Getting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) draft plan
The information on this page is for families in England only. I live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
After an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment has been carried out, if the local authority decides to issue your child an EHC plan you'll first receive a draft EHC plan.
There's a lot to consider at this stage and timing is crucial, so it's important to be prepared and act quickly.
We have explained what should be in a draft plan on our EHC plan page. You will need to check the draft plan carefully for mistakes and omissions. Does it:
- Accurately describe your child's difficulties?
- Have enough detail about the help your child will get?
- Include all the reports gathered in the assessment process?
You have 15 days to ask your local authority to make changes. It is helpful if you can be as specific as possible about the changes you want made by suggesting alternative wording. Back up your requests by referring to the reports in section k.
Note that the name of the school, college or other education setting in section I of the draft EHC plan will be left blank. This is so that you can say which school or college you want to be named in the final EHC plan. Find out more about naming a school in a draft EHC plan.
You have at least 15 days from the date the draft was sent to respond. You could:
- Tell the local authority about any changes you want made to the plan. This is called "making representations".
- Express your preference of school to be named in section I of the plan.
- Ask the local authority to arrange a meeting with you to discuss the draft plan.
If time is very tight, for example if you are trying to get some help to check the plan, ask the local authority for an extension. Most will agree to this - the exact wording of the regulations is at least 15 days.
As a result of your representations the local authority may:
- Issue a final plan with all or some of the changes you want.
- Issue an unchanged final plan.
- Make changes of their own and reissue the plan in a draft form.
The local authority must issue a final plan within 20 weeks of the initial request for an EHC needs assessment.
When they send you the final plan, your local authority must also send you a letter informing you of your right to mediation and appeal.
If you disagree with all or part of the final plan there is a right to:
This is where you try to reach a negotiated agreement with the local authority. The aim is to try to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties. Mediation will be facilitated by an organisation independent of the local authority
You can ask for mediation on any part of the EHC plan. You must make your request within two months of the final plan being sent to you.
Appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (special educational needs and disability)
You can appeal to tribunal over the education parts of the plan, sections B, F and I. Any changes ordered by the Tribunal are binding on the local authority and they must make them.
Find out more on our page about appeals and tribunals.
If you live in Wales, read our information about the statementing process.
In Scotland, the system of support for children with additional support needs is called additional support for learning. You can read more about it on the Enquire website.
Call our helpline
Any questions about support at school? How to get an EHC plan? What kind of school is best for my child? Call our freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555 and talk to one of our education advisers.