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Robert Bloomfield

What is an education, health and care plan?

An education, health and care plan is a document that says what support a child or young person who has special educational needs should have.

It looks at the education support, the health support and the social care support a child or young person needs.

Not all children or young people will need an education, health and care plan. Education, health and care plans are only for children and young people who need a lot more support than their school or college can usually give them.

If your child has an education, health and care plan, it will say:

• what things they need support with in their life

• what education support they will get to help them to learn

• what health support they will get in their life

• what social care support they might need in their life

• what things they want to do in the future

This  document used to be called:

• a statement for children and young people at school

• a learning difficulty assessment for young people at college.

Your child might already have a statement or a learning difficulty assessment. If they do, they might get an education, health and care plan in the future.

Education, health and care needs assessment

Before your child can get an education, health and care plan, they must have an education, health and care needs assessment to see what things they need support with.

To have an education, health and care assessment, your child must:

• be under the age of 25

• have special educational needs

• be in school, college or training

• need more support than their school or college can usually provide.

You can ask the local council for an education, health and care needs assessment for your child. If your child is aged 16 or over, they can ask for it themselves.

Lots of different people will say what they think your child might need support with. These people might include:

• you

• your child

• someone from the local council

• a teacher

• a doctor

• someone like a speech and language therapist or an educational psychologist.

When they have done this, the people doing the assessment will decide if your child needs any more support than a school or college can usually give. If your child does need more support than a school or college can usually give, the local council will give them an education, health and care plan. The local council will let you know if your child can have an education, health and care plan within 16 weeks.

During the education health and care needs assessment, you can have the chance to say what you think about the support your child needs. If you need any support when your child is having an education, health and care needs assessment, you can ask for an independent supporter to help you.

You can have your say about what is put in your child’s education, health and care plan. You might be asked things about your child, like:

• What you think they might want to achieve when they are older

• Whether you think their education, health and care plan will give them the support they need.

You can also help make decisions about things like:

• the school or college your child might want to go to

• whether you want to use a personal budget for some of the support in your child’s education, health and care plan

If your child is under 16 years old, you will be the main person making decisions about your child’s support. They should still be asked to have their say about their support.

It will take up to 20 weeks for your child to get an education, health and care plan if they need one.

The local council must review your child’s education, health and care plan every year.

From the Central Beds Website:

Annual reviews of EHC plans for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN)

EHC plan review training

For parents

Training on the EHC plan review process for parents (PDF 2.2MB)  is provided by Louise Bartos, our Head of Service for SEND and Kirsty Green, Director of SNAP PCF.

For education settings

Training on the EHC plan review process for education settings (PDF 2MB)  is a legal requirement and is provided by our SEND team.

Before the annual review

Children and young people who already have an EHC plan will require a person-centred annual review of the EHC plan. 

In preparation for the annual review, the school should:

Six weeks before:

  • invite professionals and parents request reports, ask parents and child/young person to update their views (section A)

Two weeks before, circulate:

  • updated Section B (replaces school report)
  • review of outcomes
  • professionals’ reports
  • parents and child/young person views
  • attainment data

During the review

At the annual review, you should:

  • discuss Section B and Review of outcomes
  • discuss the Preparation for Adulthood form (from year 9)
  • agree new outcomes showing regard for parent and child/young person views (please note that you are now required to provide a baseline of where the child/YP is currently at in relation to the new short-term outcome – please put the relevant letter next to the outcome e.g. Emerging (E) Developing (D)
  • detail specific provision (who, what, when) to support the child/young person

After the review

You should have an electronic word version of the EHC plan, please contact your SEN Officer if this is not the case. We would expect that amendments, agreed at the annual review, are recorded within the document using a standardised format shown here:

Bold type – additions

Bold type strikethrough – deletions

  • it is important that the review of outcomes is reflected in the proposed changes within Section B
  • long term outcomes may also need updating
  • where short term outcomes remain – the provision must be altered/change
  • when new short-term outcomes are set – you must advise of the appropriate provision.

Please note these or recommendations from the Annual Review for Central Bedfordshire SEND Team to consider and make the appropriate amendments and send out to parents, young people and professionals involved.

The annual review paperwork and proposed changes on the EHC plan should be forwarded, to the SEND Team via Anycomms. Please do not send it to the SEN Officer.

Within 4 weeks of the annual review meeting the local authority will advise if it proposes to cease the EHC plan or amended the EHC Plan or not.

Please speak to your SEN Officer if you think their attendance at an annual review would be useful.

Rights to appeal following an annual review

If a decision is made not to make changes to the child’s young person’s plan following the Annual Review or the changes that have been made parents or young person does not agree to them they will have the rights to SEND Tribunal (add link to the tribunal section).

Phased Transfers


Most children or young people will change schools at some point. This is usually when they reach certain ages that mean they move up to the next school. Within Central Bedfordshire, some of the schools are split into lower, middle and upper schools, and others are split between primary and secondary schools.

