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EDUCATION HEALTH AND CARE (EHC) PLANS FOR CHILDREN ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM

Children who have special educational needs are entitled to support. From September 2014 they have been entitled to support based upon the Children and Families Act 2014 up to the age of 25. They are also entitled to support based upon the Care Act 2014 from the age of 18.Statements of educational needs have been replaced with Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans.

Children’s and Families Act 2014 and Care Act 2014

Children who require extra support will be assessed for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC) under the Children and Families Act 2014. This plan can continue up to the age of 25.

For children who will require support beyond the age of 18, the Care Act 2014 also provides for support and requires that a local authority carry out a Child’s Needs Assessment (CNA). A CNA can be requested by the young person or the parents at any age before the young person turns 18. For those who are over 18 years of age, then the local authority has a duty to carry out an Adult Need’s Assessment which must include a personal budget.

If the local authority decides not to carry out a needs assessment, they must provide reasons in writing.

Whether a child will need a CNA or not should be discussed from Year 9.

Some people with EHC Plans might be eligible for the NHS Continuing Healthcare funding (NHS CHC). This comes into force at age 18 and the young person would need to be assessed for eligibility.

Whether your child needs to move school for extra support or will be leaving school and will require continuing support, there must be an assessment process.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice 2015 and Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans

For the process of obtaining an EHC Plan please refer to the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

There is no set template for an EHC Plan. Each local authority will have their own template. However there are 8 parts which must be included and all sections must be completed for it to be legally compliant.

The 8 sections are –

A – Views, interests and aspirations of the child

B – The child’s special educational needs (these must be specified)

C – The child’s health care needs (these must be specified)

D – The child’s social care needs (these must be specified)

Sections B, C and D must all include 1) communication and interaction 2) cognition and learning 3) social, emotional and mental health 4) sensory and/or physical

E – Outcomes – these should clearly identify which relate to education or training

F – Special educational provision required – must be specified for each need in Section B

G – Health Provision – once specified in this section, the provision must be secured by the health commissioning body

H1 – Social care provision for under 18 resulting from CSDPA (Chronically Sick and Disabled Person Act) 1970 – must specifiy all services assessed under this Act

H2 – Any other social care provision if not under CSDPA

I – Placement – this should only be included in the final plan, not the draft. The placement must meet the provisions specified

J – Personal budget

K – Advice and information – information gathered must be appended to the EHC Plan

An EHC Plan is required if the child is NOT making ‘adequate progress’ and is not matching the progress of their peers. If a child is not making ‘adequate progress’ then a request for a Statutory Assessment should be made. This request can be made through the SEND co-ordinator of the school or, if necessary, directly to the Director of Children’s Services for the local authority. The request must be made in writing and sent by recorded delivery.

There is a legal limit of 6 weeks for a local authority to consider a request and provide an answer. If a local authority refuses, it must provide reasons and notify parents of their right of appeal.

If the local authority agrees to an assessment, this must be completed within 10 weeks.

If the local authority decides not to issue an EHC Plan after the assessment, they must inform of this within 16 weeks of the request of assessment.

Once the assessment is completed, the local authority must specify within 2 weeks whether the needs can be met in the present school.

An EHC Plan should be produced within 20 weeks of the original request for a statutory assessment.

Parents have the right to appeal any part of the plan within 2 months of the EHC Plan being completed.

Occasionally, appeals have to be referred to the SEND Tribunal – SENDISTQUERIES@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

References

Care Act 2014

Children and Families Act 2014 

Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 – 25 years


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