Support in School- The Law, EHCP’s and SEN Support.

Every child of compulsory school age is legally entitled to a full-time, suitable, appropriate, and accessible education. This does not have to be in a school!

Every child/ young person has the right to have their needs identified and supported by the appropriate services. No one persons needs are more important than another, in terms of being supported.

SEN Support

What support should look like.

Universal support is what should be available in all schools as part of their universal provision.
SEND Support is the next “level”, for those who needs some additional support that’s within what the school provides in addition to their universal provision by way of using the best endeavours.

For those whose needs are more than “reasonably required” in school, an EHCP should be considered.

What is an EHCP? – Education, Health and Care Plan.

It’s infuriating that many Local Authorities use unlawful blanket policies and criteria to set their own levels on deciding who can access an EHCP assessment. 

The law and legal criteria for requesting an EHCP is very clear and simple as set in the Children and Families Act 2014, Section 36:8. 

This supersedes ALL LA policies. 

The ONLY legal criteria states “that the LA MUST secure an EHC needs assessment for any child/ young person (C/YP) that;

A) for any C/YP that has or MAY have Special Educational Needs


B) it MAY BE necessary for special educational provisions to be made for the C/YP in accordance with an EHC plan. 

That’s it. 

SEND needs, as identified in the SEND Code of Practice Are:

  • Communication and Interaction. 
  • Cognition and Learning. 
  • Social, Mental and Emotional Health. 
  • Sensory and/or Physical. 

These can be interpreted in many ways. 

Local authorities’ policies may look good on paper but have no lawful base. 

Many parents apply for an EHC, giving up when faced with various complex reasons. These are unlawful policies that have no legal basis but many Parent/Carers are unaware of this. 

There is a time frame of 20 weeks in which the draft and final plans should be completed. This includes the initial 6-week period where the LA looks at the evidence provided and decides whether the legal criteria are met. 

What if I disagree with the Local Authority’s (LA) decision?

At three points during the EHCP process, parents have the right of appeal. The LA must put into writing their decision and must include information on your right of appeal, and the need to consider mediation.

As it currently stands you only have to consider meditation, not partake. There are plans in the SEND Green paper to make meditation compulsory, this is not law yet.

There are several providers who offer free advice on SEND Needs and EHC information. 

These are National. 



All Local Authorities must have a SENDIAS team who can offer help too.

There are also free impartial Independent Supporters who are trained in EHC.

This free PDF on disabled children’s law is worth a read too

Useful FB groups.