Review of education, health and care plans

Review of education, health and care plans (EHCPs) in Central Bedfordshire

An education, health and care plan (EHCP) is a legal document that describes a child or young person's special educational, health and social care needs, and explains the extra help that will be provided to meet those needs.

We know how fundamentally important EHCPs are to ensuring that our children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) get access to the right support and services. We are absolutely committed to improving the quality of EHCPs, so they are of the highest standard in response to local needs.

Our SEND Written Statement of Action (WSoA) plan to improve EHCPs and other parts of the SEND system was developed with the support of partners including the SNAP Parent Carer Forum (PCF). The WSoA was formally approved by Ofsted in September 2020. We're working with our partners, with the support of SNAP PCF, to implement the actions within the plan. A theme of the WSoA is to focus on improving the quality of EHCPs for the benefit of our children and young people with SEND.

A key part of this action plan was to commission an independent EHCP review to look at all of the finalised EHCPs prior to September 2020.

The review process

The following explains the review process.

The review was carried out by independent experts

The review was carried out by a team made up of independent SEND managers, head teachers, EHCP co-ordinators, tribunal officers and school and college SEND leads. It was an independent process. None of the reviewers work for us and there was no prior contact with the our case officers or SEND management team.

To ensure that the ECHPs were reviewed as fairly and objectively as possible, the reviewers were not given any prior knowledge or information regarding the plans. For quality purposes the plans were frequently moderated throughout the process, to ensure that they were scored consistently across the team. Several of the reviewers had carried out similar reviews for other councils.

Nearly 1,800 plans were reviewed

The team looked at plans that had been finalised by September 2020. ECHPs that were in draft form at the time were not included, to ensure that the team of auditors were only giving feedback on documents that have gone through the full process.

The outcomes from the review will help education, health and care professionals identify wider issues that require improvement

The review looks at the overall quality of the EHCPs, rather than the process that informed the plan. We did not provide any background details about children and young people to the reviewers, as the purpose of the review was to find out if the plans that were presented to families were of a high enough quality.

The EHCPs were reviewed against criteria set out by national legislation and guidance from several professional bodies, including:

  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Regulations
  • the SEND Code of Practice
  • the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice
  • the Council for Disabled Children

The quality of each EHCP is rated as either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. Any EHCPs rated as inadequate will be reviewed as a priority.

Education, health and care SEND professionals have already started to make improvements

The outcomes from this review, including the associated action plan, will help professionals and partners to further improve the quality of practice in regard to how EHCPs are developed.

We've recently invested in recruiting more SEND officers and educational psychologists, and have also introduced a number of new quality assurance approaches which are helping to make our ECHPs better quality.

The feedback from the review will help us to continue to improve.