Being specific in an EHC plan

specific iconSection F of your child or young person’s EHC plan is where the support they will get is listed. Another word for this is provision – it’s a term sometimes used by people who work in education.

The SEND Code of Practice gives legal guidance to local authorities. It says that all the information in an EHC plan should be clear and understandable to parents. It also says that “Provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise.”

What does that mean?

The support (provision) must be clear. This is so that you and everyone else reading the plan understands what your child should be getting and when, and how that support will be given. It’s important because it makes sure that the right support is given and there is no room for misunderstanding. That means education, health and social care support should all be specific.

For the support listed in the plan, you should know:

  • what the support is
  • who is going to give the support (for example, a teaching assistant, teacher or therapist) and any skills, qualifications or training they should have
  • how often the support will be given
  • when and how it will be reviewed

When you’re reading the draft EHC plan ask yourself, what does this actually mean? Is it clear what my child is going to get, and if it’s not, then it’s not specific enough!

Here are some examples

Non-specific Specific
Claire will have regular speech and language therapy as required. Claire will have one hour of individual speech and language therapy per week, with a speech and language therapist with knowledge and experience of the communication profile of children with Down’s syndrome.
Jack will have weekly support to develop friendships. Jack will have support to develop friendships by attending a small nurture group for one hour, three times a week, delivered by a Teaching Assistant.
Helen would benefit from mental health support to manage her anxiety. Helen will have two courses of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), each six weeks long separated by a two-week period. The CBT will given by a clinical psychologist.
Tyler should have access to interventions that will help to improve his gross motor skills. Once a week, Tyler will take part in a large group circuit class at the local leisure centre, doing exercises that focus on improving balance, coordination and core stability.

Important to know

  • Look out for ‘woolly words and terms, such as ‘opportunities for’; ‘access to’; ‘benefit from’; ‘regular’; ‘as required’. You wouldn’t know the details of this kind of support from these words, so you can ask for them to be made more specific and set out exactly what your child gets.
  • The support that’s set out in an EHC plan comes from recommendations made by professionals. If the detail they give isn’t specific enough, the SEN 0-25 team staff may need to go back to them and ask them to make it more specific.
  • Think about whether what’s written is realistic and can reasonably be put in place. If detail about your child’s support can reasonably be given, then it should. This should happen even if it’s suggested to you that there is a need for some flexibility in the EHC plan.
  • An EHC plan is a long-term plan. It should be supported by a plan made by your child’s school or college, which sets out how support works day to day. This may be the place where very specific details are written.

This information about being specific in an EHC plan is available as a PDF to download.

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Page created January 2021 Page due for review January 2023