EHC Assessments are carried out to determine what provisions and support a child or young learner may need that fall outside of the scope of SEN support already provided by their school, college or learning centre.
If granted, these additional provisions (i.e. additional support) will be detailed in a tailor-made Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
But what actually makes a good EHCP?
To answer this question, it’s first important to consider what an EHCP is actually for; that is, to provide useful help and support that actively aims to improve the learning opportunities and eventual outcomes of a child with SEN.
In light of the above, these plans must directly address and define in detail what these desired ‘improvements’ are, as well as spell out the proposed ‘outcomes’ that will be achieved as a result of implementing the plan.
To measure these outcomes, we can refer to the Code of Practise (9.66) that advises that the end-goals for a child should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-orientated – or ‘SMART’ for short. While this does not necessarily mean an outcome has to be defined by certain grades in the curriculum or the passing of an exam, they should be something that can be controlled and influenced.
It’s important that an EHCP is well organised, straightforward and easy to understand (for both parents, the school and, in many cases, the young person themselves).
It should contain provisions that are specific to the individual needs or disabilities of each child/young person.
For example, if we a child is struggling in the area of Speech & Language, provisions set forth in the EHCP should specify not only the type of therapy is required, but also who will be conducting the therapy, at what place, how many times a week/month and for how long.
Such attention to detail to key to avoiding misinterpretation as to what the treatment/therapy that is noted in the plan actually entails. A simple rule that could be applied here is to check off the ‘Five W’s’ (who, what, when, where and why).