Who needs an EHC plan?

EHC plans are for children and young people who have a special educational need or disability that cannot be met by the support that is available at their school or college.

Most children and young people with special educational needs will have help given to them without the need for an EHC Plan. This is called SEN support.

The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them.

School boy

Some children and young people may not make the progress expected of them even with this help. When this happens the local authority carry out an EHC needs assessment. A few children and young people have such significant difficulties that an EHC needs assessment should not be delayed.

You or your child’s school can ask the local authority to make an EHC needs assessment. When this assessment is finished the local authority must decide whether to issue an EHC plan.

The SEND Code of Practice says:


In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.

The law states that if your child has or may have special needs and may need provision to be made via an EHC plan, the local authority must conduct an EHC needs assessment. You do not have to prove that an EHC plan is definitely necessary to obtain an assessment, you just have to show it may be necessary. If you think your child needs more help than the school can provide, you can ask for an assessment.

You can find more information about EHC needs assessments and how to ask for one in Northamptonshire Local Offer and EHC needs assessment resource.