Education, Health and Care Plans
Over the last 6 months, Wirral SEND Service has reviewed and reshaped our service and how it delivers the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment to Annual Review Process to develop a more family-centred approach. We want to deliver an EHCP process which values partnership and aspirational outcomes for our children and young people.
It is our aim to keep our children and young people at the centre when making decisions about their lives, and we will work in partnership with them and their families to achieve our collective goals.
This section will tell you more about how we will work together to achieve that.
Quick Access Downloads (ZIP Folder)
Downloads for Parent Carers
Downloads for Young People
Downloads for Education Settings
Downloads for Other Professionals
Parental request for EHC Needs Assessment letter
Young Person Request for EHC Needs Assessment letter - formal
Young Person Request for EHC Needs Assessment letter - informal
Education Setting Request for EHC Needs Assessment
Parental Advice form
Young Person's Advice form
EHCP Feedback form (for parents)
EHCP Feedback form (for young people)
Annual Review Input (for parents)
Annual Review Input (for young people)
Annual Review Input (for child or young person)
Annual Review Feedback (for parents)
Annual Review Feedback (for young people)
Key to amend EHC Plans
EHC Needs Assessment to Annual Review Process
EHC Needs Assessment to Annual Review Flowchart
Decision Making Group Terms of Reference
Personal Budgets Policy
EHC Plans - What Should be Included
EHC Needs Assessment to Annual Review Handbook
Fact Sheet Education Health Care Plans
Factsheet and FAQ on EHC plan eligibility for 19 to 25 year olds
Guide for young people aged 16 to 25 on how to resolve SEND disagreements
What is an Education, Health and Care Plan?
EHC Plans are for children and young people between the ages of 0-25. EHC Plans are designed to give families more control over how they are supported. Having an EHC Plan means the different agencies that provide education, health and social care will work together to help children and young people achieve their goals. Before children and young people get an EHC Plan they must have an EHC Needs Assessment.
This short video prepared by the Council for Disabled Children is a really helpful visual answer to this often asked question.
EHC Plan Principles
Wirral Local Area wants its children, young people and families to experience well co-ordinated assessment and planning, leading to timely, well-informed decisions. The following principles are applied to underpin effective assessment and planning processes:
- We will involve children, young people and parents in decision-making.
- We will give regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child, child’s parent or young person
- We will focus on the child or young person as an individual.
- We will highlight the child or young person’s strengths and capabilities.
- We will tailor support needs to the individual.
- We will organise assessments to minimise demands on families.
- We will bring together relevant professionals to discuss and agree an overall approach.
- We will deliver outcome-focused and co-ordinated plans for the child, young person and their parents.
- We will give young people and parents time to prepare for discussions and meetings.
- We will dedicate time in discussions and meetings to hear the views of the child or young person and their parent(s)
- We will provide young people and parents with access to impartial information, advice and support for SEN.
- We will time meetings to minimise disruption to family life.
- We will keep young people and parents informed with access to a named caseworker.
- We will share information effectively and safely.
- We will discuss with young people and parents the information about them to be shared with partners.
- We will endeavour at all times to achieve timely provision of services.
Requesting an EHC Needs Assessment
If a child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school or college, their parent should speak with the class teacher or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) as the first step. Schools use a graduated response to meeting needs for children with SEND and for most children and young people the additional support provided by the education setting will enable them to make good progress.
If the parents of the child or young person (or the young person themselves) believe that the school or college is not able to provide the help and support which is needed, then a request should be made to the Local Authority for an EHC needs assessment.
The following people can request for the local authority to conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for 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, and
- 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)
Considering requests for an EHC Needs Assessment
On receiving the Request for EHC Needs Assessment a Business Support Officer will log and date the request on our information system and allocate to an EHC Co-Ordinator. The Business Support Officer will also notify partner agencies of the request, including Children’s Social Care, health services and education settings.
The EHC Co-ordinator will contact you by telephone (followed up in writing) to let you know they have received the request. During the telephone conversation the EHC Co-ordinator will:
introduce themselves and their role,
explain the process for considering an EHC Needs Assessment
agree a date/time to meet you either at home or education setting.
