Claire's daughter Mia is now five and is at mainstream school. Claire has been through the Education, Health and Care Plan process and has shared her 10 tops tips for parents considering going through the process. 


  1. WHEN TO START THE PROCESS: The EHCP covers the child from birth to 25 years old. Try to the start the EHCP process a least one-year before your child starts nursery, as you need to ensure the right support is in place when they start.


  1. KEEP RECORDS: From the offset keep a record of all correspondence during the EHCP process. This is practically useful if you have any legal issues or disagreements with the services your child is receiving or if the EHCP process is taking too long to complete.


  1. ALL ABOUT ME: You will also be asked to fill out an ‘All About Me’ form about your child. Keep language clear and to the point. Make sure you clearly state the help and support your child needs. List what works well and what is not working for you child. List your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Talk about the school environment you feel suits your child best and why. Talk about current/future aspirations and wishes for your child.


  1. ASSESSMENTS & REPORTS: Make sure all the healthcare professionals working with your child contribute an assessment/report to the EHCP. If there are gaps in your child’s support, like Speech and Language Therapy or Occupational therapy, now is the time to request the input from these services. Ask your SEN case officer to invite these services to assess your child. Ask to see the reports before the multi-agency meeting, this gives you time to ask for amendments to be made.


  1. INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENTS/REPORTS: If you are not happy with the support, assessments or reports received/produced by your local NHS health professionals/services. You can appoint an independent health professional to do an assessment/report. This can be added to the EHCP. Contact your advisory officer to let them know you want to submit an independent assessment/report. This can be effective to help secure support for your child. Bear in mind that you need to pay for this (they can be expensive).


  1. EHCP MEETING: It can be quite intimidating being in a room full of health professionals. Try to be brave, let everyone know you will fight hard for your child to ensure they get the support they need. Don’t be afraid to be pushy – you are more likely to get what is needed to support your child.


  1. DRAFT PROPOSAL EHCP: You will receive a Draft EHCP and have 2 weeks to respond to accept or not accept the proposed plan: Read it through carefully and highlight/list any concerns you have. Ask a couple of your health professionals to read through and give you advice on any changes needed. Don’t be afraid to disagree with the proposed plan. Don’t agree it until you are satisfied it meets your child’s needs.


  1. EHCP LANGUAGE: Make sure the language is clear and quantifies the amount of support your child will receive. The EHCP should clearly state what support your child needs and why. It should avoid using language that can be misinterpreted. S.M.A.R.T goals should be included. (S.M.A.R.T goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely)


  1. FINAL EHCP: Make sure all the health professionals and the school receives a copy of the EHCP final draft. Make sure they read it! This may sound obvious, but sadly not all health/education professionals will read the plan.


  1. SUPPORT NOT MET: Sometimes local NHS services do not meet the support written in the EHCP. If this happens contact the manager of the service/s you are concerned about and your SEN advisory. Don’t take any nonsense  - say you will take legal action if the EHCP is not met.

Claire with her daughter Mia.