Support for children without an Education, Health and Care Plan

What it means if your child is not eligible to receive an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, and what support is available for your child

You may have been informed (sometimes following an assessment and decision by the Gateshead Special Educational Needs and Disability Panel), that your child is not eligible to receive an Education, Health and Care (EHC or Single) Plan. This does not mean that your child doesn't have special educational needs (SEN), rather that their needs are not deemed severe or complex enough to meet Gateshead's eligibility criteria. It also doesn't mean that there isn't any support available for your child. This section describes the support that you can expect to be available to your child if they have SEN or a disability but do not have an EHC (Single) Plan.

The support should your child's school/academy or college should be able to provide if your child does not have an EHC Plan 

All schools and academies in Gateshead (including voluntary aided schools) have an amount of money, called a 'notional SEN budget', which they must use to enable them to identify, assess and provide support for children that have SEN or disabilities. This money should be sufficient to meet the educational needs of children and young people without an EHC Plan (i.e. those with less severe/complex needs). Colleges and sixth forms also have an amount of money within their budget to spend on students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities. 

Schools/academies and colleges are free to spend their SEN budget in the manner they consider most effective to meet the needs of children and young people.  The budget does not need to be spent on individual pupils/students; for example, they could use it to buy specialist resources and equipment, employ additional teaching support, provide support services or arrange specialist staff training that would benefit a range of children. The school/college should keep you informed about any extra support your child is receiving and this should be reviewed regularly to ensure your child is making the right level of progress and to adjust the level of support provided if necessary.

The SEND Code of Practice states that schools/academies and colleges need to make available information about how they make provision (use their funding) to meet the educational needs of all children and young people with SEN, including those without an EHC Plan. This should include the kind of support available and how it is accessed, any staff that can provide support (internal and external), how progress and support is reviewed, how parents/carers, children and young people should be involved and kept informed, how teaching will be adapted to meet the needs of the child/young person and what transitional support is provided when moving to a different establishment e.g. from primary to secondary school. You can request this information directly from the school/academy/college or view it online on their website.

What you can do if your child isn't getting the right educational support

If you feel your child's educational needs are not being met adequately, you should firstly speak to your child's teacher. If you remain concerned, a good person to speak to is a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), whose responsibility it is to ensure a child's needs are met in nurseries and schools. You can find out who the SENCO is by asking the nursery/school/academy direct. In a college you should speak to a tutor to discuss any concerns. If a resolution is not reached, you should follow the nursery/school/academy/college's complaints procedure. If you are still not happy after these discussions and need further advice you can contact Gateshead Council's SEND Team on 0191 433 3638 or email

Gateshead Barnardos SEND Information and Advice Service is commissioned by the Council to independently support parents and carers of children and young people with SEN or learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. They can help you to work with schools to get the right level of support to enable your child to fulfil their potential.

Phone: 0191 478 4667 or email

You can also contact Gateshead's Parent-Carer Forum, 'Parents in Power'. This is a charity that provides parents and young people with SEN or disabilities with help and support. You can contact Parents in Power by email at or text your name to 07724 849 017 and someone will call you back. Please include alternative telephone number in your text if you prefer to be called back on a different number.

The support you should I expect your child to receive from Health services

If your child has health or medical needs, you should speak to your GP in the first instance, who will assess your child's needs and refer or signpost you to the right health service for appropriate support/treatment. If your child is under 5 years, a Health Visitor can also provide advice, information and support and signpost you to appropriate health services and organisations. School nurses are also a good point of contact; their role is to improve and oversee children's health in school - they can provide care and support for children with disabilities or complex emotional needs and can also signpost children to relevant health services. A school SENCO may also identify needs and refer your child to health services such as a speech therapist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Health or medical needs could include problems with speech, language or communication, sensory problems; for example sight or hearing, mobility issues, specific conditions and mental health and emotional issues like self-esteem, anxiety, depression and stress. 

What happens if a young person at SEN Support is detained in youth custody

Icon for pdf This document [128.77KB] explains what arrangements are in place in Gateshead to ensure that relevant support is provided to young people with an EHC Plan who are detained in youth custody.  

Further information, advice and support

Gateshead's Family Information Directory has a Local Offer section holding information about the advice, support and services available for parents with children with SEN or disabilities in Gateshead.

A variety of inclusive and accessible activities are available for children, young people and families at Gateshead Children's Centre.

The Council for Disabled Children have published an easy-read factsheet for parents explaining the SEND reforms and a series of fact sheets, films and posters are designed to help children and young people understand some of the key themes of the new reforms including EHC plans, Post-16 support, the Local Offer and making decisions.

Children aged 0-17 classed as a 'Child in Need' under Section 17 of the Children's Act 1989 are eligible to receive social care support.

Gateshead Council's Family Intervention Team (FIT) is a team of workers who are able to provide emotional and practical help to support eligible families who may be experiencing difficulties with coping with managing household budgets, family relationships, parenting or home conditions. They also offer free parenting courses to help parents and carers build effective relationships with children of all ages and with a variety of needs. For more information phone 0191 433 3426 or 0191 433 2565 or email  

What you can do if you disagree with the LA's decision about an Education, Health and Care assessment or Plan

If you disagree with the Local Authority's decision about an EHC Assessment or Plan, there are 3 things you can do:

  • Arrange a meeting with Local Authority officers to discuss the reasons behind a decision and try to agree a way forward.
  • Request mediation via the LA's SEND Team.
  • Appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) - if you wish to do this, you must apply to the Tribunal within 2 months of receiving your refusal letter.

Contact us

Special Educational Needs and Disability Team
Gateshead Council
0191 433 3626

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