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Education, Health and Care plans

The process of support for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities

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Part of
Education, Health and Care plans

The process of support for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities


Most children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities will have their needs met in local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges through SEN support offered as part of the school’s own provision. Somerset’s Gradual Response Tool provides information on how education settings can provide this support.

You can find out more on our What to expect from education page and there is more information about children and young people in Somerset with SEND in this document.

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Multi-agency guidance for all who work with children and young people with and their families for graduated early help, targeted and specialist support

PDF, 2.2MB

Where provision cannot reasonably be provided through services that are normally available, it may be necessary to request an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) needs assessment, to find out whether an EHC plan is required.

Ideally, families and education settings will have made this decision in collaboration and if the education setting is making the request, parental consent must always be gained.  If a request is made in a college setting and the young person is in year 12, consent must be gained from the young person, not the parent.

A strong request for assessment will include evidence of a completed full graduated response and will include multiple pieces of evidence detailing how previous support that was put in place has not been effective for the child/young person over a period of time, for example, numerous Assessment, Plan, Do, Review (APDR) cycles. See the Effective Support document above for more guidance on the graduated response. A checklist is available for supporting settings to make a quality request for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA). It has been developed by a working group including SENCos, advisory services and Somerset Parent Carer Forum.

The presence of a registered diagnosis or any other health or social care need will not necessarily mean that an EHC plan is required. A request for an EHC needs assessment is appropriate when it can be shown that those needs impact a child or young person’s ability to access education in a way that cannot be supported through the setting’s own SEN support. An EHC needs assessment is the start of the process to see when an EHC plan is required.

The best time of year to request an education, health and care needs assessment

To help schools, parent carers, and young people over the age of 16 consider the time of year they submit a request for an Educational Health Care needs assessment this new guidance has been developed, to support those applying and to make sure it is available in one place. While a request can be made at any time, the time of year you make a request can impact the quality and effectiveness of the assessment process.


Last reviewed: May 23, 2023 by William

Next review due: November 23, 2023

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