Education, Health & Care Plan Timeline

A step by step guide explaining how long it takes to arrange an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP)

We’ve broken the journey up into stages. The whole process can take up to 20 weeks from the time you ask us for an EHCP to the point when the plan is ready to begin.

If we make a decision at any point in this process that you don’t agree with you can appeal.

Week 1-4

The SEN team, get a request for an EHCP needs assessment. This can come from :

We’ll then write to you to introduce ourselves and explain the process.

We’ll decide within 6 weeks, but sooner if we can, whether an EHCP needs assessment is required and give you our decision.  If we don’t think an EHCP assessment would be right for your child or young person we’ll explain why and you, your young person, will be given the opportunity to come and meet with us.  You will have the right to appeal this decision and we will explain how to do so.

  • If we think that an EHCP needs assessment would benefit your child or young person we’ll need you to tell us more about them. We’ll need information from the following people:

    • You and your child/young person
    • Your child or young person’s education setting
    • An educational psychologist
    • A community or consultant paediatrician
    • A social worker
    • Any other professionals that work with your child or young person

Week 5-8

Everyone we asked for information about your case must reply within 6 weeks. It’s important that you keep all the appointments relating to your assessment. If you don't it could delay the process.

Week 9-12

We'll write a draft EHCP using the information provided in the written reports and send this out to you to check.

We’ll arrange an Assessment Meeting with you in week 12 to discuss the draft EHCP. We will invite the professionals involved to this meeting too.  This is to make sure the draft EHC plan is accurate and is ready to present to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Panel.

We will ask you at the assessment meeting which school or college you would like your child to go to or if the EHC Plan is for a young person aged over 16 we will ask them directly which school or college they would like to go to.  If your preferred school or college is a specialist setting the SEND Panel will decide whether this is appropriate.

Week 13-16

We’ll present the draft EHCP to the SEND panel. They will decide whether to issue an EHCP or not.  They will also decide whether a mainstream more specialist education setting may be more appropriate.

We’ll write to you by week 16 to let you know the decision we've made.

If the SEND panel agree to go ahead we’ll send you a copy of the proposed EHC plan. You have 15 days to read it and let us know if you’re happy with it, or if you’d like any changes made. 

We will send the proposed EHC Plan to your preferred school or college to ask them if they can meet your child or young person’s needs and offer them a place.  We will discuss their response with you.*

If the panel doesn’t agree to issue an EHCP we’ll send you a non-statutory plan. Your child or young person’s nursery, school or college will use this to guide the SEN support they provide and have resources already.  You will have the right to appeal this decision.

Week 17-20

You’ll get the details of the final EHCP by week 20. The final EHC Plan will name an education setting and the support we’ve arranged in the plan will be put in place to help your child, or young person from that point on. 

The level of support is determined by where your child sits on the Banding Thresholds.

The education setting is legally obliged to deliver the support detailed in the EHC Plan.

If you do not agree with a decision the LA has made about whether to do an EHC assessment, issue an EHC Plan or with the content of an EHC Plan, including the education setting named in section I, you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal.  We will explain this process to you and you can seek further support from SENDIASS.

*The LA must agree with a parent or young person’s preference for a school or college unless:

  • The school or college is unsuitable for the child or young person’s age, ability, skills and SEND
  • The child or young person’s needs cannot be met in a way which will not affect the education of other children/young people already at the setting
  • Placing the child or young person at the setting will be an inefficient use of the LA’s resources.

Once issued, an EHC Plan is reviewed at least once a year, or every 6 months for children under the age of 5.  This is called an Annual Review. 

If a child or young person is not making progress, wishes to move to a different education setting, or you believe the content of the EHC plan needs updating you should request an early Annual Review cycle by contacting the SEN Team or speaking to the SENCo in the child or young person’s education setting.  You can request the LA hold an Annual Review at any stage in the year, you do not need to wait until the next annual review is due.