EHC assessments and plans

SEND - Education and Health Care Plans


This page is about how an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan can help some children and young people. The EHC plan replaced the Statement of Special Educational Needs, and covers children from birth up to the age of 25. Most children and young people will have their needs met without one, and will be able to access lots of support without an EHCP. Watch the video below to find out more. For many children and young people the Graduated Response will be used within schools and colleges in the first instance. However this page explains what EHC plans are and how to apply for one

We understand that talking to many different services about your child's needs can be very confusing. To help we have put together a list of acronyms on our Glossary of Terms.



  • What does 'special educational needs' mean?

    A child/young person has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) if he or she has learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most other pupils of about the same age. 

    In the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (2015) the definition of SEN says ‘A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, that is provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.’

    Many young people will have special educational needs of some kind during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most pupils overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily. Some children/young people will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.

    Special educational needs and disabilities could mean that a pupil has difficulties with:

    • Communication and interaction - in expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
    • Cognition and learning - in gaining basic skills in school such as reading and writing
    • Social, emotional or mental health difficulties - making friends or relating to adults or behaving properly in school
    • Sensory and/or physical - such as hearing or visual impairment, which might affect them in school or a medical or health condition which may slow down a child’s progress and/or involves treatment that affects his or her education.

    Children and young people make progress at different rates and have different ways they learn best. Teachers take account of this when they organise lessons and teach. Children/young people may have difficulties in one or more area, so can be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed.

    Each school has a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). If you have any concerns about your child you should contact the class teacher and the SENCO to discuss these.

  • What support is there for special educational needs and disabilities?

    Before your child starts school or in early education:

    Your child’s early years are an important time for their physical, emotional, intellectual and social development. When your health visitor or doctor makes a routine check, they may suggest there could be a problem, or you may already have worries of your own. You can talk to your doctor or health visitor who will be able to give you advice about the next steps to take and who can help.

    If your child’s needs are severe or complex, your health visitor or doctor may approach the other services on your behalf.

    If your child is at an early education setting or at school:

    If you have any concerns about your child’s progress you should first talk to your child’s class teacher. In schools (or pre-school) there is a SEN coordinator (SENCO), who is responsible for coordinating help for children with special educational needs. You will be able to talk over your concerns with the teacher and/or SENCO and find out what the school thinks. The SENCO will be able to explain what happens next.

    Working together with your child’s teachers will often help to sort out worries and problems. Schools can offer strategies and support, set extra targets and when needed involve additional professionals to help, such as educational psychologists. Should you need support in doing this you can contact Derby SENDIASS who are an impartial and arms length information, advice and support service. 

    There is more information about what support is available to schools on the Education and Childcare page.

More support services and information can be found in Derby City’s Local Offer.

Those who need help using the searches can email or telephone 01332 640758.

Assessments and Plans FAQs

  • How do we make a request for an EHC needs assessment?

    You may want to use Guidance on making a request for an EHC needs assessment 2016 ‌to help you. If you need some support in completing any of the above forms you can contact your local information, advice and support service, SENDIASS. Derby SENDIASS provide impartial help and support on all things relating to special educational needs and disabilities in education. 

    It will also be helpful to have the family views shared on the Family Views Form for EHC request and the child views shared on Child or young person's views for EHC - assessment request at the time of making a request.

    Please email your completed forms to:

    Alternatively you can post completed forms to:

    SEND Admin Team
    Derby City Council
    Council House
    Corporation Street
    Derby DE1 2FS

    We advise that where possible you please do not send original documentation in the case of any problems with the postal system. You should receive a decision of whether or not an assessment will take place within 6 weeks from when the application was submitted. 

    For any queries around progress with an application, please contact the SEND Admin Team on the email above or by telephoning:

    • 01332 642425 (Monday to Wednesday am)
    • 01332 642653 (all week) 
  • What is an Education Health Care needs assessment?

    The Children and Families Act - Part 3 has introduced Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans for children and young people with the most complex special educational needs. This will replace the statement of special educational needs assessment.

    Many children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream settings or under SEND support.

    Some children and young people may require an EHC needs assessment in order for the local authority to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC plan.

