If your child has additional needs or special educational needs (SEN), a support plan could help. This might be:
IEPs and EHC plans focus on your child’s individual needs, to help them reach their full potential.
Your child may have SEND or additional needs if they experience:
Legally, a child has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or a disability that needs special educational provision.
An IEP sets out your child’s goals for the school year, and any special support needed to help achieve them:
An EHC plan outlines any special educational needs that your child has. It also covers the support your local authority must put in place to help your child:
Your child’s school will have a SEN register or plan. The school special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) manages the SEN register. They will add your child to the register if your child needs extra support.
You do not need to have a formal diagnosis when implementing an IEP or applying for an EHC plan. But to apply for an EHC plan, you will need to have identified likely SEN. A diagnosis would often be underway when applying, but the application process can begin before a formal diagnosis.
As a parent or carer, you can apply for an EHC plan on the behalf of a child or young person up to the age of 25. Young people aged 16-25 can also apply for themselves. Your child’s school or early years setting may offer to write and request an EHC plan needs assessment.
The school will be asked to provide evidence for an EHC plan application. If school staff don’t think your child needs an EHC plan, you might need to discuss this with them and try to come to an agreement.
The government has an overview how to begin the EHC plan application process.
Want more support? For advice on your specific issue, speak to one of our parenting coaches.
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