Request an education, health and care (EHC) assessment for your child with SEND
Many children and young people need extra support at some point during their time in education. For most children and young people, schools and settings will be able to adapt the curriculum and approach to teaching in order to meet individual needs. This extra support is funded from existing school budgets and is part of what is ordinarily available to all children and young people.
If your child is not making the expected progress after this extra support has been put in place, then you may need to consider whether a statutory assessment of their educational, health and care (EHC) needs is necessary. An assessment may show that your child needs an education, health and care plan (EHC plan). Or it may result in a special educational needs (SEN) support plan, which sets out in detail the support your child needs.
What is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan?
An Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) is a legal document which describes a child or young person's (aged up to 25) special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.
The special educational provision described in an EHC plan must be provided by the child or young person's local authority. This means an EHC plan can give a child or young person extra educational support. It can also give parents and young people more choice about which school or other setting their child or young person can attend.
This Council for Disabled Children video about EHC plans explains more.
Request an EHC assessment
Requests for statutory assessment are most effective when parents or carers and the school or early years setting work together on the request. You can also write directly to us to request the assessment, using the contact details at the bottom of this page.
You can see a model letter for making a request for an EHC assessment on IPSEA's website. It shows what information you would need to gather.
The family conversation
Once we receive a request for an EHC needs assessment we set up a family conversation. This is a meeting between the family or carers with professionals, such as your child's teacher or carer, who know you and the child well.
The aim is to openly discuss and gather information about the needs of the child or young person. Professionals also work closely with the child or young person to gather their views. They record these on the Child Contribution Form and One Page Profile. We need to make sure we have all the information available to make the right decision about whether a statutory EHC assessment is needed.
The statutory EHC assessment process
We, the council, then make a decision as to whether a statutory assessment is necessary. If we agree that it is required, we will use the statutory assessment to collect information about the:
- Child's needs
- SEN provision required to meet those needs
- Type of placement where that provision can be made
We will collect evidence from relevant people across the education, health and care systems. At the end of the statutory assessment we must decide whether to issue an EHC plan, or if we decide this is not necessary we must issue an SEN support plan.
An EHC plan sets out the provision for all educational needs and for the child or young person's health and social care needs where these have an impact on their education. EHC plans are legally binding and set out the desired outcomes for your child and the provision required to achieve those outcomes.
We must issue a completed EHC plan within 20 weeks of the original request for assessment. The 2014 SEND Code of Practice describes what should be included in an EHC plan.
- Start date: The local authority receives a request for an EHC needs assessment. The authority must tell parents about this request.
- Within six weeks of the start date: The local authority decides whether an EHC needs assessment is needed. The authority must tell parents about its decision.
- As soon as a decision is made: The EHC needs assessment takes place.
- Within 16 weeks of the start date: The local authority tells the parents of the decision not to issue an EHC plan
Or: The local authority sends a draft EHC plan to parents.
- Within 15 days of receiving the draft EHC plan: Parents must respond to the draft EHC plan.
- Agree that the draft is accurate
- Ask for changes
- Ask for a meeting
- State a preference for a school or early years setting
- Within 15 days of parents' response to the draft EHC plan: The local authority consults with the school or early years setting.
- Within 20 weeks of the start date: The local authority issues the final EHC plan.
You can find more information on the EHC assessment process on the government's extra help for children with SEN page.
Challenge a decision we have made
Most disagreements can be resolved by discussing the issue and reaching a suitable solution or compromise.
If following discussion an agreement cannot be reached, disagreement resolution and mediation services are available to families as a first step. The SEN Team will provide you with information about local mediation services. In most cases, you will need a mediation certificate before you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal.
Families have the right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal if:
- They cannot reach agreement through resolution or mediation
- The local authority decides:
- Not to assess a child or young person's educational, health and care (EHC) needs
- Not to reassess their EHC needs
- Not to issue an EHC plan
- To refuse to change what's in a child or young person's EHC plan
- To cease to maintain the EHC plan
HM Courts & Tribunals Service has an easy read guide about How to appeal a Special Educational Needs decision.
For further advice that is independent of the local authority, you can contact Herefordshire Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).
SENDIASS offer impartial, confidential, legally-based and easily accessible information and advice about special educational needs and disabilities. They support parents, carers, children and young people with SEND.
- Herefordshire SENDIASS Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01432 260955
IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) offer free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with SEND.
SEN team contact details
We always aim to provide the best support and advice that we can. If you have any queries about how to apply for assessment or EHC plans, or any concerns, please contact us:Address: SEN team, Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0LE Send Email