Assessment and Education, Health and Care Planning

EHC plans

What is an education, health and care plan?

An education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people (aged 0 to 25) with more complex educational needs who require additional support over and above what is available in a mainstream, nursery, school or college.

The plan is a legal document that describes the child or young person’s special educational, health and social care needs and the extra support that will be given to help them. We may agree to do an assessment for an EHC plan when a child or young person is not making the necessary progress through the resources available at their education setting.

The severity or complexity of their needs, together with a wide range of other evidence from parents and professionals, is considered. If your child is already receiving health and social care support, but does not have any special educational needs, an EHC plan will not be necessary.

Brent’s Special Educational Needs Assessment Service (SENAS) is responsible for drafting the EHC plan after a needs assessment has been carried out and it has been decided to issue one. The plan should be written in a way that everyone understands and be clear and detailed about the amount and type of support your child will receive and how it will help them.

Parents, children and young people must be involved in the assessment and planning stages, as well as the annual review.

View a template of an EHC Plan.

Supporting children without an EHC plan

If you have been told that your child is not eligible to receive an EHC plan, this does not mean that they don’t have SEND, rather that their needs are not of the type and severity that would require the intervention of an EHC plan.

SEN Support is available in schools for children who have special educational needs but do not require an EHC plan. Your child’s school/college should keep you informed about any extra support they are receiving and this should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are making the right level of progress and to adjust the level of support provided if necessary.

The SEND Code of Practice states that schools and colleges must publish a SEND Information Report (SEND Information Report) about how they use their funding to meet the educational needs of all children and young people with additional needs, including those without an EHC plan. You can request this report directly from them or view it on their website.

The assessment process

The assessment process

In most cases, a relevant professional will refer children and young people for an EHC assessment. This could be their nursery, school, college, doctor, health visitor or an educational psychologist. Parents can also request an assessment from Brent’s Special Educational Needs Assessment Service (SENAS) if they feel their child is not making sufficient progress. Young people over the age of 16 can also self refer.

The whole process should be completed within 20 weeks and is set out below. You can also read our timeline of an EHC assessment. 

Week 0-6

  • Referral
  • Evidence gathering
  • Progress to needs assessment or notification not to proceed issued (feedback provided with right to appeal)

By end of week 6

  • Professional advice requested and considered
  • Decision to issue an EHC plan or notification not to proceed issued (feedback provided with right to appeal)

By end of week 16

  • Draft EHC plan consultation (chance to consider views on the draft plan and request a particular school or other institution to be named in the plan)
  • Issue final EHC plan (with right to appeal

Week 20

If a draft EHC plan is issued you will have 15 calendar days to consider and provide views on your child’s draft EHC plan and ask for a particular school or other institution to be named in their final EHC plan.

Exceptions that can prolong the process beyond the 20-week timescale

  • The child or young person missing appointments with a professional who the authority has requested advice from
  • The child or young person is absent from the area for a period of at least four weeks
  • Exceptional personal circumstances affect the child or his/her parent, or the young person
  • The educational institution is closed for at least four weeks, which may delay the submission of information

Brent SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) offer help and advice to families who are going through the EHC process, including: 

  • Explaining how the statutory assessment process works and guiding you through the process
  • Ensuring your views, needs and wishes are included in the assessment
  • Attending meetings with you for support
  • Ensuring you fully understand everything and can fully participate in the EHC assessment process
  • Supporting you in drafting letters and any other supporting paperwork
  • Signposting or referring you to other support or specialist services if required 
  • Ensuring you know how to access Brent’s Local Offer

Annual review

Annual review

We must review your child’s EHC plan every 12 months as a minimum. You should get at least two weeks’ notice of the meeting and you can take someone along with you. Your child should also be actively involved in the review process in a way that suits them. The meeting is usually held at your child’s nursery, school or college.

The other people who should be invited are the nursery/school/college, the council’s casework officer, a representative from both health and social care and any other people involved in working with your child. Not everyone will attend every meeting but they should all (including you as a parent) be asked for their advice and information and these reports should be sent to you two weeks before the meeting.

It’s important that you have the chance to read everything beforehand so that you can think about what you would like to happen at the meeting. 

In most cases your child’s school will arrange the annual review meeting and report to the council afterwards. The meeting must focus on your child’s progress towards meeting the agreed outcomes in their EHC plan. Are any changes needed in the support they get to help them achieve those outcomes? Do the outcomes themselves need updating.

Within two weeks of the meeting the school must send a report to us and you should get a copy. Check it over to make sure it matches what was said or agreed at the meeting. Within four weeks, we must decide on one of three things:

  • To continue with the existing EHC plan
  • To amend or change the EHC plan
  • To withdraw or ‘cease to maintain’ the EHC plan

If we decide to change or withdraw the EHC plan, there is a process that allows for you to comment and appeal the decision if you don’t agree. It is important to realise that an EHC plan can only be changed through the annual review process.

Help and support

Help and support

If you feel your child’s educational needs are not being met adequately, you should speak to your child’s teacher in the first instance. If you remain concerned, ask to have a meeting with the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). If your child attends college you should speak to a tutor to discuss your concerns. 

If a resolution is not reached, you should follow the nursery/school/college’s complaints procedure. If you are still not happy after these discussions you can get independent and impartial help and advice from Brent SEND, Information, Advice and Support Service.

In cases when it isn't possible to reach agreement without a third party, we provide a free mediation service called KIDS. You can also appeal to the SEND Tribunal if you’re unhappy with a decision made in relation to an EHC needs assessment or an EHC plan.


Personal budgets

A personal budget is an amount of money we identify to deliver all or some of the provision set out in an education, health and care (EHC) plan. It is not available to purchase a school place.

You can request a personal budget once we have said an EHC plan is necessary, or when we are carrying out a statutory review of an existing plan. We have to consider your request and offer information to help you to decide the best course of action.

The personal budget will reflect the whole of the EHC plan and will be based on clear, agreed outcomes. The decision making process to establish and agree a budget should be transparent and challengeable.

There are three ways you can use the budget:

  • direct payments - you receive the money in your account to purchase services yourself
  • notional arrangements - we retain the budget but you decide how it's spent
  • third party arrangements - you choose an individual or organisation to mange the funds on your behalf.

For more information about personal budgets view: