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EHC plan timeline

See our EHC plan timeline to find out what happens during each stage of the needs assessment process for education, health and care plans.

Or read about the process in this table:

EHC plan timeline
Time in weeksAction taken
Weeks 0 to 5
  • we receive a request for an EHC assessment from a parent, carer, young person or school
  • we review the application and decide if a needs assessment is necessary; this is done through the SEND panel
Week 6
  • we'll let you know if we're going to start a needs assessment by week 6
  • if we agree to a needs assessment we'll confirm this in writing and explain the next steps
  • if we don't agree to a needs assessment you'll receive a letter explaining why. You'll also be given a chance to talk to your planning coordinator to discuss what you can do next; you'll also be given rights of appeal through special educational needs and disabilities (SENDIST)
Weeks 7 to 12
  • if we've agreed to assess, the planning coordinator will contact a range of professionals and ask for their contribution; we will ask for advice from school, educational psychologist, your GP and social care 
  • if your child is known to another service, please let us know so that we can prepare an up-to-date report. If you have any reports you'd like to share with us by sending them to your planning coordinator
  • professionals have 6 weeks to respond to our request for advice
  • you'll be asked if you have a preferred school or a preferred type of school
Weeks 13 to 16
  • when all assessment reports have been received, your planning coordinator will present the evidence to the SEND panel
  • the panel will look at the evidence and decide if we're going to issue a plan
  • we must inform you by week 16 if we're going to issue a plan or not
  • if we feel a plan is needed we'll write to you and let you know that a plan has been agreed
  • if we feel a plan is not necessary we'll write to you and explain why; we'll offer you a meeting (turn down meeting) with your planning coordinator to discuss what your next steps may be; you'll also be given rights of appeal at this point if you don't agree with the decision
  • if you've requested a non-mainstream school, or you want to change school the panel will consider whether the type of school is appropriate for your child
  • if we agree that your preferred type of school is appropriate, we will consult with the school; they will have 15 days to tell us whether they can meet the needs of your child
Weeks 17 to 18
  • your planning coordinator will give you a draft EHC plan
  • you'll be asked to go through the plan and see if you agree with what's in it; you can get support for this from SENDIASS. You can also request a meeting to discuss any changes you may want in the plan
  • you are given 15 days to look at and respond to the plan; it's very important that you let us know if you're not happy with it, so that we can work with you to get the plan right
Week 20
  • we must issue a final EHC plan by the end of 20 weeks
  • the final plan will have the type of school and name of school that your child will attend in section 1
  • if you're still not happy when we issue the plan, you'll be given rights of appeal through SENDIST
  • the plan will be reviewed on an annual basis in the annual review; if you want to review the plan sooner, you can ask your school or place of education to arrange this

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