What makes a good outcome in an Education, Health and Care Plan?

What makes a good outcome on an Education, Health and Care Plan?One of the changes within the SEND reforms is that the support in the statutory Education, Health, and Care Plan must contain outcomes instead of objectives. So what is an outcome?

The SEND code of practice states:

9.61   EHC plans must specify the outcomes sought for the child or young person. Outcomes in EHC plans should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound).

9.66     An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference made to an individual as a result of an intervention. It should be personal and not expressed from a service perspective; it should be something that those involved have control and influence over, and while it does not always have to be formal or accredited, it should be SMART.

Developing an Outcome

An EHC Plan must specify the outcomes and should come from the advice obtained during the EHC Needs Assessment.


(Section A)


(Section B )


(Section F)


(Section E)

Mohammed wants to have friends.Mohammed has difficulty with his social skills.Mohammed will participate in a daily 15-minute group (up to 3 students) session focusing on social skills and role-play activities, which will be led by the Speech and Language TherapistShort Term: By the end of the term Mohammed will have 2 friends, who he will socialise with at breaks and lunchtimes at least twice a week.

Long Term:  Mohammed will be able to maintain and make appropriate friendships.

Creativity and forward thinking

There should be an outcome relating to each of the identified needs as well as provision designed to work towards each outcome

Therefore, outcomes should:

  •  Vary over timescales, covering education, health and care as appropriate
  • Support aspirations and set high expectations
  • Be SMART
  • Support cultural change and be age appropriate
  • Forward plans for key changes, such as changing schools, moving from children’s to adult care and/or from paediatric services to adult health, or moving on from further education to adulthood.
  • At year 9 onwards, they need to be preparing the young person for adulthood (employment, independent living, community inclusion and health)


Defining an Outcome

Outcomes can be short, medium or long term. There are two types of outcomes:

  • Intrinsic - valued by and relate primarily to individuals, such as happiness, self-esteem, confidence etc.
  • Extrinsic - can be measured and valued by other people, including educational achievement, literacy, and numeracy or good health etc.

Intrinsic and extrinsic outcomes are often written together.

The examples below are NOT outcomes:

  • Trey will receive 15 minutes, each week of targeted support with his teaching assistant.
  • Jestina struggles to maintain concentration
  • Parent and mentor to encourage and support Malika to develop cooking skills.
  • Imran must receive speech and language, one day per week for 45 minutes delivered by a Speech and Language Therapist.

Challenging the Outcomes

There is currently no clear way in which a parent or young person can challenge the contents of Sections A or E. Parents or young people might be able to go to Judicial Review. (Judicial Reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached).

In relation to Section E (outcomes), Section 19 (d) of the Act requires the local authority to have regard to:

(d) the need to support the child and his or her parent, or the young person, in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help him or her achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes.

Parents and young people should read this section carefully, and there should be an outcome relating to each of the identified needs. As well as, a provision designed to work towards each outcome.

It is important to remember setting outcomes is based on making assumptions about your son or daughter. Therefore, it is important to ensure that progress towards outcomes is evaluated regularly, not just at the annual review. This will give you and the professionals the opportunity to identify whether interventions are working and whether the outcomes are still relevant.

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Marguerite Haye


  1. @bjpren

    I initially had a problems with my interpretation of this, but the golden answer was right at the start:

    9.66 An outcome can be defined as the benefit or difference [……] as a result of an intervention.
    It is the intervention – i.e. the provision – that leads the outcome, not the other way around! This is often misunderstood, since we are used to working in alphabetical order. The needs (B) must first be established, which come from the reports (K), then the provision (F) from those reports, then the outcomes (E), again, set out in the reports. Essentially the order is K-> B-> F-> E. How counter-intuitive!!!
    It shows how essential it is to gain reports that are fit for purpose, as outcomes should not be a guessing game but the result of clearly specified & quantified provision, based on individual identified need.

  2. Rebecca Donnellan

    As a mother of a child with SEND and having engaged in this tiresome battle to secure provision, this article is a welcoming piece as it offers a different perspective. There is a way that professionals have viewed children by their presenting needs and what provision can be applied to support them. That being said I have also in the past viewed the process as looking at my child’s needs (Section B, C, D); then considering the Outcomes (Section E) and matching that with Provision (Sections F, G, H1, H2) in order for my daughter to achieve her Aspirations (Section A). By doing this I forgot to see my daughter in light of what she could aspire to be. The approach in this article promotes a more positive outlook at how people with SEND should be viewed. Utilising the social model of disability encourages us to consider developing outcomes in the sequence highlighted in the article , that is Aspirations (Section A), Needs (Section B, C, D), Outcomes (Section E) and finally Provision (Sections F, G, H1, H2).

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