When planning for such transition, we need to ensure that the new school is aware of any additional needs that the child or young person may have. This is so that as soon as they start, a plan is in place.

The process begins when your child is in years 3 or 7 for those in lower and middle schools, and in year 5 for those in primary schools; however, discussions and thinking about the next school can take place even earlier than this. We would recommend looking on the schools list within our Local Offer, going on individual school websites that you may be interested in to explore and make particular reference to their SEN information reports, and going along to any open evenings they may be holding, to support your decision making.

Your child’s current school will hold a phase transfer review of your child’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan during the summer term of the penultimate year of their current setting. The aim of this review is to discuss future placements, as well as to review the EHC Plan. As part of this process, there will be an additional form submitted by the school with the annual review paperwork that will contain your request for the next school. It is important that this is completed at the annual review. Please note that this is then submitted to us, so we'll consult your preferred school and potentially other schools that may be able to meet your child’s needs. You do not need to apply for a school place through our school admissions service.

We will then write to your chosen transfer school and request a place for September of the following year. A school must be named on your child’s EHC Plan by 15th February before they transfer in September.

Placements for young people aged 16 and over

The EHCP must be updated for young people who are moving from school to college or an apprenticeship by 31st March, in the year they transfer.

If you're moving between colleges or training placements. The EHCP phase transfer review will be held preferably in the autumn term, although some may be held in the spring term of that year. A similar process will ensue following the review, with your preference for the next setting being included in the review paperwork that is submitted to the SEN Team. We can then consult providers with a view to naming a suitable placement by 31st March.

If your plans for taking up a college place or apprenticeship change after 31st March, you must let us know as soon as possible so that we can make new arrangements.

If you’re moving from secondary school to a college or apprenticeship in September. All changes to your plan, including naming the next setting, have to be done by 31st March.

Download a helpful guide to Central Bedfordshire’s Phase Transfer Process.

Year 9 and above annual reviews

Children in year 9 (and following years) whose annual reviews are to be treated as preparing for adulthood (PfA) and must include consideration for employment, independent living and their inclusion in their community and society.

As part of the annual review a transition plan will be drawn up as outlined in the Department for Education (DfE) Special Educational Needs code of practice(link opens in new window).

It is important that young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) are supported to have ambition, to think about a broad range of opportunities and to be as independent as possible.

Preparing for adulthood can sometimes be confusing and difficult as well as exciting and fun. To help your child/young person in their journey and to plan for the future, you may want to consider some of the things that are important to them. This could be about:

  • education, training, job coaching and employment
  • health and wellbeing
  • where you live
  • friends, family and social life

The annual review should identify the support that your child/young person needs to achieve these aspirations and should also state the components that should be included in their study programme to best prepare them for adult life. It should identify how your child/young person wants that support to be available and what action should be taken by whom to provide it. It should also identify the support that your child/young person may need as they prepare to make more decisions for themselves.

As stated in Department for Education (DfE) Special Educational Needs code of practice(link opens in new window), the planning must be centred around the young person and explore their aspirations and abilities, what they want to be able to do when they leave post-16 education/training and the support they need to achieve their ambition. Local authorities should ensure that children and young people have the support they need (for example, advocates) to participate fully in this planning and make decisions.



SEND panels in Central Bedfordshire

Our SEND team holds three separate advisory panels to assist with decision making regarding:

  • EHC needs assessments
  • special school and additionally resourced provision placements
  • funding for post-16 placements

Each panel consists of multi-agency professional groups to support our decision making. Once the panel has made a decision about a case, a member of our SEND team will contact young people and/or parents and settings to inform them of the decision. This usually happens within a week of the date of the panel meeting.

Further information regarding each of the panels can be found below;

SEND panel

The purpose of the SEND panel is to provide guidance to enable consistent and focused decision making. This is in line with the legislation as outlined within the Children and Families Act (2014), in relation to requests for EHC needs assessments. The focus of this panel is to consider agreement to requests for EHC needs assessment and whether an assessment should lead to the completion of an education, health and care plan (EHCP). The panel may also consider requests for personal budget, funding and equipment.

The multi-agency group is responsible for providing professional guidance to enable our decision making to be fair and transparent and in line with the legislation. It is expected that all panel members read the necessary paperwork and provide advice to the Chair on each case. The final decision remains with us.

It is important to note that our decisions do not have to be made following guidance from a panel. To ensure speed and efficient decision making, for those cases where agreeing to an EHC needs assessment is clear,we will make decisionsas possible, without the necessity of a panel’s advice. The panel’s main purpose is to offer guidance and consistency where decisions require further professional advice, and where EHC needs assessments may not be agreed.

This also enables advice as to an appropriate way forward to support the child and the setting following our decisions. However, in order to ensure compliance with statutory timescales around decision making, we will exercise our right to make decisions outside of panel where necessary, within the legislative framework.

Download Guidelines for Statutory Assessments