Statutory assessments and EHC plans in schools

Schools, colleges and other settings can provide lots of resources for children and young people with SEND from the notional SEN funding they already have in their budget.

If, having used existing resources appropriately using a graduated approach through the assess-plan-do-review model, the child is not making progress then the local authority may need to conduct a statutory assessment of the child or young person's needs.

There are several stages to statutory assessment and the educational setting will be involved throughout.

The first stage is to make a request, following which we determine whether special educational provision is required that is additional to, or different from, the provision that is ordinarily provided in a mainstream school or college.

If we agree that the needs are severe, complex and long term or in-school options for support have been exhausted, we can issue an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, also known as an EHCP.

The EHC plan draws together assessments of the child's education, health and care needs and states the desired outcomes and provision required to meet the outcomes.

Does a school have to admit a child with SEN or disability?

The school admissions code of practice requires children and young people with SEN to be treated fairly.

Admissions authorities:

  • Must consider applications from parents of children who have SEN but do not have an EHC plan on the basis of the school's published admissions criteria as part of normal admissions procedures
  • Must not refuse to admit a child who has SEN but does not have an EHC plan because they do not feel able to cater for those needs
  • Must not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they do not have an EHC plan

Education, Health and Care plans

Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are legally binding.

A request for an EHC needs assessment is made where a child does not make expected progress following the assess-plan-do-review cycle and the special educational provision required cannot reasonably be provided from within the resources normally available to their educational setting.

Family conversation

If the evidence suggests that an Education, Health and Care needs assessment is needed then the family conversation should be completed and submitted to SEN Services through AnyComms addressed to 'Additional Needs and SEN'.

For children under five, the family conversation is likely to be done with nursery staff or a health professional.

Once the completed family conversation is submitted to us, we must decide within six weeks whether to carry out the assessment.

Download the template for a family conversation for EHC needs assessment

Parents and carers can also write directly to us to request the assessment. The family conversation will still need to be completed with a professional who knows the child or young person well to make sure we have all the information available to make the right decision.

You can read more about the statutory assessment and EHC plans process on our parent and carer local offer pages.

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

Telephone: 01432 260274

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