partnership) offer impartial advice and support to children/young people and their families on matters relating to special educational needs.  Telephone: 01384 817373

You should arrange for a discussion with any or all of the above to establish the reasons why an EHCP may or may not be appropriate.

Please note: Anyone else can bring a child or young person who has/may have SEN to our attention, particularly where you think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary. This should be done with the knowledge and where possible, the agreement of the child's parent or the young person themselves. For more information please refer to the SEND Code of Practice.

How long does it take?

Once a request is received from either you or the educational setting, a 20 week 'clock' begins. 

Week 6 - you will know if an assessment will be carried out.

Week 10 - you will know if we have agreed to issue an EHCP based on a completed assessment. 

Week 14 - if an EHCP has been agreed, you should have received a draft EHCP for consideration and will have the opportunity to state your preference for a setting, college or training provider. We will then consult those settings.

Week 20 - the final plan should be issued to you.

How long does an EHC plan last?

An EHCP will remain in place until your child leaves education (up to age 25). Following this they may be eligible for other care / support through Adult Social Care services.

What happens during the assessment process?

To get an EHCP you will need to have an EHC needs assessment which involves a process of gathering information from the relevant people or agencies, including the views, interests and aspirations of you and your child/young person.

What do we consider for an EHC needs assessment to be carried out?

Once a request is received our SEN team write to the referrer for further information.

We will seek a wide range of evidence to include: 

  • Academic attainment and rate of progress/development
  • Information about the nature, extent and context of the student’s SEN
  • Evidence that where progress is made it has only been as a result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
  • Evidence drawn from relevant clinicians and other health professionals

We will also consider whether a young person aged over 18 will require extra time to complete their education or training.

This is in line with relevant legislation: Section 36 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and Regulations 3, 4, and 5 of the SEND Regulations 2014


  • If an assessment is agreed we will write to all involved professionals to gather information on reports and assessments carried out over the past six months (12 months if agreed relevant).
  • We will also ask if you have any additional information to add.
  • With your permission you will be contacted by an Educational Psychologist (EP) who will complete a report for the assessment.  This may not be required if your child is already with an EP.
  • Evidence is then taken to the SEN panel for consideration.
  • The panel will consider all of the information to make a decision about whether or not there is enough evidence to show that an EHC Plan is necessary and will let you know in writing. 

The EHC plan

  • If an EHC plan is to be drawn up then a planning meeting will take place, wherever possible, involving all relevant professionals, parents/carers and the child/young person.
  • You will be issued with a draft plan, you have 15 days to consider this; if we don't hear from you we will assume you are happy with the content. If you would like us to consider any amendments, or have any questions we can arrange a meeting to discuss.

Choosing a setting (Nursery/Setting/College)

You can now say which school, college or other educational setting you would like your child to go to.  We will provide you with information for you to find out about schools and colleges and following your recommendations we will consult with your preferred setting(s)/college(s), who will also have 15 days to respond.

If they do not respond within the timescales then we may name them in the final EHCP if they are maintained by Dudley Council or if they are: 

  • an Academy (mainstream or special)
  • free School (mainstream or special)
  • non-maintained special school
  • FE or 6th Form College
  • independent school or independent specialist college (where they have been approved by the Secretary of State and published in a list available to all parents and young people).

Any of the settings listed above must comply with your request unless:

  • it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child, or
  • the attendance of the child would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources

If the setting is not in the Dudley Local Authority and is maintained by another local authority we will have to consult with that authority for a place in their setting/college.

Personal budgets

During the EHC assessment process or when an EHC plan is reviewed, parents or the young person can request a Personal Budget to support some of the outcomes in an EHC plan. 

Personal budgets are most commonly provided for social care support, for example when a child requires a personal assistant or short break: social care assessments are necessary for a personal budget to be agreed.

Find out more about Personal Budgets.

What happens next?

If you are happy with the EHCP and your preferred setting/college/training provider is able to offer your child a place (it may be your child’s current setting), then we will finalise the EHCP, naming the preferred setting by Week 20.

If you have not told us which setting you would like for your child, we will consult with your child’s current setting and another suitable setting nearest to your home address, where necessary.

Annual review

EHCPs are reviewed every 12 months, usually at the educational setting, and are undertaken in partnership with the child/young person and their parent (the young person's choice). 

The review focuses on the child/young person's progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC Plan, and if these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.  The review must take account of the views, wishes and feelings of the child/young person.

What happens if I disagree with a decision?

We will try to resolve any concerns with you in a co-operative, friendly manner, as and when they arise in the process.

The Code of Practice states that parents and a young person (over the age of 16 and below 25) can formally challenge the following decisions that are made by us:

  • the decision not to carry out an EHC assessment
  • the decision not to issue an EHC plan
  • the description of the SEN and provision within an EHC plan
  • the name or type of setting or other educational institution

Where possible we will seek to resolve any disagreements as quickly as possible and at a local level. You do have the right to appeal at any time in the process and we can advise you how to do this.

Workshops and Events

We organise a range of events to help parents, carers and young people develop their knowledge and understanding of special educational needs and disability issues.

If you are a parent/carer of a child with SEND or a young person with SEND and are concerned about the support that is in place to help your child in school/college? Our Workshop on accessing the right support including information on EHCP's may be for you. 

Additional documents