EHCPs (Education Health and Care Plans) and the Local Offer
Important information for students in England
The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This is a legal document which replaces a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA). While all Statements and LDAs will eventually transfer to an EHCP, at this stage if you already have one of these documents and wish to change you will need to ask your local authority to consider this.
The EHCP is designed to last from the age of 0 to 25 but can be requested at any point during this age range, for instance if you experience a deterioration in your sight. It will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is up to date.
You can request it yourself or it can be requested on your behalf by your parent(s) or a professional working with you. The local authority will assess your request and may take advice from a range of professionals before proceeding. They will then advise you on whether they agree to your request. It can take up to 20 weeks from requesting an EHCP to it being finalised.
The key points about an EHCP are that:
- Your views, wishes and future ambitions should be at the heart of the document
- It should cover all of your education, health and care needs in one place
- There will be an emphasis on outcomes – that is, making sure you have what you need to achieve what you want
- It should be written in a way that you can easily understand
An important change from the old system is that you can ask for your preferred further education college to be named in your EHCP. If this is agreed the local authority and the college will then work together to make sure you can attend, and that all of your needs are met there.
Your local authority must publish what is known as a Local Offer. This is a slightly misleading name, but it means that you should be able to easily find information on every college you could potentially attend. By law this list must include specialist national colleges such as RNC, and you should have the opportunity to name RNC in your EHCP if this is your preference. There are only very limited grounds on which the local authority can refuse to name your preferred college.
You also have the right to independent advice and guidance about your EHCP and the Local Offer and can ask your local authority to signpost you to this. If you struggle to find advice you can contact us on 01432 376 621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be able to answer most of your questions or can refer you to experts who can help.