Ten questions to help your child get a good EHCP

Getting a good EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) which accurately specifies your child’s specific educational needs and quantifies the amount of provision required to meet these needs, can be a difficult, stressful process.

It can be easy to compare your EHCP with that of another child’s from the same Local Authority, and think that you’re bang on the money, but unfortunately it’s not that straightforward. A good EHCP should enable a professional to see at first glance what the child’s needs are and how best to support them.

You may feel like you’re jumping through a series of never-ending hoops, and there are many online forums offering support and guidance to help you through the process. We’ve summarised our experiences over the years and put together ten questions to ask yourself to help ensure that you get a ‘good’ EHC plan:

1) Does it make sense to you? It sounds daft, but if you don’t understand it, it’s not doing its job properly. Don’t be afraid to ask for it to be written in a simpler format.

2) Has the final version been signed and dated? Once the final EHCP has been signed and dated, the Local Authority becomes responsible for the provision contained within it.

3) Is the wording specific? Avoid phrases like ‘access to’, ‘opportunities for’ and ‘to provide’, and ensure goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely).

4) Does the EHCP contain any conflicting information? Ask for the incorrect information to be removed.

5) Are all diagnoses there? Make sure they’re all included in Section B. It’s common to see no reference to a diagnosis of Autism, despite having been diagnosed several years before.

6) Is all of the information less than two years old? Anything older than two years should be removed and updated. Including references to a nursery setting that was attended ten years ago is not helpful.

7) Is therapy included in the right place? If your child is seeing an Occupational Therapist for example, make sure this is included in section F as well as the Health sections.

8) Does it include plenty of evidence? In this case, the more evidence you can provide to support your case, the better.

9) Are all provisions/therapies required suitably quantified? For example, what, by who and for how long. Again, wording is key. Make sure that allocated times are specified, who will provide the support is detailed and also how it will be monitored.

10) If the Local Authority stop providing the above despite it being quantified in Section F, a protocol letter on Solicitor’s headed paper should be sufficient to restart it.