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The SEND Code of Practice says:-

EHC plans must specify the outcomes sought for the child or young person in Section E. EHC plans should be focused on education and training, health and care outcomes that will enable children and young people to progress in their learning and, as they get older, to be well prepared for adulthood. EHC plans can also include wider outcomes such as positive social relationships and emotional resilience and stability. Outcomes should always enable children and young people to move towards the long-term aspirations of employment or higher education, independent living and community participation. (See Chapter 8 for more details on preparing for adulthood.)



At the Outcomes meeting you, your child, and the professionals working with your child will plan the outcomes that he or she will work towards over the next stage of education.  The following information may help you think about the outcomes for your child/young person:-

Think About the GOLDEN THREAD:

  • There should be a golden thread directly through the aspirations, needs, outcomes and provision.
  • This can be achieved by thinking about outcomes as steps on the journey towards the aspirations.

Outcomes must be PERSON-CENTRED:

  • They should be specific to the child or young person and expressed from a personal perspective, not a service one

Make Use of Existing Resources:

  • Resources and materials should be shared to support the development of outcomes.
  • Start with the SEND Code of Practice (chapter 9).
  • Make use of other resources developed nationally and locally (section 4 of this document highlights some examples)

Outcomes should be HOLISTIC:

  • This will mean that often a multi-agency approach will be required to support the child or young person to achieve their outcomes.
  • The provision section should clearly set out what each agency is doing to achieve the outcome. 


  • Don’t mix outcomes and provision. Provision is what must be provided to meet a child or young person’s needs and enable the outcomes to be achieved.

Outcomes should support ASPIRATIONS and set HIGH EXPECTATIONS.

  • In order to develop aspirations for life children, young people and their families need opportunities to find out what is possible and what type of support would help them achieve their aspirations. This includes learning from young people and families about what has worked for them.
  • They should build on what is working well and address what is not working well.

Make outcomes SMART:

  • If they’re SMART, the purpose of the outcome will be clear, and everyone will know when the outcome should be achieved and when it has actually been achieved. 

Specific – The outcome should state exactly what is to be achieved within the timeframe

Measurable – It is clear how you will know when the outcome has been achieved

Achievable – The outcome should be challenging but not impossible to achieve within the timeframe.

Relevant – The outcome reflects the needs and aspirations of the child or young person

Time-bound – There should be a date by which it is expected the outcome will be achieved.

  • Changes in ways of working, relationships and different conversations are needed.
  • Provide advice, training and coaching that support the development of outcomes.
  • Develop guidance notes and tools that help staff develop clear, person-centred approaches which lead to positive outcomes.
  • Support the child or young person and their family to be central to the development of the outcome.
  • The outcome must be shared (by the child or young person, their family and professionals). To do this they need to be developed using a person-centred approach. 

Deciding whether to issue an EHC plan

The local authority will consider all the information gathered as part of the assessment and decide whether an EHC plan is necessary.

They should consider this information alongside your child or young person's special educational needs, and whether the support in place prior to assessment was well matched to their needs.

If your child or young person is not making expected progress despite targeted support, the local authority should consider what further provision may be needed and whether this can be reasonably provided from the resources available to settings. 

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

'Where, despite appropriate assessment and provision, the child or young person is not progressing, or not progressing sufficiently well, the local authority should consider what further provision may be needed. The local authority should take into account:

  • whether the special educational provision required to meet the child or young person’s needs can reasonably be provided from within the resources normally available to mainstream early years providers, schools and post-16 institutions, or
  • whether it may be necessary for the local authority to make special educational provision in accordance with an EHC plan'


If they decide an EHC plan is necessary they will notify you and begin to prepare the draft EHCP.

Also in this section:

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessments

Read or listen to our video explaining the Education, Health & Care Needs Assessment process

What is an EHC Plan?

Read or listen to our video on what is an EHCP and who is it for

When a Local Authority should carry out an EHC Needs Assessment

Guidance on what a LA must consider for an assessment request

Requesting an EHC Needs Assessment

Guidance on making a parental request and important factors to consider before a request is made

Gathering Evidence & Completing an EHC Needs Request form

Advice on gathering information for a parental EHC Needs Assessment and hints and tips on completing the request form.

How long does the process take?

Information on the timeframe of the 20 week assessment and what to do if the local authority have not carried out the assessment correctly or kept to the legal timeframe

EHCNA Frequently Asked Questions

Parent/carer questions on making a request, timeframe of assessment and what happens next

Local Authority decisions around EHC Needs Assessments

Information on LA decisions around EHC Needs Assessment.

Health and Social Care Elements of an EHC Needs Assessment

Support on providing the LA with information about your child or young person's physical, emotional and social development and health needs.