The EHC Co-ordinator should also agree with you how you would like to be communicated within during the process, and inform you of your right to provide written or oral views and submit evidence to the LA.
When the EHC Co-ordinator undertakes their first visit with you they will discuss the Parental Advice form. (link the form)
In addition to the Advice and evidence the child’s parent or young person provides, the EHC Co-ordinator will consider the following:
Consideration of evidence that despite the education setting having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet your special educational needs or those of your child, expected progress is not being made.
Consideration will be given to evidence including academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress.
Consideration will be given to information about the nature, extent and context of your or your child’s SEN
Consideration will be given to evidence of the action already being taken by the education setting to meet your or your child’s SEN
Consideration will be given to progress, in that where progress has been made, it has been the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
Consideration will be given to evidence of your or your child’s physical, emotional and social development needs
Where the young person is over 18, consideration will be given to whether the young person requires additional time to complete their education or training
Deciding to do an EHC Needs Assessment
EHC Co-ordinator completes an EHC Needs Assessment recommendation, based on the information they have collected from you and others and forwards to the SEN Manager Team for a decision.
The decision to undertake an EHC Needs Assessment is made by the SEN Manager Team and communicated to the EHC Co-ordinator.
The EHC Co-ordinator telephones you to communicate the decision, which will be followed up in writing with an explanation/rationale.
In cases where it is decided that an EHC Needs Assessment is required, the EHC Co-ordinator will outline the process to you, agreeing a date/time to visit you at home or education setting.
In cases where it is decided that an EHC Needs Assessment is not required, the EHC Co-ordinator will provide you with reasons not to proceed (followed up in writing) and will inform you of your right to appeal that decision and the time limit for doing so, the requirement for you to consider mediation should you wish to appeal and provide contact information for SENDIASS service. In cases where it is decided that an EHC Needs Assessment is not required the SBSO will notify partners who had been informed of the request for an EHC Needs Assessment.
All decisions taken by the SEN Manager Team for EHC Needs Assessment will be monitored by the EHCP Decision Making Group, which will meet on a weekly basis. This is to ensure consistency in decision-making.
All decisions for EHC Needs Assessment will be made and communicated to you within a maximum of 6 weeks from the date of request.
Advice and information for the EHC Needs Assessment
A Specialist Business Support Officer will contact professionals to seek advice to inform the EHC Needs Assessment including: education provider, health services, educational psychology services, Children’s early help and social care services, a person requested by you where it is considered appropriate, Youth Justice Service where a young person is detained in a Young Offender Institution or serving a community sentence. From Year 9 onwards, the 14-19 Team should be asked for advice and information related to provision to assist the young person in preparation for adulthood. These workers will be referred to as Advice Givers.
The Specialist Business Support Officer will provide those asked for advice with copies of representations made by you, and any evidence submitted at your request.
Advice Givers should provide Advice and Information within 6 weeks of the request from SBSO, or more quickly wherever possible.
Using the template provided by the Local Authority, the Advice Giver should ensure that the evidence and advice submitted is clear, accessible and specific. They should provide advice about outcomes relevant for you or your child’s age and phase of education and strategies for their achievement, and can comment on the amount of provision they consider you or your child requires.
The Specialist Business Support Officer will collate the information and advice received within your case record.
The EHC Co-ordinator will visit to you at home or education setting to further ascertain your views, wishes, and daily-lived experience, this may mean adding more information to the Parental Advice form or including other documents.
Deciding if an EHC Plan is needed
All Advice and Information provided it compiled and considered by the EHC Co-ordinator.
The EHC Co-ordinator completes an EHC Plan Recommendation, based on the information compiled and sends to the EHCP Decision Making Group for a decision.
The Decision Making Panel considers the recommendation made by the EHC Co-ordinator, their rationale and supporting evidence.