    This system covers 0 to 25 year olds with special needs or disabilities.

  • What is an Education, Health Care Plan?

    Timescales for the process are set out in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2014 timescales.

    The purpose of an EHC plan is to:

    • make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person
    • to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care
    • prepare them for adulthood as they get older.

    To achieve this, local authorities use the information from the assessment to:

    • find out  and record the views, interests and aspirations of the parents and child or young person
    • provide a full description of the child or young person’s special educational needs and any health and social care needs
    • agree outcomes across education, health and social care based on the child or young person’s needs, hopes and aspirations
    • specify the provision required and how education, health and care services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes.

    Families with an EHC plan will be able to request a personal budget to buy services they need. An EHCP must be reviewed every year to make sure that a child's or younger person's need are being met, you use this EHC Plan Transfer and Annual Review at the meeting. 

  • Who can request an EHC needs assessment?

    The following people have a right to ask for an education, health and care needs assessment of a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:

    • the child’s parent
    • a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25
    • a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible).

    Anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEND to the attention of the local authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary. This could include:

    • foster carers
    • health and social care professionals
    • early years practitioners
    • youth offending teams or probation services
    • those responsible for education in custody
    • school or college staff.

    Bringing a child or young person to the attention of the local authority will be undertaken on an individual basis where there are specific concerns. This should be done with the knowledge and, where possible, agreement of the child’s parent or the young person.

  • When should we request an EHC needs assessment?

    Requests can be made by educational settings (usually the school), they should have evidence of support and interventions already in place and will hold information on progress made to date. Parents can also make a request themselves, rather than waiting for school, as can a young person aged 16 to 25, the choice is yours. 

    School/college should apply for an EHCP if they have taken relevant action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child and the child has not made expected progress. They must have tried to meet the child's needs first. 

    You may find it useful to look at our Criteria to get an EHC plan before you make a request to help you understand the sort of children and young people that these plans can support. It might also be useful to also read the statutory timescales

  • Who can we contact for help or updates?

    Below are contact details for people providing different types of information or support you may need:

    SEND Admin Team telephone numbers:

    SEND Service Officers and Caseworkers are working with education establishments across Derby city. View the locality map and contact details.

    For impartial, arm's length help and advice about requesting a new Education, Health and Care Plan you can contact either of the below services

    Please note these services are impartial and are not part of the SEND Admin Team at the local authority.

    Derby SENDIASS telephone: 01332 641414

    IPSEA Independent Parental Special Education Advice - visit their website to book a call back. 

    Please note, an EHCP must be reviewed each year to make sure that a child's needs are being met, the EHC Plan Transfer and Annual Review report can also be used in preparation for the review. 

  • What is an Early Help Assessment?

    In April 2014 the Early Help Assessment (EHA) replaced the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).

    The Early Help Assessment is to be used for children and families who may need support from a wide range of local agencies.

    Where they would benefit from coordinated support from more than one agency there should be an Early Help Assessment.

  • What are the admissions arrangements for pupils with an EHC plan or statement? How do schools places get allocated?

    Students change school at set periods in their school career:

    • Pre-school to nursery
    • Nursery to infant
    • Infants to juniors
    • Juniors to secondary.

    If your child has a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan you will get a letter explaining that the process of requesting the next school starts in the Summer term of the year prior to transfer. For example, you will get a letter in the Summer of 2016 if your child will change school (transfer) in September 2017. You will be invited to a review of your child’s statement or EHC plan and asked to start to consider options.

    During the Winter term you will be asked for your school preference for the following September. Next we have to consult with schools, this is where we ask the school if they can meet the needs of your child, we will do this when you have told us which school you would like them to go to.

    After a school is agreed it will be named on the EHC plan and this will be sent to you.

    We have produced Which school for my child - guidance for parents of children with an EHCP or Statement to help you understand what will happen.

  • What about young people aged 16-25?

    Young people who are aged between 16 and 25 years may be entitled to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. 

    Students aged 16 to 25 with EHC plans who are continuing in education may have a range of options, including attending:

    • further education
    • training
    • a supported internship
    • an apprenticeship

    For more information on study programmes, see:

    You can call the SEND Team for post 16 on: 01332 642721.

