A Guide to Education, Health, and Care Plans

Most children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities will have their needs met in a mainstream school or setting. Some children may need extra support while at school. Schools and settings can use SEND Support Provision Plans (SSPP’s) to clearly demonstrate the extra support they will give to a child or young person, including any multi-agency involvement.

A small minority of children may have more complex needs and can request an educational, health, and care assessment. This assessment is done to decide whether an education, health, and care plan is necessary to support the child or young person’s needs.

In this blog, you will learn all about EHCP’s, the assessment process for obtaining one, how they are reviewed, and the team responsible for reviewing them. 

What is an Education, Health, and Care Plan?

An Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) is a document that outlines the extra support provided to children and young people with complex additional needs. An EHCP may include details on outside agency involvement, such as educational psychologists, or send support provided by the local authority. EHCP’s might also show that the child or young person needs access to specialist provision, such as a resource base or a special school.

EHCP’s can provide support up to the age of 25, though not all children and young people will need support for this length of time. Every year, an annual review takes place to assess the appropriateness of a child or young person’s EHCP.

Education, Health, and Care Assessments and How to Apply

In order to get an EHCP, parents, carers, or young people over the age of 16 must contact Birmingham City Council and apply for an education, health, and care needs assessment (EHCNA). This can be done by filling out 3 forms and sending them to the local authority. Birmingham City Council will then decide whether to move forward with an education, health, and care needs assessment, potentially issuing the child or young person with an EHCP at the end of the assessment process.

A roadmap graphic used to detail the process for and EHCP application

Upon receiving an ECHNA request, Birmingham Council will decide whether to undertake an assessment. The assessment process starts around 6 weeks after the request and will go on for another 6 weeks. By the 16th week of the process, the council will have decided whether an EHCP is appropriate for the child or young person’s needs, issuing an EHCP by week 20 if it is deemed necessary.

If an EHCP is not appropriate, information, advice and guidance will be given to parents and carers by the ECHNA coordinator.

Education placements with an EHCP

If the local authority finds that an EHCP is appropriate  for supporting a child or young person’s needs, they will issue a draft EHCP for parents, carers, children, and young people to make comments and request changes. They can request a particular setting to be named in the EHCP. The types of valid settings are:

  • maintained nursery school
  • maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
  • non-maintained special school
  • further education or sixth form college
  • independent school or independent specialist colleges (These are available to all parents, carers and young people in the government’s list of independent schools and post-16 institutions.)

Birmingham City Council will consult with parents, carers, children and young people on their setting choice, as well as consult with the settings themselves to check whether the setting is right for the child or young person.

Annual Reviews

EHCP’s are reviewed annually to ensure that the child or young person is progressing towards the goals set out the in EHCP. This happens by way of a review meeting which will include the parent/carer, teachers from the setting, and if necessary, a representative from the local authority. Other professionals don’t usually attend a routine review meeting, but might attend to discuss a child or young person’s transition into a new stage of education. The child or young person is allowed to attend the session, but his is left up to the parent or carer to decide.

The aim of the annual review meeting is to decide whether the child or young person’s EHCP is appropriate for supporting their needs. No later than 10 days after the review, the school or setting will submit a report to the local authority who will then decide whether to change the EHCP. They can either leave the EHCP as it is, make amendments to the outlined provision, or decide that the EHCP is no longer necessary for meeting the child or young person’s needs.

For parents and carers attending a review meeting, it is good to have thought about the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What questions do I want to ask at at the meeting?
  • Have I got all the information and paperwork I need?
  • Do I understand the views of my child?
  • Will my child or be attending the meeting?
  • Do I want someone to go with me?


SENAR is the Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Service. They are the team responsible for assessing and review EHCP’s in Birmingham. They are also responsible for handling any complaints or appeals that might follow an EHCP decision. 

SENAR work in partnership with its education, health and social care partners to:

  • Conduct education, health and care needs assessments ensuring the participation of children, young people and their families throughout this process.
  • If a child or young person has an EHC Plan, maintain their EHCP’ by ensuring they receive the support and educational placement they require.
  • Review all EHCP’ at least annually to ensure children and young people continue to receive the right support for their identified needs.
  • Support children and young people’s development to help them achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood

In summary, an EHCP is a document that that details the extra support provided to children with complex additional needs. Not all children with special educational needs require an EHCP to have their needs met by their school or setting. If you think you’re child might need an EHCP, you can make an ECHNA request to the local authority who will then decided whether a needs assessment is necessary. They will then assess your child’s case and decide whether they need an EHCP. 

If your child receive has an EHCP, the SENAR team will work in collaboration with the school or setting to review the plan, deciding whether any amendments are necessary to help your child achieve the objectives detailed within it.

Find out more about EHCP's
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