The decision to issue an EHC Plan is made by the Decision Making Group and communicated to the EHC Co-ordinator, who will telephone you to communicate the decision and provide reasons for the decision, which will be followed up in writing.
In cases where it is decided that an EHC Plan is not required, the EHC Co-ordinator will inform you of your right to appeal that decision and the time limit for doing so, the requirement for you to consider mediation should you wish to appeal and provide contact information for SENDIASS service. In cases where it is decided that an EHC Plan is not required the SBSO will notify the education setting and health services of the decision, providing reasons for the decision.
The decision must be made, with you being informed of that decision within 16 weeks of the request for EHC Needs Assessment having been made.
The draft EHC Plan
EHC Plan Writer will prepare the first draft of the EHC Plan.
Preparation of the EHC Plan will adhere to the principles and requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015).
The EHC Plan uses a locally agreed format, with its content being compliant with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015).
The EHC Plan will specify the outcomes sought for you or your child in accordance with the requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015).
The EHC Co-ordinator will work with others to agree the provision required for the EHC Plan.
When the Draft EHC Plan is ready it will be sent to you, including appendices containing advice and information gathered during the EHC Needs Assessment. You will have at least 15 days to provide views and make representations on the content.
After sending you the draft plan, the EHC Co-ordinator will contact you, offering an in-person meeting (if required) to discuss the content of the Draft EHC Plan, advise you on how to find out more information on education settings, advise you that you can request a particular education setting, and seek to agree any Personal Budget specified in the Draft EHC Plan.
EHC Co-ordinator will update the Draft EHC Plan as required following collaboration with you. Updates to the Draft Plan will use the Key for Amendments, so that it is easy for you and providers to identify and track any changes.
The EHC Plan
Following collaboration with you on the Draft EHC Plan, the EHC Co-ordinator will notify you of their intention to finalise the EHC Plan.
In cases where provision and/or funding have been revised or contended during the process of drafting, the final version of the Draft EHC Plan, including Advice and evidence, will be presented to the Decision Making Group for approval and finalising.
The EHC Plan will be finalised within 20 weeks of the request for EHC Needs Assessment, with the final copy provided to you and the relevant provider(s).
A Specialist Business Support Officer will contact you to notify you of your right to appeal and the time limit for doing so, the requirement for you to consider mediation should you wish to appeal and provide contact information for SENDIASS service.
Within 4 weeks of the EHC Plan being finalised, the EHC Co-ordinator will handover casework to an Annual Review Officer and make an in-person introduction to you and your family. Once this is completed the Annual Review Officer assumes responsibility for ongoing casework.
A Specialist Business Support Officer will send a feedback form to you so that you can tell us how satisfied you are with the service and EHC process.
Reviewing the EHC Plan
The EHC Plan must be reviewed within 12 months of being issued, or between 3-6 months for children under the age of 5.
The Annual Review Team will keep a list of all children and young people requiring a review within that term and will provide it to the relevant education professionals, social care and health services at least 2 weeks before the start of term.
In most cases, the education setting will be responsible for preparing, arranging and Chairing the Annual Review. An Annual Review Officer will be present at as many reviews as possible, attending all reviews where a child is facing transition (entering Reception, Year 5, Year 9 and Year 11) and for Children Looked After by the Local Authority.
For children who are Electively Home Educated, the Annual Review Officer will prepare, arrange and Chair the Annual Review.
In cases where an Interim Review has been called, the EHC Co-ordinator responsible for producing the EHC Plan will step in to support the Annual Review process. The Annual Review Officer will maintain responsibility for casework but will work closely with the EHC Co-ordinator, taking their advice regarding any required change to provision and support.
In cases where it is anticipated that there will be requirement for significant change to the EHC Plan, the EHC Co-ordinator responsible for producing the EHC Plan will step in to support the Annual Review Process. As with Interim Reviews, the Annual Review Officer will maintain responsibility for casework but will work closely with the EHC Co-ordinator, taking their advice regarding any required change to provision and support.
The Annual Review will use a locally agreed format and template. The purpose and content of the Annual Review will be compliant with the requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015).
