Requesting an assessment for an education, health and care plan

Find out about education, health and care plans (EHCP) and how to request an assessment of your child's needs.

Education, health and care plans (EHCP)

An education, health and care plan (EHCP) looks at all the needs that a child or young person has within education, health and care that are identified as a barrier to their learning. The child or young person, with their family and other professionals, will consider what outcomes they would like to achieve. This plan identifies what is needed to achieve those outcomes.

Although the special educational needs support in schools can in the majority of cases meet children's needs, sometimes a more detailed assessment will help the school to support your child more fully.

The school special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) is a good first port of call if you are concerned your child's needs aren't being met. They may agree with your concerns and supporting you by submitting a request for an education, health and care needs assessment

These questions might be useful starting points for discussion:

  • What is the school currently doing to support my child and is there anything further that could be tried?
  • How would having an education health and care plan help my child?
  • How can I / we and my child support the school with their input and how can we let you know our concerns and the difficulties we see at home?
  • How often shall we meet to discuss progress?
  • What outcomes do you expect my child to achieve and in what timescales?

Special educational needs support in schools

Once your child's special educational needs have been identified and it has been decided that they need support, the school will put cycles of the 'graduated approach' in place (assess, plan, do, review).

If it is agreed that following several cycles of the graduated approach, your child is still not achieving expected levels of progress, or that their needs are not being met, it may be decided that a more detailed assessment would help them.

As parents or carers, you should be involved in these discussions and be part of the assessment and planning process.

Get support and advice

The special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) at your child's school or setting will be a main point of contact about the education health and care plan assessment and planning

If you want more advice, or are worried, you can contact the impartial SEND information, advice and support service (SENDIASS).

If you would like to speak to someone from the local authority, please contact us.

Requesting a needs assessment

Please contact us if you would like to request an assessment:

Ideally, we would like to receive an Education Health and Care Assessment Request (EHCAR) with all the details that help to inform the assessment process. Please contact us if you would like any further help or support.

A request for an assessment of a child or young person's needs can be made by:

  • a parent or carer or a young person themselves, if they are beyond school leaving age (for example 16+ years)
  • a college, school or early years setting (with consent)
  • professionals involved with your child or young person, such as a GP, school doctor, social worker, health visitor or therapist (with consent)

Timescales of the request for assessment

As soon as we receive the assessment request, we have twenty weeks to complete the process, which may or may not result in the issue of an education, health and care plan.

By week six

We make a decision on whether or not to continue with the assessment, based on the information submitted by parents / carers and by the education provider.

By week 12

All the evidence is submitted - including the opinions of parents / carers.

By week 16

We study the evidence and make the decision of whether or not to issue an education health and care plan. We inform parents of this decision.

By week 20

We have agreed a draft plan together with parents or carers. They have 15 days to consider, following the issue of the draft plan. The final education health and care plan is then issued.

Issuing a final plan

If an education health and care plan is issued, one of the final stages of this process is to decide and name a provider for your child’s education. Often this will be the school or setting they already attend, making reasonable steps to make sure that your child is included and that his or her special educational needs are met.

Sometimes it might be agreed that your child has more complex or extreme needs and that it would be a better option for them to attend a special school or other alternative provision. If this is the case, it is important that you feel able to make an informed request about which school or setting you would like your child to attend.

You should also have the opportunity to discuss funding arrangements for your child’s special educational provision and to consider whether or not you want to request a personal budget or direct payment. There may also need to be discussions about your child’s transport needs.

What happens if my child is not given an education health and care plan?

If a decision is made not to issue an education health and care plan, we will make sure that all the information collected through the assessment is available to you and your child’s school or setting. This can be used for the school to develop a support plan in order to meet their needs at SEN Support levels.

Your SEN casework officer will contact you to tell you the decision and explain exactly what this means to you. They will also contact your child’s school to let them know the decision and signpost them to any further support that may be helpful such as your local SEND hub.

Reviewing the plan

Once the final plan has been issued, it will be reviewed at least once a year at an EHCP annual review (or at an interim review if there is a more immediate need). From Year 9 onwards this review must include consideration of your child’s developing independence needs as part of their preparation for adulthood.

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