What is a EHCP (Education Heath and Care Plan) and what can I expect from it?

In England, the EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) is for children and young people up to the age of 25 who have complex special educational needs (SEND) and/or disabilities and need more support than is available through SEND. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, different terms are used but the principle of assessing needs and making a plan for support is similar. Your child's needs will be assessed by education, health and social care professionals to see if you should have an EHCP.

The annual review process for any child with an education, health and care plan is set out by legislation and local authority policies. A QTVI (Qualified Teacher of Visually Impaired Children) or VI Advisory Teacher from the local authority's Sensory Visual Impairment service can support this by submitting a report or attending the meeting. The government’s statutory guidance about EHC plans is in the SEN (Special Educational Needs) Code of Practice section 9.8.

The process will involve reviewing the needs of your child as set out in the plan. For a learner with a visual impairment, the key areas for consideration are most likely to be:

  • Identification and acknowledgement of the need for all materials to be provided in a defined format and the resources and staffing needed to achieve this
  • Identification of staff support necessary to ensure health and safety and access to activities within the college, school or setting
  • The need for a regular information and communications technology or equipment assessment, subsequent monitoring, training and evaluation of effective use
  • Review of the need for habilitation or mobility training to develop independence and broader life skills that are specific to the difficulties due to vision impairment
  • Identification of changes in the forthcoming year that will require new arrangements, such as different subjects, changes to the school environment, exams and tests.

ECHPs were previously known as Statements of Special Educational Needs. Pupils who had a statement of special educational needs should now have been moved onto an ECHP.

Further information on understanding EHCPs and how to request an assessment can be found on RNIB's Getting the Right Support and Guide Dogs education support web pages.

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