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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Education, health and care plan

This is a plan that sets out how the educational, health and social care needs of a child or young person with special educational needs or disability will be met.

It is a detailed plan drawn up by the local authority. The aim is to make sure all agencies work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for the child or young person.

It is important to remember that:

  • Although an education, health and care plan covers health and social care, a plan can only be drawn up for a child who has special educational needs. A child cannot get an education, health and care plan if their education is not affected.
  • Not all children with special educational needs will need an education, health and care plan. Many will have their needs met within the resources of their mainstream school, nursery or college, without a plan. Education plans are for children and young people with more complex needs who require more support. A mainstream school, nursery or college may not be able to provide from within its normal resources.

An education, health and care plan should be drawn up in collaboration with the child or young person. and their parents. It should make clear how they have been involved. It should be forward looking and reflect the child or young person’s and their family’s aspirations. This includes long-term aspirations such as to live independently (where possible) and have meaningful employment.

An education, health and care plan has 11 sections and must include:

  • The child or young person’s views, interests and aspirations (and those of the parents)
  • The child or young person’s special educational needs
  • Their health care needs (related to the special educational needs)
  • Their social care needs (related to the special educational needs)
  • Specific outcomes for the child or young person (including outcomes for adult life). These should be measurable and include outcomes related to education and training that will help the child or young person progress in their learning as they get older. It might also include broader outcomes related to sustaining friendships, social relationships and emotional stability, for example
  • The special educational provision that will be provided
  • Health care provision
  • Social care provision
  • The name or type of school or other educational setting that the child or young person will attend
  • Details of how any personal budget arrangements will be used to deliver what’s in the education, health and care plan
  • Information gathered during the education, health and care needs assessment should be attached to the plan (as appendices).

An education, health and care plan should be reviewed regularly (at least once a year).

For more information see the government’s statutory guidance:

Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years

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