Family advice

Completing the EHC Needs Assessment Request form

The EHC Needs Assessment Request form is split into sections.  

In Sections 1 and 2 – you will be asked to complete some basic information about you and about the child/young person the request is being made for.

Section 3 – is asking for the family’s advice. Providing your views during a request for an Education Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment is an opportunity for you to describe your child.  

Click on a question below to find out more information about what you could include and think about in each section of the family advice.

What are your best hopes, aspirations and ambitions for your child? What do you hope they will be able to achieve?

If possible, at this stage, you may wish to have a conversation with your child about their aspirations in the long term and the short term. It doesn’t matter if they are unrealistic, as it is looking at how to tailor provision to keep them interested and focused on progressing towards future goals.

Long term

  • What would your child like to be/do in the future?
  • Would they like to go to college or university?
  • Would they like to live alone?
  • What are your hopes for them?

Short term

  • What would you like your child to achieve within the next 6 months or so?
  • This could be in their learning or socially.
  • What aspirations do you have for your child?

Any aspiration is an aspiration – please do not be afraid to express yourself throughout this form as this is a reflection of your child and your family and you want the local authority to get to know your child as much as possible, so this can be reflected if a Plan goes on to be issued.

Please tell us a brief history about your child/young person. What you would like us to know about them and anything you feel might be useful to help identify needs.

Things you may want to include in this section:

  • A brief family history if you feel this has had an impact on your child’s needs.
  • Their nature
  • What is their self-confidence like?
  • What is your child like at home? for example, do they enjoy interacting with siblings, yourself and other family members? Or do they prefer to spend their time alone?
  • Relationships with family, peers, other adults and children.
  • How does your child find building relationships?
  • What issues do you feel your child is facing in their current educational setting?
  • What are the views of the educational setting towards an Education and Health Care Plan Needs Assessment? Are they supportive? Was it suggested by them?

What does your child/young person like? What are their interests?

What the local authority are looking for here is how to get the best progress for your child and what it is that they can focus on to keep them interested and wanting to progress.

Things you may like to include in this section:

  • What does your child like doing in their spare time?
  • Do they have any hobbies or particular interests?
  • What makes them smile? For example, spending time with family/friends or animals, jokes, particular activity, favourite toy etc.
  • You may also want to detail if your child has a particular bond with anybody or anything.
  • What qualities does your child express when they are happy? For example, are they very lively and excitable? Do the sing or giggle? Are they louder or quieter than usual?
  • How often would you say they are like this? Are they like this just at home or do they have a favourite place?
  • Are you able to be more productive with them when they are happy?

What is the best way to communicate with your child/young person, and help them to make decisions and choices?

In this section the local authority wants to find out what strategies are needed to be put in place, to engage and encourage your child to co-operate with activities.

Some things to consider include:

  • Do they require eye contact or a quiet room?
  • Can they only retain or process small amounts of information at a time? Does it help to break instructions down?
  • Is visual representation more effective?
  • Will they only listen to one particular person?
  • Are they easily distracted?
  • Do they understand time and timings, or would they need help with this?
  • Do they understand the consequences of their actions?

What do you consider are your child/young person’s strengths, even with support? What do you love about your child/young person?

The aim here is not only to focus on what you child is struggling with but also what they are good at. This form aims to tease out how to get the best out of your child and what methods and strategies can be worked with to encourage their progression.

In this section you may wish to include:

  • What is your child particularly good at? For example, a certain subject at school, spelling or forming friendships, sport, video games or making things.
  • Maybe they are very caring around other people or animals?
  • Other traits could be they are very loyal, creative, positive, hard-working.

What are your child/young person’s needs and difficulties that impact on their learning experience of school, their home life and access to the community?

In this section you have an opportunity to not only list any diagnoses your child has but more importantly what they are struggling with in particular at school and at home.

  • For example, large groups, noisy classrooms, working with peers, being separated from particular people.
  • Does they have any obsessions, such as, colours, food, routines, cleanliness, etc.
  • What is it that helps them to function from day to day.
  • What would they need support with on a daily basis? For example, dressing, washing, eating, timings, organisation.
  • What are your child’s needs in school? Do they need adult support? A differentiated timetable? Would they benefit from reminders either on their desk or set on their phone?
  • Time-out cards or break areas to allow them to cool off and relax?
  • Do they have any health or social care needs?

What is the best way to support your child/young person?  What has helped/ what is helping?

In this section the local authority are asking for your view on the support that your child might need. Include anything your child has said to you about what helps.

Consider what support strategies work well for your child at the moment and include any support strategies which have worked well in the past, for example:

  • Flexible timetable, one to one support, small group work, visual prompts
  • What particular routines do they have at school and at home?
  • Has the school put in place anything which has made a positive difference?
  • Do you do anything at home which you have found to work well?

And on the flip side, are there any methods or strategies that yourself or the school have tried which have found to be of no effect or caused distress.

This helps the local authority to consider if the recommended provision is going to be effective or if it would need ‘tweaking’ to fit the best interests of the child.

What are you hoping will change for your child/young person following an Education, Health and Care Needs assessment?

Here they are asking what will be gained from an EHC needs assessment.

  • Do you feel the setting need help from the local authority to support your child?
  • Are there gaps in knowledge about how your child can be supported?
  • Are you concerned about the rate of progress despite support being in place?
  • Does your child require the use of additional aids such as PECS or that you feel the school need more guidance and support with?
  • Do you think that further assessment might help make your child’s learning difficulties clearer and will help in planning the right support/ identifying the right setting or post 16 course?
  • Are you hoping that there will be a better understanding of how others can support your child?
  • Are there any provisions in particular you would like to see in an EHC Plan?

Are there any other services or professionals supporting you and your child that may be able to provide some additional information?

Here it is very important that you list the names and professions of anyone who is or has been involved with your child. If the local authority decides to carry out an EHC needs assessment, they will be contacting those listed to request up to date reports during the assessment phase and it is very important that they get everybody’s input.

If you have any reports, letters, feedback or evidence that you feel would support the request, you will be able to email these to the Family Services team once your request has been received. It is helpful to provide as much information as possible at this stage.

Examples of people or services who may be involved with your child:

  • Medical professionals
  • Mental health (CAMHS)
  • Social care
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists

Has your child/young person been referred to any services? Are you waiting for any appointments, assessments or reports?

If you are awaiting any appointments, please list them here as the local authority will then know there may be further information to come.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your child/young person?

And finally, if there is anything else that you want to include but you are not sure where to put it in, you can put it here.

In Section 4 of the form it is important to include your child’s views.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

“Local authorities must consult the child and the child’s parent or the young person throughout the process of assessment and production of an EHC plan. They should also involve the child as far as possible in this process. The needs of the individual child and young person should sit at the heart of the assessment and planning process. Planning should start with the individual and local authorities must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child, child’s parent or young person, their aspirations, the outcomes they wish to seek and the support they need to achieve them” (9.21) 

Your child/young person might find this exercise difficult:

Read our information ‘Child/young person’s voice we would encourage you to discuss some of the questions with your child or young person. 

There are some tips and guidance within the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) website

Watch this video explaining the importance of the ‘person-centred’ approach when it comes to EHC plans.