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Experiences of Education, Health and Care plans: A survey of parents and young people

Key findings in brief

• Two thirds of parents and young people were satisfied with the overall process of getting an EHC plan and a similar proportion agreed that it would achieve the outcomes agreed for the child or young person (over one in ten were dissatisfied and just under one in ten disagreed respectively);

• Half found that starting the EHC plan process was easy, whereas almost one quarter found this to be difficult. Among those with no previous SEN Statement, around eight in ten got their EHC plan after their first request;

• Two thirds of parents and young people were informed about the information, advice and support available. The majority of those informed went on to use it and use was related to a better experience;

• The majority of parents agreed that their own wishes and opinions were included in the EHC plan. It was less common to report that the wishes and opinions of the child or young person were included, but this varied by age (from three in ten for those under five to seven in ten for those aged 16-25);

• Three quarters said that the nursery, school or college named in their EHC plan was the one they asked for in the drafting process (5% agreed on a second or third choice or an alternative option and 4% said the named institution was not wanted);

• More respondents thought that their EHC plan had been provided after the 20-week target had passed. Official statistics show the majority of new plans were provided by 20 weeks. The difference may reflect respondents timing the process from an earlier point, imprecisions in respondents’ estimates, and plans exempt from the 20-week timeframe being included in the survey data;

• Almost three quarters agreed that their EHC plan led to the child or young person getting the help and support that they need; over two-thirds agreed it has improved the child/young person’s experience of education. Respondents were more likely to agree (for both measures) the longer the plan had been in place;

• Over half of respondents were positive about their plan’s future impact regarding community participation, independent living, and identifying aspirations; just under half were positive about finding work. Around one in ten provided a negative response to these questions.

• There were variations in experiences of the EHC needs assessment and planning process and the resultant EHC plan by local authority and by a number of characteristics (e.g. the age of the child/young person; whether the child/young person previously had a SEN Statement, and the types of needs that the EHC plan was perceived to cover).