Requesting an EHC needs assessment

Most children and young people with SEN will have their needs met through SEN Support and you can contact the SENCO in school (or student/learning support for a college or the keyworker in a nursery) about your concerns around progress or the support in place. However some children and young people may need more support through an education, health and care plan (EHCP)

To begin the process of an EHC needs assessment, usually a request will be made by the setting, though as a parent/carer you have the right to make a request directly with the local authority, and you can do this at any time. 

We would recommend you let the setting know if you decide to make a parental request, as they will be contacted by the local authority to provide some information.

If you choose to make a request yourself, you can request an EHC needs assessment through the local authority’s online portal. You can access the portal here:

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Portal

If you register with the online portal you will be able to set up an account.

You can also make your request for an EHC needs assessment to the local authority by:

Phone: to the family services team 01473 263688 or

by email:

or you could

write to: SEND Family Services, Children and young people’s directorate, Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2BX

There will be an EHC Needs Assessment form to complete.

It will include some basic information e.g. yours and your child’s personal details and contact information, their school and who has parental responsibility.

You will be asked for your views about your child’s needs, the support they currently receive and the support you think that they may require. Information and advice on completing the on line form and family advice can be found here Family Advice Form

You will be asked for information about your child/young person’s views. Information on gathering your child/young person’s views can be found here: child/young person’s voice

Before you start completing the form it might be helpful to have this information ready.

You can also request a re-assessment with the local authority at any time, where needs have changed significantly. Take a look at the information from IPSEA, including their template letter.

What happens when the local authority receives a request for an EHC needs assessment?

The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if….the authority is of the opinion that-

(a) the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and

(b) it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.

Section 36 (8) Children and Families Act 2014

In other words, if there is a possibility that a child has SEN which could need support which goes beyond the resources and advice routinely available to a setting.

When deciding whether to carry out an assessment, the local authority will consider evidence from the setting about what action has been taken to meet your child or young person’s needs, and what progress is being made. 

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

“In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.” (9.14)

They must decide whether to proceed with an assessment and let you know within six weeks of the initial request. Check out our EHC Timeline document (PDF) for further information.

Special Needs Jungle flowcharts about requesting an EHC needs assessment and the process.

Watch our video explaining the purpose and threshold of an EHC needs assessment.

Read script of recording (opens pdf)

Watch our video explaining who can request an EHCNA and how.

Read script of recording (opens pdf)


Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment

Download EHC needs assessment leaflet