Drafting your child's Education, Health and Care Plan

So your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is going to be drafted – what do you need to know?

On this page

What does an EHCP look like?

The EHCP is split into sections A-K. These should appear as separate sections in your child’s plan – they shouldn’t be ‘lumped together’ but they won’t necessarily appear in alphabetical order.

The sections are:

 Section A The views, interests and aspirations of your child and you as the parent (this section is completed by you as the parent and/or your child; all other sections are completed by the local authority).
 Section B** Your child’s special educational needs.
 Section C Your child’s healthcare needs as they relate to their special educational needs.
 Section D Your child’s social care needs as they relate to their special educational needs. 
 Section E The outcomes that your child wants to achieve.
 Section F** The special educational provision needed to meet your child’s special educational needs.
 Section G Any healthcare provision reasonably required because of the learning difficulties or disabilities which have resulted in your child having special educational needs.
 Section I**  The name of the school or type of placement.
 Section J  The details of any personal budget or direct payment.
 Section K  Copies of all the advice and information used to draft the EHCP. 

The sections with marked with ** are focused on education, but there should also be links to education within Section A (Aspirations, including the ‘All About Me’ document, which you can read more about in our guide to completing Section A) and Section E (Outcomes) of the EHCP

The 'golden thread'

There should be a link running through all parts of the plan which is commonly referred to as the ‘golden thread’. This needs to be applied to every EHCP regardless of your child’s age or special educational needs.

How should the EHCP be written?

A good quality plan will:

  • Be clear, to the point, easy to use and understandable to all.
  • Be ‘person-centred’ and include the aspirations of your child and your family (Section A).
  • Be written in line with the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.
  • Describe what support your child will need (Section F) – this means detailing what support will be given, how often, by whom and for what purpose.
  • Use the recognised language in Section F to ensure that the specialist support detailed is enforceable by law. The two recognised words are ‘must’ and ‘should’, for example: “Julie must have four hours of support a week from a Qualified Teacher of children with a Vision Impairment (QTVI.) for…(list specific provision)”

Which parts of an EHCP have an education focus only?

Sections B, F and I focus on education, but Sections A and E should also link to education, so we cover these as part of our expertise in specialist education support. 

Amendments to the EHCP

Before the draft plan is finalised, you’ll have 15 calendar days to comment on the draft. This is your opportunity to discuss with your local authority any changes you wish to make.

Be aware that even at this late stage, your local authority can choose not to finalise and issue an EHCP for your child. 

Top tip

At this stage, take the time to double-check that the draft plan has a clear ‘golden thread’.

Finalising the EHCP

Your child’s draft EHCP should be finalised by week 20. However, the plan might contain details that you don’t agree with, for example, Section I might name a school which you don’t want your child to attend.

Top tips

  • If you disagree with the content of your child’s EHCP, you may wish to consider mediation (a private dispute resolution procedure) with your local authority. This doesn’t affect your statutory right to appeal. It can be a positive way of addressing issues which may avoid you having to go to a tribunal. 
  • We strongly recommend that you agree to finalise the plan, even if you’re not happy with the content, because you can’t lodge an appeal if the EHCP is only in draft form. This is the only way that you can then appeal against any of the content.

What can you appeal?

You can only appeal the education parts of the plan:

  • Section B (describing your child’s special educational needs)
  • Section F (provision of support offered to your child)
  • Section I (educational placement)

Top tip

  • If you’re challenging or contesting any one of these sections (B, F or I), we recommend that you ask for all parts to be reconsidered as well. For instance, if the provision (Section F) detailed in the plan doesn’t meet your child’s needs (as outlined in Section B), then the ‘golden thread’ is broken and the plan should be challenged and amended as appropriate.

Going through the appeal process

There are three points at which you can appeal the EHCP process:

  • Week six
  • Week 16
  • Week 20

Although we can’t get involved with an appeal, our Education Support Officers will be happy to discuss your child’s case with you and offer guidance on the best way to prepare for your appeal. We can also signpost you to organisations that can help you in a more hands-on way.

How we can help and support you

Contact us for independent and impartial information, advice and guidance on completing your child's EHCP. 

0800 781 1444