You can also seek guidance from the Derby SEND Information Advice and Support Service at any stage.

Umbrella Independent Support Service  can offer help and support with the EHC process.

Personal Budgets

For children and young people who have an EHC plan, the local authority can be required to issue a personal budget. This is the notional amount of money needed to make any of the special educational provision for them as outlined in the EHC plan.

In some circumstances, the local authority can refuse to deliver a personal budget, they may do so when the special educational provision is being provided as part of a larger budget and they cannot separate the personal budget from that overall larger budget. The reason for turning down an application for a personal budget must be issued in writing to the person who requested it. You can ask for a personal budget by writing directly to Derby's SEND service.

Parents or young people can also request that a local authority consider making a direct payment to them in lieu of special educational provision so that they can arrange it themselves. This will be an actual payment of money instead of the local authority arranging for the provision to be delivered.

A request for the local authority to identify a personal budget or consider making a direct payment can be made at two specific times. First when a child or young person is undergoing an EHC needs assessment or secondly when the EHC plan is being reviewed.

You can read our Personal Budgets Policy to find out more local information. You can also read the Personal Budget Regulations that came into place nationally from the 1st September 2014. For any personal budget queries please contact your SEND officer, or for impartial support, SENDIASS may be able to help. 

Tell us what you think

Your feedback is important to us. Please let us know about your experience of getting an EHC plan using one of the surveys below:

• Survey for parents
Survey for children and young people

Converting Statements to Education, Health and Care Plans

All Statement of Educational Need or a Learning Difficulty were converted to EHC plans by the 31st March 2018.

Disagreement Resolution and Mediation

Wherever possible we want to enable issues and disagreements to be discussed and resolved at the earliest opportunity. This may be an informal chat with a teacher, social worker or health professional initially. Schools, colleges and services will have their own published policies and/or guidance for addressing complaints and disagreements and the arrangements described below are not intended to replace these.

There may be times where a more formal meeting and talking with those involved in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, facilitated by an independent and neutral third party is required. Such discussions would include the parents and carers but may also involve the children and young people themselves, as appropriate.

The guide When People Can’t Agree – A Guide for Young People in Education is for young people on how to resolve special education needs and disability (SEND) disagreements. The guide for young people aged 16 to 25 is useful if you want to know who to talk to if you are unhappy with the help you are getting for your special educational needs or disability at school or college.

Disagreement, Mediation and Tribunals - the facts and details

  • What is disagreement resolution?

    Disagreement resolution is the process for addressing issues about any aspect of SEN provision, including health and social care disagreements. Local authorities are legally obliged to provide SEN mediation and disagreement resolution in relation to disputes between parents and carers and young people, schools and local authorities over your special education needs or, as a parent, those of your child. The child or young person does not have to be in the process of being assessed for an Education, Health and Care Plan, in order to access the disagreement resolution process. It is intended to provide a quick and non-adversarial way to resolve disagreements.

    Two providers deliver disagreement resolution services across the East Midlands. They are Kids and The Together Trust. They both offer the same service, and there is not one service that is any better than the other, however parents/carers/young people must be offered a choice.

    Before contacting either of these services parents must first contact Global Mediation to receive impartial advice on what mediation involves. From there the family involved can make the decision if they will use mediation or continue to appeal to the tribunal. For any support along the mediation and appeals process, your local Derby SENDIASS can help you. 

  • What is mediation?

    Mediation services focus on issues and disagreements relating to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. This includes where a request has been made for an assessment for an EHC plan and that request has been turned down by the local authority. Decisions relating to the assessment process or the educational provision or needs described in an EHC plan can be appealed to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT).

    Obtaining Mediation Advice

    From the 1 September 2014, a parent or young person wishing to appeal to the FFT about the education elements of EHC assessments and plans will need to obtain a certificate to demonstrate that they have at least considered mediation before the tribunal will accept their appeal. This certificate will be issued by a mediation adviser, who can provide support and guidance to you about what can be appealed to tribunal, how mediation can be accessed and who the appointed mediators are for the East Midlands.

