Your Child's EHCP: A Roadmap to Advocating for Their Needs

Feeling overwhelmed by your child's EHCP? You're not alone! Understanding this document and advocating for your child's specific needs can seem daunting. But fear not, this guide will break down the EHCP's key sections into bite-sized pieces, empowering you to confidently navigate the process.

Why is the EHCP so important? It's a legally binding document that outlines your child's unique educational needs and the support they require to thrive. Think of it as a roadmap, ensuring your child gets the tools and resources they deserve to reach their full potential.

While there is scope for Local Authorities to develop their own EHCP...under section 12 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 an EHCP must include sections 'A' through to 'K'...

Let's delve into the EHCP's structure:

A: Your child's unique voice - their views, dreams, and aspirations guide the plan.

B: Understanding their special educational needs (SEN) paves the way for tailored support.

C & D: Beyond academics, these sections address healthcare and social care needs related to SEN, ensuring holistic well-being.

E: Defined goals for progress, independence, and achieving their full potential.

F: The heart of support - specific educational provisions your child needs. Advocate clearly!

G & H: Outlining healthcare and social care provisions for comprehensive support.

I: Choosing the right educational setting, considering your child's needs and preferences.

J: Empowering choice - direct payments allow you to arrange support, tailoring interventions to their unique needs.

K: Appendices detail advice and information used in creating the EHCP.

The above sections can feel like an overwhelming volume of information. However, I draw your attention to just two priority sections...

Section B: needs to accurately list all of the child/young person's Special Educational Needs. Historically, this section was called the child's ‘statement’ of Special Educational Needs. 

Section F: The heart of the plan - Providing the right support!! This section needs to list ALL the provisions required to meet the Special Educational Needs as identified in Section B! 

In a nutshell...what is written in Section F must happen!!

Crafting a Rock-Solid Section F in Your Child's EHCP...

Frustrated that your child isn't receiving the support outlined in their EHCP? You're not alone. Vague phrases like "would benefit from" often cloud Section F, leaving crucial provisions open to interpretation and potentially unenforceable. 

Problem: The Ambiguity Trap

Imagine Section F stating your child "would benefit from 1-2-1 support." Sounds helpful, right? But does it translate into concrete action? Vague and woolly legal language leaves room for uncertainty and potential for misinterpretation and an unenforcible plan!

Solution: The Power of Precision

1. Be Specific, Not Wishful:

2. Location Matters:

Where will this support happen? In class, individual sessions, or a combination? Specify the location to ensure clarity and accountability.

3. Actionable and Time-Bound:

Make sure the support has a clear start and end date, and outline how progress will be monitored and measured. Remember, vague goals create vague outcomes. 

Top tip: When advocating for your child it's a good idea to retain a level of flexibility and perhaps even some contingency planning in this section! Maybe your child is in-part educated at home? Can sen the EHCP support this?!

Exploring Direct Payments and Personal Budgets

While your child's school typically fulfils the provisions outlined in Section F, situations arise where the Local Authority (LA) cannot offer specific support directly. Perhaps the sought-after sensory integration specialist is private now, or resources are limited. That's where direct payments and personal budgets come in, empowering you to take charge of your child's support.

What are Direct Payments and Personal Budgets?

Instead of the LA directly arranging certain provisions, they can release funds to you as the nominated person (this is usually the parent) via a direct payment. This allows you to access the specific support your child needs, often through private providers. The funds allocated become your personal budget, used only for provisions listed in Section F, not extracurricular activities or tuition.


Suppose your child's EHCP specifies individual speech therapy sessions twice weekly in Section F. The LA might not have an in-house therapist with your child's specific needs. Through a direct payment, you could choose a qualified private speech therapist, ensuring your child receives the crucial support outlined in the plan.

ℹ️  More information in Section 9 of SEND Code of Practice (click here for more info)

Draft EHCP not reflecting your child's needs? 

You have the power to make changes! Under Section 38 of the Children and Families Act 2014, you can formally request amendments through a process called "making representations." At the draft stage this is also the time to express your preferred school choice in Section I. Remember, a strict 15-day window exists to take action before the draft becomes final.

Finalised EHCP not reflecting your child's needs due to fuzzy and woolly legal wording?

Don't wait for the annual review to address concerns! Proactive communication is key. Any school committed to your child's success will welcome your involvement. View it as an opportunity to collaborate and ensure the EHCP effectively supports their progress.

If you feel the final EHCP's language is ambiguous or the plan isn't being followed, take action! You can request an "Interim Review" or an early "Annual Review" from your Local Authority. These options enable you to address concerns and advocate for improved implementation.

Above all...remember that every child has the right to an education!

It's not just the law - it's international law!!

See Article 28 United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child

Written by JAHugill
January 2024