Education, health and care plans: A qualitative investigation into service user experiences of the planning process.
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AbstractAn Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan sets out the education, health and care support that is to be provided to a child or young person aged 0-25 years who has Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND). It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment of the child or young person, in consultation with relevant partner agencies, parents and the child or young person themselves. EHC plans, and the needs assessment process through which they are created, were introduced as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. The Act, and an accompanying SEND Code of Practice, sets out how local authorities must deliver EHC plans. In 2016, a national survey commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) found variations in how EHC plan recipients experienced the EHC planning process across different local authorities.1 Based on these results, DfE commissioned two further research projects: a multivariate analysis of factors affecting satisfaction with the EHC planning process, and this qualitative investigation of user experiences of the EHC planning process. The qualitative investigation consisted of two distinct exercises: • Twenty-five face-to-face in-depth interviews with parents involved in the 2016 survey, with the aim of better understanding factors that lead to satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the EHC plan process. Thirteen interviews were conducted in local authorities with above average satisfaction, and 12 were conducted in local authority areas with below average satisfaction. • An evaluation of EHC plan quality focussing on plans provided by 18 of the 25 parents interviewed. The evaluation was conducted by a panel of 10 SEND experts with wide experience as SEND policy advisors, strategic leaders in LAs, specialist advisory teachers, officers in SEN statutory services, Special Needs Co-ordinators, teachers in special and mainstream schools and lecturers. There was little evidence of a link between families’ satisfaction with the process of getting the EHC plan and experts’ evaluations of the quality of the plan: this report therefore discusses these two strands of research separately.
CitationAdams, L. Tindle, A. Basran, S. Dobie, S., Thomson, D., Robinson D. and Codina, G. (2018) Education, Health and Care Plans: A qualitative investigation into services user experiences of the planning process. London: Department for Education.
PublisherDepartment for Education