    You do not have to contact the mediation adviser prior to registering an appeal with the tribunal, if the appeal is solely about the name of the school/college/other institution named in the EHC plan, or the type of school/college/other institution specified in the plan, or the fact that no school or other institution is named.

    Mediation advice is also not required where the disagreement is in relation to a disability discrimination claim.

    Global Mediation was appointed to provide mediation advice across the East Midlands region. This service is free of charge to users and can be accessed by telephoning 0800 064 4488. Global Mediation is a separate organisation from the providers of mediation services in the East Midlands and is therefore able to provide neutral and independent advice on the mediation process and refer you to a mediation provider, if appropriate.

    Deciding whether to go to mediation or make an appeal to the tribunal

    Once you have received mediation advice, it is your decision whether you want to try mediation before making any appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.

    If you decide to proceed with mediation Global Mediation will refer your details onto your chosen provider so that you don’t have to give the same information all over again.

    If do not want to try mediation, then the mediation adviser will issue to you, within three working days a certificate which you will need to send to the tribunal, if you wish to register an appeal.

    The SEN Code of Practice makes it clear that people and young people will not be disadvantaged at the tribunal if they have chosen not to proceed with mediation.

    Mediation Providers

    KIDS and The Together Trust deliver independent mediation advice for us.

    At present it is not possible to appeal to the tribunal about matters which specifically relate to the health and social care elements of an EHC plan (unless that provision educates or trains a child or young person, in which case it would be treated as special educational provision). However it is still possible to go to mediation on the health and social care elements of the EHC plan.

    If you wish to proceed with mediation please do not contact KIDS or The Together Trust directly. If you do contact KIDS or The Together Trust regarding a mediation matter without obtaining mediation advice first, these providers have been advised to refer the matter back to Global Mediation.

  • What can I do if I disagree with the decision about an EHC needs assessment or plan?

    The tribunal forms part of the First-tier tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber). Tribunals are overseen by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service.

    The tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by the local authorities in England in relation to children's and young people’s EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. It also hears disability discrimination claims against schools and against local authorities when the local authority is the responsible body for a school.

    The tribunal seeks to ensure that the process of appealing is as user-friendly as possible, and to avoid hearings that are overly legalistic or technical. It is the tribunal’s aim to ensure that a parent or young person should not need to engage legal representation when appealing a decision. Parents and young people may find it helpful to have support from a voluntary organisation or friend at a hearing.

    You can find out more on the Ministry of Justice website which gives guidance on what happens at a hearing.

  • What can I appeal to the tribunal about?

    Parents and young people can appeal to the tribunal about:

    • a decision by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
    • a decision by a local authority that it is not necessary to issue an EHC plan following an assessment
    • the description of a child or young person’s SEN specified in an EHC plan, the special educational provision specified, the school or other institution or type of school or other institution (such as a mainstream school/college) specified in the plan or that no school or other institution is specified
    • an amendment to these elements of the EHC plan
    • a decision by a local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
    • a decision by a local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan

    The tribunal does not hear appeals about personal budgets, but will hear appeals about the special educational provision to which a personal budget may apply.

    Before registering an SEN appeal with the tribunal the young person or the child’s parent must consider mediation unless an exemption applies. Parents and young people must contact a mediation adviser before registering an appeal about EHC needs assessments or the SEN element of an EHC plan. 

  • How do I register an appeal with the Tribunal service?

    Parents and young people have two months to register an SEN appeal with the tribunal, from the date of the local authority sent the notice containing a decision which can be appealed or one month from the date of a certificate which has been issued following mediation or the parent or young person being given mediation information, whichever is the later.

    Parents and young people will not be disadvantaged at the tribunal because they have chosen not to go to mediation. Remember that for support at a tribunal or mediation, Derby SENDIASS offer a free service that is completely impartial.

    Contact the tribunal service

    HM Courts and Tribunal Service
    Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
    1st Floor
    Darlington Magistrates' Court
    Darlington DL1 1ZD


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Useful forms


Contact details

Post address:
SEND Service 0-25
Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 642425
Minicom: 01332 640666