Does my child qualify for an EHCP?  

If you think your child needs extra support in school for special educational needs or additional needs, an EHC plan or EHCP may help. This is an Education, Health and Care plan 

An EHC plan focuses on what support is needed for your child to help them reach their full potential.

Your child’s needs

By law all mainstream state nurseries and schools must provide some support for special educational needs. For your child to get an EHC plan, you will need to show that:  

  • Their additional needs are holding them back in nursery, school or college, and  
  • The educational setting is unable to provide enough support to meet those needs.   

The local authority will assess whether an EHC plan is the right solution. 

A school won’t always need an EHC plan to give your child the support they need. You may be able to work with them to create an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for your child. This is often done before applying for an EHCP.  

If your child’s needs are met with an IEP, you may not need an EHC plan. 

Age limits for EHCPs 

Children and young people can get an EHC plan up to the age of 25 years. 

Parents can apply for an EHC assessment for a child. Young people between 16 and 25 years can apply for an assessment themselves if they would like to.  

SEND diagnosis and EHCP

The local authority will look at the individual needs of your child. Your child does not need to have a diagnosis for SEND to get an EHC plan assessment.  

The local authority may ask your child’s school to provide supporting evidence for an application. 

If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

Local authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t issue EHC plans. Instead, you can apply for:   

    Getting support with the process

    Local Special Educational Needs and Disability Support Services offer free advice on what support your child can get. The Independent Provider of Special Educational Advice (IPSEA) provides free legal advice 

    The government has guidance on how to request an EHC assessment. Charity Scope also has some guidance on the process. 

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    This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

    More on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

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