SEND education and learning

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are legal documents that describe how the special education, health or social care needs of a child or young person (aged 0 to 25-years-old) will be met.

These documents are designed in partnership with families and young people, so they reflect the support needed for a child or young person to achieve their own ambitions and aspirations.  

Does my child need an EHCP?

Not all children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) will need an EHCP. To understand whether an EHCP would be helpful for a particular child or young person, the local authority will carry out an assessment. 

If this assessment shows that an EHCP is not required, this will be because the local authority believes a child or young person's needs can be met with support that already exists within mainstream settings.

Some children and young people with special educational needs do not make progress, despite the early intervention support that is put in place for them. They will present with exceptional levels of special educational needs and may require more help than can be provided by the school or setting, even with the support of outside agencies that are ordinarily available to them.

Hillingdon Ordinarily Available Provision (PDF) [727KB]

These children and young people may require an Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) to help the local authority to decide whether or not the child or young person needs extra support to be agreed in an EHCP. 

Where a child or young person's health or care needs are considered exceptional, but their education needs can be met from the resources that are ordinarily available, they would not normally require an EHCP. 

What an EHCP covers

An EHCP is a document that clearly sets out the special educational needs of a child or young person, what support they need, and who should provide it.  

It includes 3 key sections: 

  • education - explains what is needed for the child to achieve the best they can in their learning and which school or college the child will go to 
  • health - sets out any health services or health support that the child needs to ensure they can learn and participate fully in the curriculum 
  • social care - explains any services that the council will provide to support your child and family to live as 'ordinary' a life as possible. 

Requesting an EHC needs assessment

If the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at your child's educational setting thinks an EHC needs assessment is necessary, they will speak to you about submitting one. 

Before submitting this request, the school must provide evidence that they have been supporting your child consistently within their own resources and monitoring your child's progress.  They can submit a  EHC assessment application (PDF) [184KB] referring through our Stronger Families Hub.

Alternatively, you can request an EHC needs assessment on your child's behalf by completing the   Parent and Young Person Request Form (PDF) [176KB]  and emailing it to

You can also send a completed form to: 

Stronger Families Hub 
Hillingdon Council 
Civic Centre (2 South) 
High Street 
UB8 1UW 

The details about initial process of communicating decision whether the educational health care needs assessment has been agreed can be found in the EHCNA SEND Panel notification flowchart (PDF) [160KB].

The whole process of completing an Education, Health and Care Plan can take up to 20 weeks. 

The  EHCP - timeline of process (PDF) [146KB] shows timescales for each phase. Please see the Guide to the Education Health and Care Plan (PDF) [131KB] with a description of each step. 

The video below, developed by Council for Disabled Children, is an easy-to-follow short animation for parents, practitioners and others who want to quickly learn about the education health and care (EHC) planning process.

Your EHCP experience

We invite all parents and young people to complete a short online survey about their EHCP experience, so that we can continue to review and improve the way we work. 

Tell us about your EHCP experience

EHCP annual review

There is a requirement for all EHCPs to be reviewed by the local authority within 12 months (6 months for children under 5).  

EHCP Annual Review Guide (PDF) [731KB]

EHCP Annual Review Timeline (PDF) [118KB]

Your EHCP review experience

We invite all parents and young people to complete a short online survey about their EHCP Review experience, so that we can continue to review and improve the way we work. 

Tell us about your EHCP Review experience 

If you wish to discuss a particular case, please contact your SEND officer directly. For general enquiries about EHCP reviews, email

Transition between phases of education 

A transition is a change from one thing to another, whether it be a major change (eg moving schools) or a minor change (eg a change from a scheduled lesson). To many children with SEND, both transitions can be equally challenging. 

A key message in transition planning is to make the unfamiliar familiar, so that anxiety and confusion can be reduced as much as possible.  

SEND admissions for children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (PDF) [382KB]

Right to appeal

Our SEND team works closely with parents/carers to explain the decision-making process, talk through why decisions have been made and agree on how to proceed.

If an agreement can't be reached about how best to meet a child's education, health or social care needs, these are the steps you can take to find a resolution.

Mediation and dispute resolution

Mediation is an informal, voluntary process where an independent facilitator (the mediator) supports discussions, so that agreements that are acceptable to all parties can be reached. The mediator does not take sides but makes sure everyone is treated fairly. This service for Hillingdon residents is available from Kids. 

Find out more about mediation and dispute resolution

SEND Tribunal Service

If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation, parents/carers (or a young person with the support of their parent/carer) can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability). Appeals must be lodged within 2 months of the date of the decision, or within 1 month of a mediation meeting.

To register your appeal, you must:

  • supply a copy of the decision that you are appealing against
  • state the date when Hillingdon Council made their decision or the date of the mediation
  • give reasons why you are appealing.

Find out more about the SEND Tribunal Service

Page last updated: 24 Jan 2024