Education, Health and Care Pathway (EHC Plans)


In September 2014 the Children and Families Act was implemented which changed the way that children and young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities are assessed. Statements of special educational needs (SEN) were replaced as part of these reforms by Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans. 

EHC plans provide the same statutory protection as a statement of SEN; however it extends the rights of children and young people with complex needs because it covers from birth to 25 if young people continue in education. Waltham Forest has developed a pathway with parents, young people and professionals across education, health and care services. The aim of the pathway is to make a meaningful difference to the lives of children, young people and their families.

The pathway has six steps for the child or young person and their family. To find out more, read our step-by-step approach to supporting children and young people with SEND:

“The local authority’s conversion transition programme.”

Conversion Project:  January 2017 – March 2018

The Disability Enablement Service (DES) has a statutory duty to convert existing statements to EHCP’s by March 31st 2018.  To enable the service to complete this project on time and not hinder business as usual  activities; the service has five Assessment Planning and Review Officer to work on converting existing statements to EHCP’s. 

All schools will be given a time-line of which year groups the team will be converting and DES have produced a conversion document to capture all the information they will need to pre-populate the plan prior to the Person Centred Review meeting - see Education Advice Form.

Team contacts:

Joshua Milla
Project Lead
Wood Street Health Centre
1st Floor, Linford Road E17 3LA

Sandra Petkovic
Team Administrator:
Wood Street Health Centre,
1st Floor, Linford Road E17 3LA.
Telephone contact: 0202 8496 6595" target="_blank">

Please take a moment to watch our short film about how to get the support you need through an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).


What is an EHC plan? Click to get info

An EHC plan is a legal document. It contains a description of your child’s needs and the support he or she needs from education, health and care services. It covers birth to 25 years (if a young person stays in education).

The EHC plan replaces the statement of special educational needs and, in college or further education, a learning disabilities assessment.

  • Your child’s school or nursery
  • A health professional or other person involved with your child
  • You, if you are a parent, carer, foster parent
  • You, if you are a young person aged 16 or over and still in education

Your child’s school may ask us to assess your child, if he or she has complex or long-term needs. Before it does, it will ask you and your child to come to a meeting with staff.

At the meeting you will talk about:

  • The support your child already gets and support for the future
  • Your child’s progress
  • What support is available through the Local Offer
  • Whether there is a need to ask (refer) for an assessment for an EHC plan

If you want your child to be assessed, you can ask your child’s school about it or you can ask us directly. You can contact our SEN team on 020 8496 6503, 6505 or 6504.

The whole process, from the date we receive your request to the date a plan is complete, takes 20 weeks.

EHC Assessment Process Click to get info


The Local Authority has a duty to assess a child, or young person for an EHC Assessment if the child is identified as having a Special Educational Need or Disability.  We are currently carrying out a pilot process to support the service in understanding the nature of the requests that the service is receiving, our local governance arrangements and any current gaps in services for children and young people.  The pilot will be completed in September and we will publish the information on the Local Offer.

Our Legal Duty

This is legally defined in the 1996 Education Act as “a child is defined as having SEN if he or she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A learning difficulty means that the child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than most children of the same age, or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the LA. Children who require special educational provision are not only those with obvious difficulties, such as those who are physically disabled, deaf or blind, they also include those whose learning difficulties are less apparent, and emotionally vulnerable children”.

The purpose of the EHC assessment process is to identify the needs of the child or young person and then address these needs through the advice of professionals and by putting in place support at school to enable the child or young person to progress.

Changes to the process

For the purpose of the pilot the Disability Enablement Service has changed its EHC assessment process from individual decision making to a multi-Agency decision making panel.

The multi-agency panel is made up of:

  • Designated Clinical Officer
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Principal Educational Psychologist
  • School SEND Co
  • SEND Success representative
  • DES Group and Team Manager

The panel review the information submitted by the school which includes, current support and any access to local services, statutory or otherwise and the effect this support is having them.

The panel meets weekly and decisions are conveyed back to school or parents within ten working days.

All advices are requested by our business support officer and they have the responsibility of making sure that they receive them on time.  Once we receive the advices the information is summarised by the Assessment Planning and Review Officer and referred back to the multi-agency panel for the decision to be approved.

There is no automatic right to an assessment. We have to decide whether an assessment is the right thing for your child individually.

We make this decision at what is called a ‘referral meeting’.

The referral meeting will include:

  • You (as a parent or carer) and your child
  • Someone from your child’s nursery or school
  • Any professional involved with you or your child
  • An officer from the council

If you are a young person aged 16 or over and still in education, the referral meeting will include:

  • You
  • Someone from your college
  • Any other professional, and
  • An officer from the council

At the referral meeting we will talk about whether your child qualifies for an assessment.

When we decide whether your child qualifies, we will look at:

  • Whether your child has complex special educational needs and/or disability which affect her or his everyday life
  • Whether your child needs support that is not normally available in your child’s nursery, school or college
  • Whether your child needs intensive support from other services such as health and/or care
  • Your child’s progress with the support he or she is getting now
  • What support is already in place under the Local Offer and what progress, if any, your child is making

If it is clear that your child qualifies for an assessment, we will make a decision at the meeting. If it is not clear then we will ask a panel of education, health and care professionals to make the decision.

The same process applies if you are a young person aged 16 or over.

We must make a decision about whether to assess your child within six weeks of the referral meeting, and we must write to you to tell you about the decision within that time.

If your child needs an assessment, you will move on to the next stage in the pathway. 

If your child does not need an assessment, his or her needs will continue to be met at Step 1: SEND support, where his or her school or nursery will look again at the kinds of support that will best help your child.

The nursery or school may change the support, involve other services through the Local Offer or ask for extra help from us.

Appealing a decision Click to get info

If you are not happy about the support your child is getting or any decision made about your child’s EHC plan or assessment for a plan go to our Disagreements about support for children and young people with SEN or disabilities page for more information. 

Personal budgets Click to get info

A personal budget is funding which is allocated to an individual for the help and support they need. Individuals can choose to take their personal budget, or part of it, as a direct cash payment, which they can spend on services, or if they wish they can choose to let the Council arrange the services they require.

A personal budget is the total amount of money it will cost to meet the extra individual needs of a child or young person. If your child has an EHC Plan, or you are a young person with a plan, you can use part of the budget to buy some of the services set out in that plan.

The part of the budget you have control over can come from education, health and/or care services.

You don’t have to control part of your personal budget. If you are not sure whether you want to, you can talk to your special educational needs (SEN) officer, who will help you decide. He or she will do this when you write up your plan together.

Find out more about personal budgets in Waltham Forest download and read our Personal Budgets for SEN and Disabilities Leaflet.

Visit Personal Budgets page