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Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and Personal Budgets

Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans

Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are legal documents which set out your child’s special educational needs (SEN), what support they will receive and where they will be educated.

Only around 20% of deaf children and young people have EHC plans. The majority of deaf children with SEN will get all the extra help they need through SEN support and won’t need an EHC plan.

If your child is getting SEN support but isn’t making as much progress as they should, or you don’t think the school can provide the support they need, you can ask for an EHC plan.

How do I get my child an EHC Plan?

To get an EHC plan, your child will need a statutory needs assessment to find out what their educational needs are. A Parent's Guide to Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans gives more information on how to request an EHC needs assessment.

You can also show your child our resource for deaf young people: Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans: Info for deaf young people.

Preparing for an EHC needs assessment

If your LA has either agreed to carry out an EHC needs assessment read Contributing to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and the production of an EHC plan. This resource will help you to prepare for the assessment process, so that you’re able to share your views, and make sure that any EHC plan meets your child’s needs. It includes some examples of the sort of provision you might expect to see in a plan.

Personal Budgets

A SEN Personal Budget is an amount of money that the LA has identified as being needed to deliver the support outlined in an EHC plan.

Parents (and young people over 16) can request that an LA give some or all of the Personal Budget to them in the form of a direct payment so that they can arrange support themselves. A direct payment means the parent or young person can arrange support how they think best, as long as the money is spent on support identified in the EHC plan.

LAs should give details of SEN support that could be delivered through a SEN Personal Budget in their Local Offer.

Examples of things a SEN Personal Budget could be used for include:

  • specialist equipment such as fire alerting systems or radio aids
  • speech and language therapy
  • communication support such as sign language interpreters or speech-to-text reporters
  • British Sign Language (BSL) or Cued Speech tuition
  • short breaks.

Find out more in Personal Budgets and Special Educational Needs.

Annual reviews of EHC plans

You’ll be invited by your child's school to attend a review meeting every 12 months, to make sure that the EHC plan is still providing the right support for your child's learning. For example, before starting the year or a course in which your child will be examined, exam access arrangements should be discussed.

In Year 9 the review meeting is used to plan what will happen when your child leaves school at age 16. This is called a 'transition' plan. Your child might find it useful to read Transition meetings and how to prepare for them.

If your child has an EHC plan you can find more information in Annual Reviews of Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans.

Appealing a decision about an EHC plan

If your complaint is about the content of an EHC plan, or if the LA has refused to carry out a statutory assessment of your child’s special educational needs (SEN), you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

You don’t need to make a formal complaint before you appeal to the Tribunal, but strict time limits apply. An appeal usually has to be made within two months of the date of the LA’s decision which you are disputing.

Before you can appeal to the Tribunal, you must contact the mediation service the LA gave details of in their decision letter. You don’t have to go ahead with the mediation, but you do need to contact the service even if it’s just to say you don’t want mediation.

You can find more information about mediation and how to appeal to the Tribunal in our factsheet How to appeal to the Tribunal against a decision about your child’s special educational needs.

EHCPs and the NHS 

NHS services are expected to:

  • contribute to EHC needs assessments within the timeframes, including
    providing advice and reports, and
  • deliver the health provision agreed in the EHCP.

The regulations which support the Children and Families Act 2014 place a duty on local authorities when carrying out an EHCP assessment to obtain ‘medical advice and information from a health care professional identified by the responsible commissioning body’. There is then a legal responsibility placed on the NHS to respond to requests for advice and information as part of EHCP assessments within six weeks of the date on which they receive the request.

Deaf children will enter an EHCP assessment process already known to health
services. In this case, there may not be any need for a further assessment to be made, and the health advice can be provided based on the existing evidence about the child. This evidence must be able to support the relevant health professional to give advice as to the child’s needs, the provision required to meet those needs and the desired outcomes.

Where it seems that a new assessment is needed, because of an apparent change in the nature of a child or young person’s needs, or because they have not had any assessment, then arrangements should allow for a referral to be made to the appropriate service. It is essential that any new assessment is completed in time for the required advice to be provided within the statutory timeframe of six weeks.

More information

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have produced this helpful leaflet for further information about the legal requirements; Requirements to provide Health Advice within six weeks (2018)

NDCS & NatSIP have produced advice for audiology professionals on writing reports for EHCP assessments (2015).