We are worried that she’ll spend the rest of the time in her room doing nothing. The local authority say we should get in touch with Social Care and Health to see if they can help. Is it right that she is only entitled to a minimum amount of education? We thought she would be better protected with an education, health and care plan.

It is not uncommon for local authorities (LAs) to try to limit the number of hours a young person with an education, health and care (EHC) plan receives based on national entitlements applicable to others of the same age. The difference is, when a young person has an EHC plan, the LA must specify the special educational provision which is required and not base this on what a young person of a similar age normally receives in terms of study hours.

When young people continue to require education and/or training over 5 days per week, it is important that Section F of the EHC plan specifies this. LAs will often ask young people or parents to seek additional provision to make up for the remaining days through health or social care. However, even if additional provision has been identified through these services, it will need specifying in the EHC plan. If the health or social care provision educates or trains the young person, it is in fact special educational provision and therefore must go into Section F of the EHC plan. There is no legal basis for LAs to limit the number of hours a young person with an EHC plan is in education or training based on their age.

If this change has come about because your daughter is due to transfer to college or another post-16 institute, then your LA will need to carry out a review and amend her EHC plan well in advance of the transfer.

If your LA wants to amend the EHC plan, it will need to send you notice of the changes it wants to make first. It will be important to check what Sections B and F say about her needs and provision requirements.

If your LA has already amended the EHC plan and Sections B and F are lacking in specificity, you will need to appeal to the SEND Tribunal. The deadline for appealing is two months from the date of the decision or one month from the date of the mediation certificate, whichever date falls the latest.

Paragraphs 8.39 and 8.40 of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice contain some helpful guidance on five-day packages of provision for young people:

“Where young people have EHC plans, local authorities should consider the need to provide a full package of provision and support across education, health and care that covers five days a week, where that is appropriate to meet the young person’s needs…

Five-day packages of provision and support do not have to be at one provider and could involve amounts of time at different providers and in different settings. It may include periods outside education institutions with appropriate support, including time and support for independent study. A package of provision can include non-educational activities such as:

  • volunteering or community participation
  • work experience
  • opportunities that will equip young people with the skills they need to make a successful transition to adulthood, such as independent travel training, and/or skills for living in semi-supported or independent accommodation, and
  • training to enable a young person to develop and maintain friendships and/or support them to access facilities in the local community.

It can also include health and care related activities such as physiotherapy. Full-time packages of provision and support set out in the EHC plan should include any time young people need to access support for their health and social care needs.”