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Education, health and care plans (EHCP)


Most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get all the help they need from their mainstream education provider.

Mainstream education providers include:

  • early years settings such as nurseries or preschools
  • schools
  • providers of further education such as colleges

Education providers must try to meet the needs of all children and young people with learning difficulties.

They do this using funds given to them by the council and Education and Skills Funding Agency to help children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

This is called SEN support.

If children continue to have difficulties learning

Some children and young people may continue to have difficulties learning, despite an education provider’s attempts to identify, assess and meet their SEN.

In these cases, education providers, parents, carers and young people with SEND can consider asking for an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment.

EHC needs assessments involve gathering information from relevant people or agencies, including medical, social care and education professionals.

The assessment will help us to decide if we need to provide additional help through education, health and care (EHC) plan.

This video from the Council for Disabled Children explains EHC plans and how they help.

Ordinarily available provision (OAP)

Most young people with SEND will have their needs met without an EHC Plan as schools can give a significant amount of extra help through SEN support.

In Buckinghamshire, this is known as ordinarily available provision (OAP).

Schools must publish a SEN information report on their website, which will describe the ordinarily available support they give children with SEN.

Find links to your school's SEN information on our directory. Find this information under the "SEND support (Local Offer)" section of a school's listing.


Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) working in educational settings and Education, Health and Care Coordinators (EHCCOs) can help.  Always speak to your school's SENCO for help and guidance at first, as they work with the EHC Coordinators and can go to them for advice if needed.