First-Tier Tribunal & Single Route of Redress
The First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (the “SEND Tribunal”) is an independent national tribunal which hears parents’ and young people’s appeals against LA decisions about the special educational needs of children and young people. It also hears claims of disability discrimination against schools.
You can appeal to the SEND Tribunal if you’re unhappy with a decision made in relation to an EHC needs assessment or an EHC plan. There are no fees for parents or young people to pay. The SEND Tribunal has the power to order LAs to carry out EHC needs assessments, issue EHC plans, and amend existing EHC plans. LAs must comply with orders made by the SEND Tribunal.
The SEND Tribunal is governed by the law, and has to follow the interpretation of that law by higher courts in judgments about previous SEN disputes. The SEND Tribunal must have regard to the SEN and Disability Code of Practice (the “Code”) which advises schools and LAs on identifying and making provision for children with SEN. The SEND Tribunal is not bound to follow the Code to the letter but it generally accepts the Code’s guidance in coming to its decisions.
The SEND Tribunal looks at the evidence put before it and decides whether the LA decision followed the law and the Code. It will make a decision based on what is right for the child or young person at the date of the hearing.
The SEND Tribunal produces a free booklet, How to Appeal, and other guidance forms which can all be accessed on their website. The SEND Tribunal have also produced a set of videos which explain more about what appealing to the SEND Tribunal is like – these are available on YouTube or you can request a DVD from the SEND Tribunal.
You can request copies of the booklet, any of the other forms, and the DVD via the SEND Tribunal helpline on 01325 289350; by emailing [email protected]; or by writing to:
HMCTS – Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal, 1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates Court, Parkgate, DL1 1RU
The National Trial commenced from April 2018 to August 2021 testing the extended powers for the SEND Tribunal. The department commissioned an independent evaluation of the National Trial which found broadly positive evidence in support of the Tribunal’s extended powers.
Therefore, the Government has confirmed that they are continuing the extended powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care Plans.
Previously, you have only been able to appeal the educational aspects of EHC Plans. The continuation of the extended powers given to the SEND Tribunal, maintains your right to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal. This gives you the opportunity to raise all your concerns about an EHC plan in one place.
It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the health and/or social care aspects of the EHC plan where you are already making an appeal in relation to the education aspects of the EHC plan and the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.
What If I just want to make a complaint?
Should the need arise to make a complaint IPSEA have prepared guidance to advise how to lodge a complaint against a School or the Local Authority.
Young people may find this guide helpful
If you’d like to make a complaint about Wirral’s SEND Service please refer to the SEN Complaints Policy
You said, we did
You said… We need better communication with parents
We did… All caseworkers (EHC Co-ordinators and Annual Review Officers) will have a mobile phone which you can contact them on. We have re-written the EHC Needs Assessment to Annual Review process in collaboration with our parent carer forum (PCPW), to include several opportunities for telephone contact and face-to-face contact throughout the process.
You said… There isn’t much information on the Local Offer website on how to ask for an EHCP
We did… We’ve refreshed the Local Offer website area for EHCPs giving more information and clarity on requesting an EHC Needs Assessment. With the help of our SEND Youth Voice group, we’ve introduced the Young Person Request for EHC Needs Assessment too, which will allow young people to make their own request should they wish to.
You said… I found the whole process of getting an EHCP really difficult and confusing. I didn’t know what to expect.
We did… We’re worked with partners and the parent carer forum (PCPW) to revise the EHC Needs Assessment to Annual Review process, which is now published on the Local Offer website. To support this there are 3 new leaflets for parent carers and young people to help explain key stages. We’ve re-vamped the Local Offer website to break down the process into smaller chunks, providing downloads, related advice and useful documents to help people know what to expect.
Wirral SEND Service operates within the remit of the Council’s Prevention Framework, promoting its values:
Wirral SEND Service acts in accordance with the Children’s Services Communications Policy and Local Area SEND Communications Policy.
Wirral SEND Service demonstrates the Corporate Behaviours of Wirral Council.