The Golden Thread

What is an EHCP?

An Educational, Health and Care plan or commonly known as an ‘EHCP’/ ‘EHC Plan’, is a legally binding document that identifies the educational, health and social care needs of a child/young person and all of the support that is necessary to meet those needs.The EHCP document must contain all of the special educational needs of a child (What the person can and cannot do). What provision is needed to meet those needs (Support, services and adaptions that will be provided to meet their needs) and the school/educational setting that must provide those provisions (The school/setting your child will attend).

Who can have an ECHP?

Education, Health and Care Plans are for children (0-16 years), young people (16-19 years) or adults (19-25 years) that have special educational needs and need more SEN support than what their educational setting is able to provide alone.

Schools in England have a duty to provide support to children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities. Schools have £6000 SEN (Special educational needs) funding, this is national funding, that allows the school to have this within their existing budgets for the purpose of supporting children with special educational.

However, in some cases a child or young person may require more SEN support or more staffing levels than what can be provided out of the schools £6000 SEN funding. In this case, the child may need an EHCP.

What are the Benefits of my child having an EHCP?

There are a lot of benefits for your child if they have an EHCP some of these are listed below:

  • It is legally binding, therefore, all education, health and social care professionals working with the child have a legal duty to follow the provision in the plan and parents can complain to the school/professional if they fail to do this. It is the LA’s legal duty to ensure the provision in an EHCP is delivered and parents have the right to bring this to the attention of the LA when this is not happening
  • It allows parents the chance to have their say in the support their child will receive
  • It’s an accessible document where all of the aspirations, needs, support and outcomes of the child are in one single place for anyone working with the child to pick up and read.
  • The child’s educational setting will receive funding from the LA to support the child with the needs described in the plan


Find out more about EHCP’s Below!

Some frequently asked questions

My child will be going to a special needs school, does this mean the EHCP can be less specified?

No! An EHCP should not be written based on the school the child is attending, but the child’s needs and aspirations. In addition, B-M and B-M v Oxfordshire CC (SEN) (2018) Clarified this matter, confirming even when placing children in any type of specialist setting or specialist base, ‘specificity’ cannot be ‘abandoned’

The LA have asked me to fill in a 'general preference form' to name other schools, in case my preference is not available, do I have to fill it in?

‘These forms apply to children and young people without EHCP’s. Parents who have children with EHCP’s are not required to complete general preference forms. It is not lawful for L.A.’s to impose this requirement on these parents or young people’- Ipsea. Nor do you have to name another school!

The school that I asked to be named in the EHCP is full, now what?

Being ‘full’ is not a legal reason to decline a place, the LA can only legally not name your preferred school for the following reasons:

  • The setting is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs (“SEN”) of the child or young person; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others; or would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources.
Can a parent Apply for an EHCP for their child?

Absolutely! Parents have an equal right to apply For an EHCP just as school do! Ipsea even have a model letter here to make an EHCP request!

My child's EHCP is not specified and quantified and neither are the professional reports! What can I do?

Para 9.51 of the Send CoP- ‘Evidence and advice submitted by those providing it should be clear accessible and specific’ it is unlawful for professionals to use woolly wording and not specify and in most cases, quantify provision.

If there is a failure to do this, you can either; write to the professionals yourself and ask them to specify the reports; and/or write to the director of children’s services to complain using this model letter provided by ipsea:

If the Reports are still not specified, you can appeal to tribunal and ask them to direct the LA to make these specified and quantified.

How often should an Annual review take place?

Para 9.166 and 9.170 of Send CoP – must be reviewed by the LA as a minimum every 12 months and should consider reviewing an EH plan for a child under five at least every three to six months’ Should in the case of the CoP is defined as ‘must’ be considered and that those who must have regard to it will be expected to explain any departure from it. In addition, you are able to request an early annual review at any time, although the LA do not have to agree to one.

My child's school are not following the EHCP, what can I do?

It is the LA’s duty to ensure the provision in an EHCP is delivered and they cannot put this duty on anyone else, including school (Section 42 of CAF act 2014). However, it would be best to speak to the school first. If this does not change things, you can contact
the LA using this ipsea model letter!

If there is no response in two weeks, you can complain to
the Ombudsman, if the matter, however, if it is urgent you could consider Judicial Review.

My child's needs have changed, what can I do?

If your child’s needs have changed you could wait until the next annual review. If it is urgent, you can ask for an early review, however, the LA can refuse this request and there is no right to appeal. If the request ifs refused and your child’s needs have
changed significantly, you could ask for a re-assessment of needs, if the LA refuse, you have a right to appeal to tribunal!

About LA 'Banding'

Banding is what some LA’s use to decide top up funding, LA’s can
refer to’ bands’ but not instead of specifying and quantification of
provision (SEN and disability code of practice 2015 they must also secure and fund all of the provision in the EHCP, regardless of funding. If banding is used, they cannot base provision on this!

Who do I send my parental EHCP request to?

Who you send the EHCP request to depends on the area you live! Please see below the information for each area.

Allerdale and Copeland

Address: West Cumbria House, Jubilee Road, Workington, CA14 4HB
Tel: 01946 506211

Barrow and South Lakes

Address Barrow: 4th Floor, Craven House, Michaelson Road, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 1FD
Address Kendal: County Offices, Busher Walk, Kendal, LA9 4RQ
Tel: 01229 407403

Carlisle and Eden

Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle, CA1 1RD
Tel: 01228 226843

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Use the form below to send us a message. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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SENDAC c/o Cumbria Family Support The Office, Mardale Road Penrith Cumbria CA11 9EH

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