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EHC Assessments

Education, Health and Care Assessments

A Local Authority (LA) must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan. If a child or young person (0-25yrs) has shown significant delays or difficulties with their learning, then the LA will consider whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary. This is a detailed examination of an individual child’s SEN, and information is gathered from all of the professionals involved in supporting the child or young person, as well as from parents and carers.

Who can make a request for an EHC needs assessment?

The child or young person, the parent or carer, and the child or young person's setting can make a direct request to the LA for an EHC needs assessment to take place by contacting the SEN Service. The LA can take 6 weeks to consider whether to go ahead with an EHC needs assessment and will gather information from the child or young person, the parent or carer, and the child or young person's setting. Not all requests for EHC needs assessments are followed through if a child or young person’s needs are not considered great enough at the time. The LA will give their reasons if they decide not to go ahead with an assessment.

What does it involve?

The EHC needs assessment follows a 20 week time frame. During the course of the assessment, the SEN Service will gather information from the child or young person, the parent or carer, setting that the child attends, an Educational Psychologist, and any Health and Social Care professionals that a young person or parent feels are appropriate. The young person and their parent's views are very important and they will be asked about how they think they could be helped. The EHC Coordinator will meet with the child or young person, the parent or carer and the professionals involved to gather appropriate information and begin to draft an EHC plan. 

Towards the end of the assessment, if it is felt that the child or young person does have complex or severe SEN, then the LA will consider whether to issue the EHC plan. This will set out the child’s particular needs and all of the special provision and support that they should receive. The EHC plan will also identify what type of setting could best meet the child or young person's needs. The child's parents or young person have 15 days to give the LA their opinion about the EHC Plan, or ask for additional time to discuss it with an SEN Officer.

If the EHC needs assessment is completed and it is felt that the child or young person’s needs can be met from within the school’s available resources, then the LA may issue an SEN Support Plan instead of an EHC plan. The LA will give a reason for this decision, and the EHC Coordinator will discuss this with the child or young person, parent or carer and the setting.

Education Health and Care Assessment Forms

For setting requests for assessment, please ask parents/carers or young person to complete the 'Request for Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment' document on the local offer to detail their views and submit alongside the settings paperwork including the 'Setting Request' form. All reports/supporting evidence should be submitted with the setting request. 

For parental requests for assessment, please refer parents to the local offer to complete the 'Request for Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment'. School can complete the 'Setting Report' form and send any reports/supporting evidence once notified by SEN.

Education Health and Care Assessment Guides & Resources

Following an EHC assessment

If an EHC Plan is issued

Once the draft EHC plan has been sent to parents, they have a right to state a preference for a particular school, college or other provider to be named within their EHC plan. In most cases, the level of joint working and consultation, which has taken place during the EHC process means that discussions about the type of placement, will already have been discussed. Below is a guide outlining this process.

What could a young person or parent do if they are unhappy with the decision or need further help?

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS), formerly known as the Parent Partnership Service, is a statutory service which is run at ‘arm’s length’ from the Special Educational Needs decision makers and aims to provide free, confidential, impartial advice, guidance and support to parents of children with special educational needs, including the very young. It aims to promote good working relationships between parents, education settings and the LA, whilst seeking to empower parents to play an active and informed role in their child’s education. Where the child’s parent or the young person are not happy with the decision of the LA or are unhappy with the description in the EHC plan, SENDIASS can support them to negotiate with the LA to resolve any disagreement. 

A mediation service is also available to the child's parents or young person. Global Mediation is a completely independent and neutral service. Mediation is not appropriate in all cases, but if all other communication avenues have been explored, it may be beneficial. The service is provided free of charge to parents and carers and does not affect your ability to refer your case to the Tribunal or interfere with any other legal rights. ACEISPEA and Network 81 are all independent advice and support services also offering support around a range of education and SEN issues. 

If disagreement cannot be resolved the child's parents or young person may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (‘the Tribunal’) against the LA's decision not to carry out an assessment, the LA's decision not to issue an EHC plan, the description of SEN in the EHC plan, the special educational provision, and the school or other provider named, or the fact that no school or other provider is named. The Tribunal is part of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service and has no connection with the LA.