Requesting an EHC needs assessment

Most children and young people with special educational needs will have these met through extra support provided by the education setting. This is known as SEN Support and can include a wide range of provision and interventions.

However, if the educational setting has exhausted all the possible support options and your child or young person is still not making expected progress, or where the setting is not sure how to support your child, it might be appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment (the first stage in getting an EHC plan).

Talk to the SENCO in school (or to student/learning support for a college or the keyworker in a nursery) about the support in place, your child/young person’s rate of progress and what their plan for next steps might be.

When considering a request request for assessment needs, the local authority will expect to see evidence of any progress that has been made, and that the setting has done everything they can to help your child or young person.

If your child is not yet attending or finding it difficult to attend nursery, school or college due to their special educational needs, requesting an EHC needs assessment may be an appropriate option

Once the local authority receives a request, they will send to you a ‘Views Form’ for you to complete and return, including your child’s views, within 15 calendar days.

The SEN team will also be requesting information from your child’s educational setting. You will be asked to sign the paperwork before the educational setting sends this to the local authority. You can take the paperwork away with you to give you time to read through prior to signing.

The local authority must decide whether to proceed with an assessment and let you know within six weeks of the initial request. They will always contact you as a parent or young person – even where the request was made by the school or college.

Special Needs Jungle have a useful EHC flowchart (PDF).

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

“In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.” (9.14)